When you are on the Internet, you have no idea who you are really talking to. When you sign up for a chat room or Internet service, you can be almost anyone you ever wanted to be. Cyberspace tends to encourage people to create different personas, different from their own selves. You will find that there is all kinds of ways people could hide their true selves on the Internet. Things like chat rooms, personal adds, and e-mail. In Flamers: Cranks, Fetishes, and Monomaniacs by Gary Chapman, Chapman states that the “anonymity of cyber space has produced some bizarre forms of interaction in which people insult, or “flame”, each other, adopt fantasy personas, and generally behave in ways they never would in face-to-face interactions.”(Pg358) People are completely different when they are on-line. You can see a complete different person than you are really talking to.
When you are in a chat room talking to someone who seems to be so perfect, just imagine all the possibilities about this person. The person could say they were a twenty- four-year-old male with blue eyes dark skin etc. This person is really a 39-year-old unemployed man living alone in a singlewide trailer. Not to mention he has no hair and weighs three hundred pounds. There is really no way to tell these things by the way the letters look that comes out of their computer. You can’t hear their voice, or see what they look like. Even if you see a picture over the Internet, there is really no way of knowing if that is really them.
“Harassment of women is so common that women often pretend to be men to avoid sexually suggestive e-mail.” (Pg360) Women are not the only ones that lie about their sex. Men lie all the time as well. Also stated by Chapman “Most common are men who portray themselves as women; indeed, it’s become a rule of thumb that any sexually aggressive female on this mud is really a man.” (Pg360) People who are on-line can be professionals at portraying different identities. This just goes to show that when you are on-line, it is very unlikely the person you are talking to has been completely honest about their identity. Why would they be, when no one really wants to be exactly who they really are? Everyone has things about themselves they don’t like or love, some people more than others.
The way people hide their identity on the Internet is a good source as to why America is the way it is today. People are generally well mannered in public when they are playing the role of themselves, but how would they act if they could change their name by clicking a mouse and filling out some information. As stated by Gary Chapman “It seems clear that cultural polarization and low behavior in cyberspace reflect trends in American society as a whole, but the peculiar features of computer communication are amplifying the decline of our national mores and manners.”(Pg360) The things people will do on-line are scary and sad. It is scary to think people really have these things in them, and it is sad that people are so unhappy with themselves, that they would completely want to be something they are not. If people continue to be uncomfortable with them, we will never really know who anyone is. How can you ever trust someone?
Some things you run into on the Internet are truly disgusting. People can express their opinion openly on the Internet no matter what it may be, with no repercussions. You will run into sites and chat rooms that are made just for these purposes. There are just plain hate sites. Sites made for people who want to be openly racist or hateful towards other people without having to answer to the people they are hurting. There are also many chat rooms where people go to trash races and religions, and just people in general. These are generally the type of people that would never even stand up for themselves in most situations, especially beliefs that are so strong, and hated by so many.
To come to a closing, I completely agree with Gary Chapman in Framers: Cranks, Fetishes, and Monomaniacs. I however don’t think we will ever be able to develop manners online. People will always express their true opinions when they do not have to be responsible for them. The sad thing is, people do not usually have the most polite sweetest things to say, and the Internet is a way for them to express their negative hurtful point of views publicly without being hated themselves. As long as we have freedom of speech in our constitution, and people are allowed to sign on to sites anonymously, we will always be wrestling .around in the mud.