What If We All Behaved In Real Life Like We Behaved Online?

Sometimes I feel like I’m very harsh on authors for merely doing the same things everyone else does. Granted, sometimes it’s deserved, for being too pushy, or rolling out marketing techniques that were last employed by the Stasi or the KGB. Earlier this year, I did a pillory piece on authors who are so pushy that they end up alienating potential readers; set at a hypothetical party, with the reader as a bewildered guest. However, it’s not fair to point the finger of ire and bile towards authors alone. Therefore, inspired by this post, I would like now to expand the theory somewhat.

What if everyone behaved in real life like they behaved online?

What If We All Behaved In Real Life Like We Behaved Online?

Imagine you are walking down a busy city street. It is early morning. You enter a café to purchase a hot beverage. The barista hands you your cup.

You: I like your coffee.

Barista: Thanks. That’ll be 2.50.

You: It’s totally the best coffee I’ve had all day.

Barista: Er, thanks. 2.50, please.

You: But I said I liked your coffee. That makes it free.

Barista: No, it was 2.50 when you walked in here, and that hasn’t changed.

You: I have lots and lots of distant acquaintances I could tell how nice your coffee is.

Barista: And I have a boss who can fire me. Give me the goddamn 2.50.

You pay with bad grace and exit the café. On your way out, you make yourself feel better by stopping three potential customers to tell them how awful the coffee is. You take a selfie of you making a disgusted face and pointing back at the café. A little further down the street, you shout at the sky.


A random passer-by dressed head to toe in grey, face concealed by a hoodie, creeps up to stand behind you.

Hoodie: I hate you. You look stupid.

You: Excuse me??

Hoodie: Can’t believe you don’t even know what time it is. And you’re fat.

You: Do I know you?

Hoodie: No. Now go into that corner and die.

The stranger laughs out loud as they go. You feel shaken. You check yourself in a shop window, noting how scared you look. You take a selfie of how scared you look. Several friends of yours are standing on the other side of the street. You try to get their attention, but they act like they haven’t seen you. However, three complete strangers give you a thumbs up, and you instantly feel better.

What if everyone behaved in real life like they behaved online?

You look left and right on your way further down the street, afraid someone else will say something nasty. You stop at the pedestrian lights, beside a lady wearing tartan trousers, talking to a man with a tattooed face.

Tartan Legs:  I was born in London but moved here at the age of six. I experienced a traumatic event when I was seven. I’m a really talented actress but I gave up acting because I make a hundred thousand dollars a month now promoting haemorrhoid cream as this year’s make-up essential.

Tattoo Face: Wow, that’s really interesting, because I want to be a fighter pilot and can’t eat cranberries. Have you seen the way my sideburns have grown in the shape of Norway?

Tartan Legs: OMG truly amazing. Let me take a picture I might use at some point in the future without your permission. But now back to me. I don’t always get what I want. Does this mean I’m suffering from depression?

The lights go green, and you cross the road to the public park on the other side. You take another picture of your coffee, before walking past a homeless guy to throw it into a bin, untouched.

What If We All Behaved In Real Life Like We Behaved Online?

Homeless Guy: Hey!

You: Excuse me?

Homeless Guy: Did you just throw out a full cup of coffee there?

You: Yeah, so what if I did?

Homeless Guy: Maybe I could have done with it. You’re really thoughtless.

You: How dare you judge me! You don’t even know me.

Homeless Guy: But you offended me. Also my brother died in a terrible coffee-throwing accident so you’ve triggered that whole trauma.

You: I find your offendedness really offensive. In fact, I’ve never been so offended.

Homeless Guy: I’m way more offended than you are. And also, ‘offendedness’ isn’t a word, so you just negated your entire argument, by being too stupid to live.

You: Yeah, well, I don’t care! You’re nothing to me. And that newspaper you’re sleeping on shows just how bigoted you are.

What If We All Behaved In Real Life Like We Behaved Online?

You walk away. You will spend the next eight hours fighting with barely contained anger and thinking of better comebacks which would have verbally annihilated the barista, the hoodie, and the homeless guy.

Unfortunately, it’s too late to tell them, so you tell everyone else instead, substituting what actually happened for your new snappy dialogue. Strangers love your stories and give you a thumbs up, but your friends pretend they don’t hear you. You feel sad and lonely, but then another stranger tells you how funny you are, which gives you 2 minutes of happiness before you feel sad and lonely again.


