The computer is a mask it is far too easy to hide behind. It distances you from your target and it gives you a sense of freedom you might lack otherwise, whether you realize it or not. What you say and do online, at least to those who approach chatting and the like on the same level as actual face-to-face conversation is no less real because you cannot reach to the person you are speaking to and touch them. It is merely a different way of doing so. For me, at least, the emotions are still very much there, often times more so. Which means I tend to be more open online than 'in real life'.
I hate that phrase now. "in real life", as opposed to online. Seems to me my online life is a hell of a lot more 'real' than who I am away from the computer.
To me, online I have almost no barriers. I will say what I damn well feel and if that offends, so be it. But many people I know adopt a slightly different persona when online. maybe I do it too and I've just not noticed. Sometimes the things they say and 'do' over the wires is nothing but some form of roleplaying. And when you confront them in person they are different. So different. And so I have learned that while what you say online might very well be the truth, it cannot necessarily be trusted until I have confirmation. It is an alternate reality, someplace to be someone else. to present yourself differently. Sometimes idealistic, as you'd like to be, sometimes basic, letting out the traits you'd never allow to see the light of day in physical encounters. And so until I know that something said or done transcends the alternate reality and is the truth, I can't trust it.