Monday, September 13, 2004

I’m not who you think I know you think you are

The Internet lets one do all kinds of interesting experiments with identity. It’s easy to create an Internet persona totally different from one’s true self and see how other’s react to it.

Many people believe that people of their particular political persuasion are the rational, polite open-minded people whereas their political opponents are the irrational, rude close-minded bigots. They believe this because they get treated poorly when they debate them, especially online.

It’s easy to show, however, that every segment of the political spectrum has its bigoted jerks. Just for an experiment, create an alternate persona with a differing political viewpoint than your own and then go into one of your favorite forums and pick a fight. Make sure you use realistic arguments and keep your emotional tone calm. I think a lot of people will be surprised how their ideological cohorts treat their persona.

Another fun thing to do is to have raging debates between two or more of your own personas in the same forum. It can liven up an anemic thread and is much less likely to get you locked up than doing the same thing verbally.