Better to meet online or in real life

Hi my name is Casey Lee, I am a 6’4” 190 pound senior. I am a three year varsity basketball captain, a pro gamer and an intermediate programmer. Not to mention that I am also a part time rapper. All that could pass if online, right? Although if someone were to meet me for the first time he or she would probably describe me something more like: His name is Casey Lee, he is a six foot, 155 pound senior. He seems unathletic, occasionally plays basketball as a recreational sport and enjoys playing video games on his free time. Programming? He barely knows how to write a script. And when he freestyles, he stutters when he’s put on the spotlight.  When meeting people in real life, one would not encounter the problem of differentiating a fake persona to a real one.

Meeting someone in person is usually more realistic, since one may have a different personality via internet but in reality “you are who you are” and you can’t hide that whether it’s the online persona or real life. Friendships in real life are more legitimate than online friendships, because you can’t hide anything nor create a “fake self” and hide it well. Additionally, in real life friendships each side is able to create physical memories, which can be the smallest things such as sitting next to one another.  It’s real life friends we’re talking about, that should be enough reality.

On the internet an individual can mask themselves – maybe even tweak it to make them someone who they’re not. This is something called a persona, an individual may or may not have different personas, such as an online persona compared to their public persona. But tweaking who they are online to create such a persona is limited to some point.

An advantage of face to face friendships is that you can read the facial expressions of your friend. It doesn’t just apply to friends, in general talking to someone face to face you will be able to read their body language and can tell how they are feeling. Not only will you be able to read facial expressions and body expressions but you will also have a chance to meet others, while gaining social skills.

However, it can be argued that online personas and friendships are beneficial. Individuals use online personas as a form of expression, either creating a facade or building an online friendship whether it starts with a stranger or not. Since a majority of the online facade isn’t face to face it is easier to converse about issues that one normally wouldn’t talk about with friends in real life, such as personal issues and advice. But to what extent do online friendships accurately express individuals? The Internet and social media are just mere codings and pixels that represent us and who we “really” are to only a limited extent. The mysteries and dangers is that we don’t know if the other side of the friendship is true to what is said. An extreme case of this is when NFL player Manti Te’o was “catfished” or in other words, led on by a fake “person” created by a real person behind a keyboard. Manti had met a “girl” online and the only means of communication that they had was via internet. Little did Teo’ know, it was actually a man behind a computer; Te’o and the catfisher secretly met in person, who knows what would’ve  happened to Te’o. Although there are some pros by talking and meeting people online, there are also dangers and risks.

From experience talking to people in person is easier by far, I can tell whether or not someone is sarcastic, or if someone is joking and even if someone is mad. How we act and what we do in reality should be more than enough to define us who we are. We can read emotions, we can read body language and we can read behaviours, these are traits that are hard to imply through social media and online. Closer bonds and friendships are developed when spending time with an individual face to face, the emotions and the physical memories that are created and cherished. We are who we are, and nothing can change that, just like the fact that my name is Casey Lee, I add “is cool ” to my peers’ names and I cannot freestyle. Therefore as an individual living in reality, you are who you are and that is that.

By Casey Lee, Staff writer