I just deleted my About page on this blog, because I had nothing meaningful to write in there and probably nobody looks at it anyway. I’m probably one of the minority on the internet world in this respect though. Most people love to talk about themselves on the internet. You see profiles packed with rich detail on Facebook and MySpace and you wonder how much of it is actually true. Or, well, you do. I don’t usually. I believe that the more information someone provides about themselves, the more truth there is in the information. I think deep down people dislike lying about themselves. It is difficult to keep up a pretence for long and needing to watch everything you do and say to avoid letting slip your identity. In addition, not only does the internet provide a cover for your anonymity, it also ironically provides more ways for people to access your information easily. You can choose to make up a fake persona, but you had better make sure you stick with the same fake persona everywhere you go on the World Wide Web.
I was watching a video just now on TedTalks about the future of lying. They found that people don’t lie as much in email as on the phone. I find that I’m surprisingly honest to outsiders but lie much more to my family. I don’t wish to do that, but I always felt that strangers will forget whatever you say in an instant but family members will not, therefore it is much more important to be careful and note what you say to the latter group, because they will remember for life. Because of this, some may advocate truthfulness as the best policy. As for me, there was never any choice to tell the truth to begin with.
I think people don’t so much as lie on the internet as simply withhold information. We’re not lying if we don’t tell people on the internet that we do drugs on a daily basis, or that we came to this chatroom to cheat innocent girls and then rape them. We say everything else about ourselves that are true but simply conveniently leave out the part about drugs and swindling. Whereas in reality, it’s a lot harder to not mention or not have people notice certain aspects of ourselves, in which case we will have to actively lie to cover up.
We are progressing to a new age and a new era worldwide. People call it individualism, which is the respect of individual differences and individual rights. In such a culture, it is wrong to judge people based on what they do. If a dude says he shoplifts and people decide not to befriend him because of that, the new era dictates that it’s the people’s fault and not him. They should not judge him just because he commits one particular type of crime. Everybody deserves to be respected and loved no matter what they do. Compare this to the past, where shoplifters are avoided and isolated and looked down on by the community.
It is because of this that people find it easier to speak the truth on the internet. Ironically, the internet can be a more welcoming place than society or even family. I have seen great acts of care and generosity take place on the internet that do not seem to exist out on the streets. This would explain why people would rather pour out their deepest darkest secrets on the internet than in reality, where people might betray or turn away from them. At least on the internet, you’re safe from betrayal or isolation. You just need to assume a new identity or go elsewhere to seek out a new group of friends. Moving away is not as easy in the real world.
I don’t say much about myself in profile pages, but what I say to people on the internet about myself tends to be 90% true if not more, and that can already be more than I can say for family. What about you?