I remember a social media socialite at a Northern Voive conference in Vancouver a couple years ago expressing her shock at being recognized on the street. It would be hard not to: at the 08:30a session she was dressed like she was still clubbing. I think she liked the attention, but the erstwhile social media expert was still taken aback that someone had connected her online persona to her street persona–as if those were two different things.
Like so many of the young students I teach, she had the mistaken idea that online is something distinctly different from offline. You don’t need to be a psychologist or neuroscientist to know that just isn’t the case; even a circus clown can tell you you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. The online self is neither a replacement self nor a new self, but an extension of the same old self. That is, the person who plays on Saturday, prays on Sunday and commutes to work Monday to Friday, is the same person who writes the Facebook post.
So, I am not surprised by this Pew report which turns up convincing evidence that those who are active online are also socially active in person. But I feel vindicated. Far, from creating anti-social behavior, it encourages deeper connections.