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Alternate personas and masks online. Who are we?

A number of Internet communities were rocked not so long ago by some shocking news.  It was announced that one of the most beloved and well-known members of their communities - certainly the most popular I had ever known - had passed away after a long battle with cancer.  What amazed and dismayed them more was the revelation that followed days later: she had never existed at all.  They discovered that Kaycee Nicole, this strong individual who had touched so many, was what is sometimes called an alternate persona created by a girl named Kelli, and later given life by her mother, Debbie.

I'd be blunt at this point and say simply that I have no idea why they would want to create this persona, but that would be a little untruthful.  I have plenty of thoughts on it.  I've even created alternate personas of my own from time to time.  Most often, I think people create these online personas as a way of escaping from their mundane lives.  A chance to shed their skin and be something new, something fresh, and possibly to gain more attention yet.

I've heard the stories, just as everyone else has... sad middle aged men posing as 16 yr old females to dupe unsuspecting teenaged guys... overweight women claiming the bodies of supermodels, and ages that seldom vary from the mid-twenties... even the 12 year old boys pretending to be in their late teens, and cussing up a storm because it's "kewl" to do that.

Some think that this sort of thing, being as prevalent as it is on the net, is limited to us Internet users... but it's not.  Have you ever sat in a high school classroom and acted the part of a class clown?  Have you ever pretended to know everything a teacher has to offer of a certain subject to prove your worth?  Have you pretended to be more athletic, more intelligent, more social, more anything than you really are?  Then you too are acting out an alternate life, an alternate persona.  I've done it, you've done it, we all have.  But the question is why do we do that?  Why can't we just be ourselves?  The truth is we're all somewhat insecure in who and what we are, unsatisfied with the amount of excitement, or attention we feel we deserve.

What goes on in the minds behind the masks others show?  What goes on behind the masks we show the world ourselves?   Only those who shape the masks, who live behind them can answer these questions.

Written By GoldenPanther

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