That’s enough of that. I’ve just remembered this is December, which is far too early for the aching preachiness I will be no doubt unleashing on the world in January. Must get more Christmassy. I’m off to write a love song to a pudding. It’s going to have one hell of a chorus.

  78 comments for “What If We All Behaved In Real Life Like We Behaved Online?

  1. December 15, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Behind every joke lies a truth? 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. therailbaron
    December 15, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Reblogged this on therailbaron's Blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 15, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Thank you, Baron. All re-bloggers will remain free from pillory for a period of 2 years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • therailbaron
        December 15, 2015 at 2:32 pm

        So, two years of boredom. Thanks pal.

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 15, 2015 at 2:49 pm

          The future can be changed for a small fee, your Railness.

          Liked by 1 person

          • therailbaron
            December 15, 2015 at 3:04 pm

            Goodie. Check my wallet…two buttons and a handsome bit of lint. Consider the changed future paid in full.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. December 15, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Reblogged this on bhalsop and commented:
    The Irish Wit has again shown truth to the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 15, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks be to goodness. For a while there, I was worried it was just a jaded and myopic whinge about social media, characteristic of the pre-millennial generation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. December 15, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I love this, so enjoy yourself for two minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. December 15, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    Too funny – unless this really is you…? *gulp!*

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 15, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      Of course it’s not, Jan. Anyone reading is too self-aware for that!


  6. December 15, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Brilliant! Logged onto Twitter just to share it. Not sure if I should do the same on Facebook…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. December 15, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Life can be so hard sometimes, but we continue to make the best of it. Just don’t take it out on the world. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 15, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Never, jinlobify. It would spoil my online complexion 😉


  8. December 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I do enjoy when you do this – and I totally agree 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. December 15, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Oh, true; so, SO true. I’ve stopped trying to understand WHY people continue with this sort of behavior even after social satirists, such as yourself, point it out. The mirror, apparently, only reflects so far. But please continue, if, for no other reason, because the rest of us find it endlessly hilarious!


    • December 15, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      But Lorraine, what if people start behaving differently, and I lose all my material? What will we do then? Oh, wait. Hang on…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. December 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Years ago I tried, and failed, to write a poem about the weirdness and fun of hearing individuals having a heart-to-heart (or a shark-to-shark) with an invisible other, apparently unfazed by the fact that they were nose-to-nose with a stranger on a crowded train [I think my brain is winding down and in need to a cuppa]. The internet has made this into a 3D version… it is still weird, but a gift to writers AND we are all of us in your story, even when we imagine otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 15, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      I want to see that poem, Hilary, unfinished or not. Go on. It’s Christmas. Give the people what they want.
      (PS. I’m in my story too. And I’m big (fat?) enough to admit it.)


      • December 15, 2015 at 5:04 pm

        Sorry, I’m a wuss (I did go and look it up). It is sentimental (and bad). I was trying to convey how exposed we had become by having conversations in public. I can publish a novel, but in all my years I have only managed to let three or four poems into the public domain. I really care about poetry, it has to be GOOD or hidden.

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 15, 2015 at 5:59 pm

          I know what you mean, Hilary. I have a few of them myself. I let them out for a run every now and then, but I don’t pet them.


  11. December 15, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    I was enjoying it quite a bit, right up until ” that newspaper you’re sleeping on shows just how bigoted you are.” That made me guffaw.
    BTW, I had to do everything in my power to not share a post I saw this morning. It featured some glittery eye make up that Dealz are selling for €1.49. Just sayin’…

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 15, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      I’m tempted to gasp at the price tag, Conor, but your manful restraint in not sharing such a post deserves a ‘Like’. Or is that a ‘Wow’ now? I can never keep up. Plus, a guffaw always gets a thumbs up in my media.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. December 15, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    This was great but I’m giving it a one star review on Uber because it’s the principle of the thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 15, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      Your comment is 5-star material, though, Nutty. How will we bridge the gap? Perhaps we can pretend that we’re judging ironically?


  13. December 16, 2015 at 3:36 am

    Enjoyed the post, Tara. Pretty funny, eye-opening when replayed in “real life.” It’s like sexting without the sex. Letting it all hang out, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the who cares 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 16, 2015 at 8:47 am

      Think you hit on something there, Diana. Perhaps if we cared less about what was going on online we’d be better off. Although might be a bit hard for bloggers!

