Saturday, February 25, 2012

Book: Virtually You by Elias Aboujaoude

An interesting book by a psychiatrist who works with people with problems stemming from internet use.

This has nothing to do with games, but games has led me to lead a sort of life online, interacting with people in forums and blogs.

I've always tried to be as honest as much safety sense allows. I don't divulge personal info readily but I never lie about the details just to have an answer. I've always tried to be myself but even I have to admit that online, I definitely come across as more confident and outspoken and perhaps even more sociable than how I am in real life. The book seeks to explore how the development of an "e-personality" affects our real selves and our real lives.

I have not finished the book, but just begun reading it, and the first chapter is already very interesting as the author talks about the cases he's seen in his work.

In my observation and experience, and on the level that the people I interact with are generally honest (I think) it's interesting to me how sometimes some "characters" can break down after a while. I'm sure a lot of us who have spend a lot of time interacting in community based forums have seen personality changes, and other shocking and sometimes disturbing transformations.

I hate to say it, but I have had instances where I had conflicts with best kind of people because my online ego had grown to such a size that it became overbearing and thinks it knows more than it does. It becomes a thing that must be defended, a "reputation" can suddenly be on the line in an argument. A bad day. A misunderstanding. Blowing things out of proportion.  And in the storm that sometimes follows, we all get shocked at how we could say the things we say to each other, and wonder what the other person is doing or thinking.

I've come to realize recently that the person we think is not the person who is. The person online is not the whole story. I guess if I had thought about things this way, I would not have been so quick to judge and condemn, and perhaps I would have been kinder online.

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