Change or modification is quite popular, even in real life people are getting Botox and plastic surgery to make themselves into something they’re not. It has become a staple to life, as we know it. Though, as stated in the reading, is not universally accepted in practice, “haircuts, makeup, and dressing up are seen as socially acceptable, if not socially desirable. On the other hand, the ability to truly transform oneself has been regarded in myths and legends as both dangerous and powerful” (Yee, Bailinson 1).
People get into these online worlds and virtual platforms in some cases as a hobby, or an energy outlet when they become bored, though the devoted virtual enthusiasts seem to take it to another level. They enter these fictional worlds to become something they are not. They sometimes even enter the online dating world as something they are not, as described in class and other blog posts with the example of CatFish. The case is clear that these people are using these virtual worlds as more than just an outlet for when they are bored, and for more of an actual attempt at a “Second Life.”
In the second reading, the point came up about “first impressions” (Goffman 2). First impressions are what people base their opinion on something on, and if it is not a positive first reaction, the individuals view may be irreversibly skewed going forward. An example is the weight loss pill advertisements we always see on TV. It seems that in many cases these photos are just people loking unhappy and pushing out their stomachs in the before picture. Then they workout, take the “magic pills,” get a haircut and go tanning and flex for the after picture. It is just not a completely true representation of reality and makes people think or believe something that may not be entirely true. In the case of CatFish, people make fake pictures and profiles to make good first impressions. In Second Life, it may be the same urge pushing people. People that maybe insecure or unhappy with an aspect of themselves may be less likely to present themselves virtually as such, simply because it is simple to do so. Getting good reactions online may boost self-esteem, but this may translate into further negative emotions about oneself in reality.
In general people change themselves online experimentally or without thinking that it should or shouldn’t look like them. These actions can be called “preventive, defensive, and protective practices” (Goffman 13) People first want to avoid the negativity from coming their way to begin with, in order to shield themselves from any unnecessary or uninvited banter. People know whether others respond positively or negatively to them in reality, so it only makes sense to avoid the negative attributes or behaviors, and accentuate the positive ones.
Being in a virtual atmosphere people feel more comfortable being whatever they want to be. They may want to be themselves, be a meaner/nicer version, or even take on an entirely different persona. It is the anonymity of being online that persuades people into being outgoing when they are normally shy. People tend to carelessly speak their minds without regard for the impact it may have on the audience receiving the insult or comment. People simply don’t think before they act when online. The unrecognizability in a way “affords” them this opportunity that they do not have in real life.