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Lies! All lies! Or are they?

While the Web has served to create an information society, it is prudent to remember that the Web excels at misinforming. This brings an interesting twist to confessional culture online

Literary critics and students have written paper after paper on the credibility of the narrator in confessional literature. The writer knows that there is an audience, and the writer will alter what they are confessing depending on the relationship to the audience. Is altered confession still confession? Truly a debate for the ages.

The larger benefit and problem with Internet confessional mediums is the anonymity Web authors enjoy. While this usually emboldens authors toward more complete confession, it also detracts from the reader's trust. The Internet lacks boundaries completely. It is difficult to decide what is true and what is false.

While researching MUDs an avid gamer was telling Sherry Turkle about his character, Achilles. He enthused "You are who you pretend to be." Turkle commented that "The notion that 'you are who you pretend to be' has a mythic resonance. The Pygmalion story endures because it speaks to a powerful fantasy: that we are not limited by our histories, that we can be re-created or can re-create ourselves."

The confessional poets of the 1950's never hesitated to mythologize their speakers, using biblical and classical Greek mythology. Most people who keep online journals probably would hesitate to liken their struggle to that of Medusa as poet Sylvia Plath does. But when placed in context with Turkle's comments, this idea of mythologizing begins to be troublesome. How much of online journals can be true?

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