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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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Yellowbeard

Subject : now May 12th 9:49am

IM A ZOMBIE HAHAHAHAHA Brains

The pirate Yellowbeard captured many other galleons, killing over five-hundred men in cold blood. He would tear the captains hearts out and swallow them whole. Often forcing his victims to eat their own lips, he was caught and imprisoned For tax evasion.

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Yellowbeard

Subject : me too May 12th 9:48am

i was a pirate.

The pirate Yellowbeard captured many other galleons, killing over five-hundred men in cold blood. He would tear the captains hearts out and swallow them whole. Often forcing his victims to eat their own lips, he was caught and imprisoned For tax evasion.

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rotflmao

Subject : who we are, who are we? November 18th 10:57pm

well, this would be my two cents. i feel like all to some extent act differently, but it is also part of some peoples makeup, to act to clown to rearrange their own personality to please others. (something i learned from interpersonal comm. high maiten. persons or low maint person.) i prolly post more later, but that is at least 3 cents worth, so plbtth, i went over by 1 cent, so sue me, and all ya'll get is 1 cent! ahahahaha!

the eggplant plots and ponders, unbeknownst to the self absorbed humans

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TheCosmicCheese

Subject : Re:My Name August 07th 1:08pm

Quote:
On August 03rd 7:51pm EST, SirSpiffy wrote:
I do contest, for the use of pseudonyms is an imposed fashion, and far from a mask.  Were you to actually use your real name that would be just silly, as the neighborhood net is a dangerous place.  If some yahoo knew too much about you lotsa bad stuff can happen.


*I* do contest . . . why? Well cuase I can =)  The use of pseudonyms is more of a trend then an imposed fashion.  There are people who use their real names in usernames (or what they would purport is their real name).  And so what if they do?  A malicious person can't do much with the information provided by a JoeSmith32.  A Joe Smith *somewhere* in the world.  To become a danger more sensitive personal information has to be disclosed, phone number, address, or city.  After those a name falls into obscurity.  (The big no-nos to let out in casual public, net or no, are SSN, and mothers maiden name.  With these a lot of doors can be opened for fraud or identity theft means.  While rare, it does happen.)

As to the manner of masks . . . even if we assume you do not, whos to say noone else does?  The 'net gives us a near limitless supply of anononymity.  At the very least it dissolves some social inhibitions in quieter folk.  In the extremes people set out their "ideal" personality pretending to have achieved and posses all the lofty goals they hold (physical, educational, economical, etc) or even fashion an entire personality to interact with.  

In any case its far and common practice.  The KC Scandal crosses a line however as she played with the hearts of those she made care for.

Were this post not too long already I would argue the psychological standing of how everyone wears masks, consciously or subonciously. . .but instead I will draw my rant to a close.

Best wishes

 


[Pretend the font is white in the below pic.  For some reason its  mis-allocating colors *shudders =( eww pink*]

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SirSpiffy

Subject : My Name August 03rd 7:51pm

[Post edited by: SirSpiffy on August 03rd 7:52pm EST]


"Do we as the internet community actually use our real names? No! we use made-up names ...ie: dragon princess"

I do contest, for the use of pseudonyms is an imposed fashion, and far from a mask.  Were you to actually use your real name that would be just silly, as the neighborhood net is a dangerous place.  If some yahoo knew too much about you lotsa bad stuff can happen.  

well basically a pseudonym is not the same as a mask, Sir Spiffy is merely the name in which the *REAL* person behind it speaks, not merely a mask for which to be someone else for a while.  

 I am who I am, noble knight and guardian of spiff, why would I want to pretend otherwise?