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 16, 2015 at 3:37 pm

        Oh, I care about blogging and the connections I make, but when thinking about what people share online versus real life….Here’s an example of a who-cares post: “Look at this photo of the ham sandwich I had for lunch.”
        It’s an improvement over “I hate you and wish you’d die” comments, but really…who cares. Thankfully people don’t do that in real life 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 16, 2015 at 3:49 pm

          Yes, nobody ever does that! I think the difference is that saying the same stuff in real life is conversation, whereas online, it’s attention-seeking.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. December 16, 2015 at 6:54 am

    Can’t wait to hear the song. I love puddings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 16, 2015 at 7:30 am

      Sadly I may have to disappoint you there, Graeme. I could never put anything so raw and personal online.


  15. December 16, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Hate to tell you, but I’ve recently encountered much of this behaviour in real life. Manners and consideration for others are now considered so out of date. Boorishness is in, and, as online when you can hide behind an avatar, it seems perfectly acceptable to spout nasty, swearing diatribes to strangers whom you’ll probably never meet again. Is it the internet or parents to blame?

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 16, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      You shouldn’t hate to tell me that. I love being proved right! I’m not so sure about blaming parents, though. Teenagers want to emulate their peers more than their uncool parents, and the most confident people online are usually the nastiest and most boorish. Perhaps better moderation of comment boards will weed them all out eventually (chance would be a fine thing).


  16. December 16, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Brilliant. I must start compiling a list of blog-posts I’d written. Maybe I’ll just take this one and change a few things instead. ‘Inspired by’, as opposed to blatant ripping off. That’s all the rage too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 16, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      Like reviewing a review, or doing an overview of all the things you’ve done instead of doing something? I’m all over that sheet. Content is king, you know.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. December 16, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I mean I *wish* I’d written. I’m robbing it already!


  18. December 16, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    This is brilliant, and funny, and too true. Must follow you from here on…

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 16, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Oh good, you got the memo Debby. Everyone must follow me before the end of the year, or there’ll be slaps. Spread the word, just so the world is a more peaceful place for Christmas, yeah?

      Liked by 1 person

  19. December 17, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Obviously the subject of the article has no way of knowing about the guy staring from an apartment window unable to interact because his INTERNET CONNECTON IS DOWN, and becoming prone to outbursts of bad language IN CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE HIS INTERNET CONNECTION IS DOWN.

    A man has come to the house to fix the internet connection so hopefully I’ll be able to start commenting on your posts again soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 17, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      I was thinking you were a bit quiet on your own blog – not like you, Chris. Still, I appreciate the hijacking and random acts of violence you no doubt had to perform in order to leave this particular comment. All in a good cause.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Ali Isaac
    December 21, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I see you had a few of those G&T’s before writing this, Tara! It’s a scary place out there in the blogoverse…

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      Sadly I was stone cold sober or perhaps it would have been softer!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ali Isaac
        December 21, 2015 at 4:08 pm

        Oh no. It would have been worse. Much worse! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 21, 2015 at 4:12 pm

          Muuuuch worse! In my defence it’s what drives me barmiest about the interweb!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ali Isaac
            December 21, 2015 at 4:21 pm

            What… the alcohol, or lack of it?

            Liked by 1 person

            • December 21, 2015 at 4:23 pm

              No, the online personality disorders 😔

              Liked by 1 person

              • Ali Isaac
                December 21, 2015 at 4:28 pm

                Just my little joke! 😂 I know what you meant. Yes, there’s a lot of it about.

                Liked by 1 person

                • December 21, 2015 at 4:30 pm

                  Sorry Ali. I am rushing out for a G+T immediately. I know my sense of humour is in there somewhere!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Ali Isaac
                    December 21, 2015 at 4:32 pm

                    Well enjoy it! Thats what you city folks do after work, ist it? Quite fancy one myself, although it’s actually nearly wine o’clock. ..

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • December 21, 2015 at 4:36 pm

                      What?! It was wine o’clock at 1pm, Ali. You also missed beer o’clock and cocktail o’clock. It will be harsh liquor o’clock at 5pm and you’re welcome to join me.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ali Isaac
                      December 21, 2015 at 4:48 pm

                      Dammit! I must have been mucking out the cows and missed it. Harsh liquor, you say? I’ll get my coat…

                      Liked by 1 person

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