If there’s one thing I’ve noticed in my time as a webmaster, and my experience with the Internet/online services over the past five years, is how many times I have lied. I’m not talking just white lies, either. I’m talking about huge, gigantic lies, the kind that you would NEVER be able to pull off in real life. And you know what, I sincerely doubt that I’m not the only person that has lied. I bet you have too.
First, all of this lying begs the question: why do we lie? Well, I think the roots of ALL lying are based on the ego of a person, and how you want other people to view you. The bigger the ego, the bigger the lies, to make you sound great in other people’s eyes. All of us do it, it’s part of human nature, and it’s not something we should get rid of, because then, well, um, we just shouldn’t.
The real question is why do we concentrate our lying on the Internet? Mainly, I think it deals with the whole facet of our culture that encourages anonymity, and the lack of responsibility for one’s actions, but I don’t want to digress, that’s for another essay. :) Anyways, since very people know and see us everyday in real life and know us over the net, we can basically say anything we want about ourselves and get away with it. Like, I can say I’m a superior athlete, that has gotten varsity letters my three years in school or, more subtly, I could just take a normal nerd-like trait, and enhance it (“Well, I know ALL the words in Star Wars AND in Indiana Jones, so there.”)
When someone is first introduced to this vast network of people that don’t know you, the lying starts slowly, with little white lies, like saying to someone, when you don’t want to talk to them, “Yeah, I’ve got to go now.”, and saying you’re doing some small thing that you really aren’t doing. And you see, hey, no one’s calling me on this crap (whether they believe you is a different story), so why not start with something bigger.
Then the netizen (or quaketizen) enters what I call the Big-Ass Liar stage, which commonly occurs with the hAx0r stage (ask Frags or digs about that stage :). Basically, a person thinks “I can say whatever the hell I want to, and get away with it!” Thankfully, this stage lasts only briefly for most people but, alas, for some, it is a permanent condition. Most people soon realize that anyone “cool” (what is cool, anyways? – wait, another editorial there) is making fun of them, and no one is believing what they say. That’s when they enter the third and final stage, that most of us are in.
Basically this last stage is one of the critical things that allows our little community to survive, otherwise we’d just be pissing people off left and right. Basically, it’s a revertion to the previous stage of little white lies, but with wisdom. Like, I may tell a small lie, to get out of something I don’t want to do, but about the big things (like losing my hard drive) I wouldn’t lie about. I think you all know what I’m talking about.
Imagine what would happen if none of us did lie to each other? Sure, we’d be a lot less paranoid, but we’d also be constantly pissed at each other at saying things that hurt our feelings, or not having any excuse for not doing something other than being lazy. We NEED these lies for our community to survive – without them we’d be reduce to a bunch of sniveling geeks sulking in our respective corners. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?
Well, that’s it, I’m all out of time (or am I lying?). Anyways, do you have a comment about this editorial? Send it to me, and I’ll post it.