Lifting the veil
I recently figured out who someone I only know from the Internet is in real life. I don't consider myself a stalker type and would never dream of outing anyone against their will, but I couldn't resist the temptation of Google. What happened was that I was immensely impressed by this persons accomplishments and while that was not surprising given what I already knew about this persons alter ego, I think my reaction was somewhat surprising. I was not only impressed but also immediately felt that this person was completely out of my league and I would never be able to compete with someone so succesful. Up until that minute I knew that this person experienced the same struggles as I do and that was exactly the reason in the first place for both of us being in this particular Internet forum. Why is it that as soon as people get a name and a face and a CV I suddenly think they are unapproachable, scarily successful and dealing with everything in a much more elegant way than I do, while I am convinced they are just like me despite all successes as long as they present themselves as an avatar with a fantasy name? Isn't that a little sad?
I sometimes give away my real email or my real name and location to people I've connected with in the blogosphere or internetfora. I almost expect people to google me if they get hold of my name by chance (not because I'm hugely interesting, but because Google is a huge temptation for the curious mind). But I never thought about how getting access to my real life info could change anybodys perception of me (it is really quite harmless, I have never been a sumo wrestler or anything really surprising).