Some of the differences are obvious. For example, the real world
club meets once a week while the mailing list "meets"
whenever someone has something to say. And to join the real world
club, you have to live near your school while anyone anywhere can
join the mailing list.
But, you may find that you sound like one type of person in the
Sea Shell Club and like a different type of person on the sea shell
mailing list. When you talk to your real world club. you can see
people nodding in agreement, or maybe they start doodling in their
notebooks which would be a sign that they're bored. You can't see
any of that when you send an email, so sometimes people on mailing
lists say things just to get someone to react. While you might have
said to your real world Club: "In some cultures, people blow
into conch shells like this to make music," on the mailing
list you might find yourself saying, "The sound of a conch
is the most beautiful sound in the world and makes a violin sound
like a cat with a stomach ache!"
That happens a lot on the Web. Maybe in the sports chat room your
enthusiasm for a team leads you write in all capital letters and
to say things that you know aren't perfectly true, such as: "THE
RED SOX ARE A GREAT GREAT GREAT TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE WORLD SERIES
NEXT YEAR AND ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE IS JUST A DUMB SACK OF POTATOES."
Meanwhile, in a chat room talking about dance moves, perhaps you
find yourself not shouting but trading puns as quickly as you can
type. Someone reading your comments in the sports chat room might
not even recognize you as the same person in the dance chat room.
It's much easier to let yourself sound one way instead of another
on the Web than in the real world because no one knows who you are
on the Web.
Links to Explore