Online, You are Really You

. Thursday, December 3


If Time says it’s so, then it must be so. Today, an article proclaims that most people assume that people using online social forums go out of their way to portray themselves as something that they are not. It’s even logical, in their assuming way, to infer that people will choose the most attractive photos of themselves, post only “pithy and clever” thoughts and choose only books and movies that make them seem sophisticated.

To Time’s surprise, the results of a study – however questionable and limited it was – done by psychologist Sam Gosling found that 236 college students’ Facebook profiles were as consistent with the personality questionnaires they completed. In other words, Gosling says that online profiles are accurate depictions of each person’s actual personality. He noted that those who tried to present an “idealized version” of themselves failed miserably. Yep, a ‘real world’ jerk is a jerk online too.

It’s interesting to note the recent surge in studies and articles about the positive aspects of online social networking. Not so long ago, all we heard about were psycho mothers causing teen suicide and pedophiles using networks to entrap their next victims. It’s another faulty assumption to think that all the deviants have lost their knack of presenting themselves as angels in disguise.

I’ll believe otherwise only when a study is done on a far more representative sample, and a demography other than college students who, by the way, are more akin to aliens from outer space than the general population.