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The Jungle is a column that uses social media to explore the fault lines in adult relationships.

The topic

This week, I asked my Twitter followers if there is a difference between who we are in our online and "real" lives, a subject that's increasingly relevant as we spend more time interacting online instead of face-to-face. I ask myself this question all the time, when my IRL (in-real-life) friends or people I initially met online say that I'm a lot different (hopefully, better?) in person.

The debate

Is there an obligation for your online persona to be the same as who you are in real life?


@geekigirl suggested this caveat: "If you plan to have real life interactions with the people you chat with online then yes," you should be the same online and in real life. "Personally, I feel my online and offline persona isn't different. I just don't tell everyone everything, much like real life," she tweeted.

@LeeshLou said her on-and-offline lives interact. She tweeted, "But my online life doesn't = my whole IRL life, which I think sometimes people don't realize."


@johnsemley3000 tweeted, "IRL I'm mostly kind. It's a relief to be cranky/acrimonious online. It's like being in an S&M relationship with myself."

"IRL me is multi-faceted and I have not yet found a way (in me or others) for that to translate to online," @kategoesboom tweeted.

Globe and Mail columnist @TabathaSouthey tweeted: "Be yourself, but yourself at a cocktail party – try and bring something to the room."

Kate Says

I agree with @TabathaSouthey. The internet can't encapsulate everything about who we are, at least not yet. I do think it's just as important to be "yourself" online, but take the opportunity to play and be a different kind of "real" online – create a version of yourself that doesn't or can't exist in your real life. That's kind of the point, isn't it?

Weigh in on the next Jungle debate. Follow Kate Carraway on Twitter: @KateCarraway