Like many I spend a great deal of time online and belong to several different forums either for blogging or discussion.
What surprised me mostly about online forums is how wrapped up people become in the virtual world, to the point where it seems to replace their real one.
I’ve watched many times how topics of discourse have completely spiralled out of control degenerating into personal attacks, the point of the topic lost and where all seem to be hell-bent on proving their “right“.
I find that being online you have to make more effort in your communication with others, as you don’t have eye contact/body language/tone of voice to guide your reactions to what is said or meant, but it appears people want to tackle what they perceive to be bad instead of asking a simple “what do you mean by that”, or would that be too simple.
It’s easy to hide true natures behind a screen as seen recently here in the UK a woman had been stalked for several years on the internet and it was her actual boyfriend, imagine that, to watch the reality of her torment, but her not realising his true nature until by accident he posted some information that only they both knew and he was found out.
That’s the problem with being online do we really know who were talking to, so many people create “sock puppet” profiles to vehemently argue with you but under their regular profile show you support against your tormentor.
Mostly I’ve been quite fortunate in my online friendships some of which have extended beyond my laptop, but for others I’m still wary of some behaviours exhibited, which seem to veer from one extreme to the other.
It reminds me of the film “Rear Window” where a photographer is home due to a broken leg and from his window he watches his neighbours and sees them as they really are, and sees the loneliness, despair and just real lives, the side we rarely show to the public, so it’s easy to see how some will see the internet as a way of being noticed and validated in some way.