What is the exact word (not necessarily a single noun) to use for a person who seems to be introvert when in real-life, but is very much extroverted and free when they talk to you online?

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    I'm not sure there's a single word. I've only ever heard "Internet tough guy", "keyboard warrior", etc., never a single noun. I guess the whole online-offline thing is just too new. I might be mistaken. – RegDwigнt Dec 16 '10 at 13:08
  • Oh yeah, Right. Even I've heard of those terms. Lets see, if somebody else knows about this. – ykombinator Dec 16 '10 at 13:09
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    ...Bipolar? Electronic Jekyll-Hyde? :-P – user730 Dec 16 '10 at 13:11
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    A sheep in wolf's e-clothing? :p – Eldroß Dec 16 '10 at 13:46
  • @All: Mind putting these terms as answers? Let the community decide. :) – ykombinator Dec 16 '10 at 14:04

Urban Dictionary suggests netrovert.

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  • I actually came up with it myself while reading this topic, and thought I might have managed to invent a new word – until I Googled it and found it already listed on UD. Can't say I've seen it used anywhere, mind... – Brian Nixon Dec 21 '10 at 18:55
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    perfect! given that it has 7 votes, i doubt many people use it. it's up to us as a community to get it in the mainstream. say it to your family! when your family gets sick of it, say it to your friends! once your friends abandon you, go on the street with a sign and say it to strangers! – Claudiu Dec 21 '10 at 22:47
  • I would not use such a term; it sounds extremely faddish, and does not specify whether the person is an on-line introvert or extrovert. – Dour High Arch Dec 23 '10 at 3:24

Wikipedia goes with the Online disinhibitation effect, so a person exhibiting this behavior would be "online-disinhibited".

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  • Okay. Somewhat agreed! +1... – ykombinator Dec 19 '10 at 5:35
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    Here's one that I can agree with. It's far more neutral than many of the other suggestions. The trap to avoid falling into is that such a person is neither indecisive nor duplicitous. They may have natural tendencies to communicate and exchange ideas, but are socially inhibited in real life situations, which presents these ideas from being otherwise vocalized. – Joost Schuur Dec 19 '10 at 10:07

Well, I said if someone upvoted my comment, I would put it as an answer.

I would go with "A sheep in wolf's e-clothing", transforming the well-known idiom to indicate a naturally timid and introvert person (the sheep) transforming itself in an aggresive and extrovert person (the wolf), once it is online (the e-clothing).

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As per your request, I am re-submitting my comment as an answer.

Internet tough guy.

This is certainly a very popular term, though I still maintain that it is not a perfect fit for your description. Synonyms include "keyboard warrior" and "online tough guy". Here are links to definitions from various (dubious) places:

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    TV tropes can be very dangerous :p. As an aside, I'm slowly wondering if the tag slang could be used for this question, as it doesn't seems to have any proper word for it. – Eldroß Dec 16 '10 at 14:38
  • Yes, it's dangerous. TVTropes can ruin you vocabulary, your life... – user730 Dec 16 '10 at 15:32
  • Keyboard Warrior gets my vote... – CJM Dec 16 '10 at 16:25
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    I disagree. To use the phrase'tough guy' suggests that somehow extroverts are bullies, or at the very least defined by being thick headed or 'badass'. It carries too many negative connotations. Being an extrovert isn't a bad thing per se. It's merely a different way of interacting with people than introverts are comfortable with. An introvert may perceive an extrovert as aggressive and stuborn, but there's no malicious intent there. – Joost Schuur Dec 19 '10 at 9:59
  • @Joost: my point exactly, hence the "it is not a perfect fit for your description". It's merely as close as I could come to it without inventing a word myself. I have spent quite some time on Wikipedia, reading up on dissociative identity disorder and whatnot, but to no avail. As I stated earlier, this whole online-offline thing might be just too new. – RegDwigнt Dec 19 '10 at 10:08

How about websocialite ?

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(Man you people are more insistent than the other SE communities...)

I submit either "electronic Jekyll-and-Hyde" (EJH for short) or if we want to be really mean, "bipolar".


This comic addresses the concept of your question. You could use that term.

enter image description here

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    You're misunderstanding what an extrovert is. Extroverts don't seek to use crowds of other people to subject them to abuse like the comic implies and definitely don't thrive on anonymity. