The Real Me?

4 11 2012

Two things have inspired me to look deeper into online identities.  Recently, I saw a documentary called ‘Talhotblond’, a true story of online deception, attraction, revenge and, ultimately, murder.  I’d recommend that you watch it if you have the opportunity; in the meantime, here’s the trailer.

Secondly, I was intrigued by the findings (Jarrett 2009) that people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome had found a level playing field in virtual realities such as Second Life (SL) to communicate with ‘neurotypical’ people.  Because the flow of communication was slowed down by using text instead of speech, their ‘deficiencies’ were less of a disadvantage.

What about the presentation of the ‘physical self’ online?  I searched for “avatars and reality” and found a project called Alter Egos by Robbie Cooper.  He presented images of online gamers, juxtaposed with their avatars.  One subject who stood out was Jason Rowe. who said :

“Virtual worlds bring people together, everyone is on common ground.  In the real world, people can be uncomfortable around me before they get to know me and realise that, apart from my outer appearance, I’m just like them.  The internet eliminates how you look in real life, so you get to know a person by their mind and personality.  

While you could argue that this is deception and a false representation of the ‘social self’, it would also suggest that there is a freedom to present the inner “personal self’ online, because disabilities are no longer a barrier.

So here is the specific question I’m going to research over the next few weeks – does the virtual world allow people to be even more true to themselves, because it gives them more freedom to disclose their inner feelings and thoughts, or issues they wouldn’t dream of talking to their nearest and dearest about?

Till next time,

Doctor DeBee




Cooper, R., Dibbell, J., & Spaight, T. (2007). Alter ego: avatars and their creators. London, Chris Boot


Cooper, R. Robbie Cooper [online] Available at

<> [02/11/2012]


Jarret,C (2009) ‘Getting a Second Life’. The Psychologist. June [online] Available at <> [01/11/2012]





4 responses

6 11 2012

I just want to say how much I like your blog, I like your style of writing, and your use of pictures and humour. All of these makes your blog really enjoyable to read and I always look forward to what your next post is going to be. I get the feel that you’re really enjoying writing your blog and it isn’t just something you just have to do, I think that’s reflecting through it. It’s really brilliant, and it’s inspiring me with ideas for my blog.

6 11 2012

Thanks for your lovely comments, Natalie. I am genuinely enjoying this project and, as soon as I’ve finished one post, I can’t wait to start the next one. Good job I have a (sort of) study schedule 😉

12 11 2012

I was completely honest when I met my future husband online, although I do admit I could be the person I always wanted to be rather than how I usually come across (does that make sense?) So from personal experience being honest online works. . . . .bagged myself a goodun’

13 11 2012

Interesting, and goes back to my original suggestion – we’re not just being honest online, but have the opportunity to reveal the true, inner self that doesn’t get out very often!

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