The internet as reality.

In light of the recent Te’o hoax, Sullivan expresses something I’ve been thinking and wanting to find the words to convey for a while now:

[I]ncreasingly, I don’t see online interaction as easily separable from real-life human interaction any more. We spend more and more time communicating with one another virtually rather than physically. But these communications are still between human beings, with all our foibles and needs and crushes and hatreds and, if we’re lucky, wit and humor. We do not cease being human online; but we do wear a kind of mask, concealing some things, revealing others – whether on a blog or a hook-up app or a list-serv or a Facebook wall. And if you spend more hours a day communicating that way, you haven’t stopped living. You’re actually slowly becoming another person on top of your regular self…

This is the current reality for a lot of us. We meet many more people virtually than on the street or in our physical daily lives. We also get to know them more. The anonymity of the web can allow people not just to trash talk in a way they wouldn’t in real life but to sext and love-talk with strangers whom you’ve only seen pictures of. Some of this may actually be more authentic an expression of ourselves than anything we have the courage to say to someone’s face.


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