Because the offline persona has been established for longer, it is harder to change. It’s easier to become trapped in it, limiting what we might be. Because online has so much less history, we have the feeling of greater freedom – freedom to be authentic or freedom to create masks and facades – as in everything, the choice is ours. Yet maybe it is the straightjacket of the offline habits that is the illusion – offline can be as free as online if we so choose. It’s just harder to change. But the bottom line is that both have many layers to the onion; both can be authentic; both can faked
Rapport is built offline by so much more than words. We can’t make eye contact online; we can’t touch. Perhaps the reason that it seems possible to get deeper, quicker with online relationships is that we have to replace these non-verbal cues with written equivalents. If we want to make our feelings known, we have to be more explicit about them, so when compared with an equivalent verbal dialogue, the words suggest a closer relationship. But it’s a rather unbalanced relationship because whilst some elements run deep, others remain completely hidden.