---===]=0 ^_^ 0=[===---
I don't try and understand
myself for fear of going
insane . . .
---===]=0 ^_^ 0=[===---

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dragonprincess

Subject : masks July 24th 12:52am

[This post was edited by: dragonprincess on July 24th 12:55am]


all i have to say is...if people who chat online and go to clubs like this and all that jazz think they dont wear masks, then those people are fooling themselves. I have a perfect example for you: screennames. Do we as the internet community actually use our real names? No! we use made-up names ...ie: dragon princess...and we hide behind these names. that is the entertaimnet value of the internet... to be someone else for a while, not who we really are...boring, just struggling to get through life day by day. Now I will admit that the whole KC scandal was wrong because it hurt alot of people. But having an alternate ID is not wrong and is something we all have and use.


~life is like a sack of potatoes...ugly and only good for eating~

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GoldenPanther

(Admin)
Subject : Great day June 16th 11:19pm

If I were asked that question, I would respond with truth... I take the days given me, whether I remember them or not.  Every single day that passes shapes me, makes me who and what I am, makes me grow so that tomorrow I will be more than I was today, which is more than I was yesterday, and I will become more yet as I grow.

I would not want to think that I had a great day when I never in fact did.  I want my life to be one lived in truth and free of illusion... or as free as anyone's life can be.

I am who I am, and the pain I have lived with, the pain I live with now... shapes me into this form.

I'm the aged panther of the darkest reaches of your inner psyche.  Or something.

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robflax

Subject : Memories June 09th 4:23am

If some nut asked me that at a bus stop - I think I'd respond different
Quote:
"would you rather have a memory of a great day, or actualy have a great day but never remember it for the rest of your life?"

I would rather live life with the truth.  Id rather never have to believe in a lie.  I'd rather never have to lie to myself.

To say I had a great day when I didnt... that would be lying to myself... or living a lie or something.
To say I might have had a great day, but I dont remember it... that would be truth.

To believe an illusion may make it seem like it's true, but there's more to life than our own perceptions.  You may as well start tellin yourself you were a great man, and made the world bow at your feet... some day maybe you'll believe it and make it true in your head.  Not in mine though.  Lies are lies, believed in or not.

Rob Flax, that's who I am, PM me to hear more

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GoldenPanther

(Admin)
Subject : Masks June 07th 8:19pm

I had written this article, inspired by the KC scandal to prove a point to some people.  We all have masks, we all hide our true selves from the world.

Kaycee's sources had noble goals.  They tried to help out those who would call KC friend.  They tried to make her struggle with cancer a positive example for everyone.  They fucked up.

I honor the memories of the ideal they portrayed, but I also feel pity for those who felt they could not help the world in any other way.  

I hide behind my own masks every day of my life.  I create personas online to help express the feelings I hold within.  But I would never let anyone get close to these personas without telling them the truth.  Truth, honor, love... I'm an idealistic person, I admit, but this has gotten me respect in my life, it has gotten me love, and I can say without lying I have no enemies in my life.  
Quote:
Love the world, keep to your own sense of honor, and always seek the truth.

I'm the aged panther of the darkest reaches of your inner psyche.  Or something.

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CityCowboy

Subject : The Death Of KC June 07th 5:48pm

He he he...  
Wow how great was that huh?  I mean I even still have a hat
she (they) signed to me.  How awesome of a hoax!  How supurb
and well done!

My hat will never be worn again, because I will put it in a shrine or something.
They did it well.  Soooo... Maybe I should announce another hoax as well, though not near as
well pulled off as theirs.  Jennifer smileal0t@collegeclub.com who was a lovely girl, who lived
in Ridgecrest Montana, also died this year (sad) she was a freind of mine, a girl I grew to love and cherish,
she worked for CC greeting new members when they signed on, and yet now that she is gone, I feel a void...

Oh by the way Jennifer is Me!  This is why I love the internet, this is why this world is going to change for the better.  Does it realy matter if KC or
Jennifer realy did exist?  Not realy... Only the memories of who you thought they were realy matter, and in that case
they did exist they are apart of who we are.  

There once was a question asked to me by an old man sitting at a bus stop... "would you rather have a memory of a great day, or actualy have a great day but never remember it for the rest of your life?"  
KC I salute you, your memories are alive and well within me, your hat will be forever cherished, I just wish I could have said good bye....

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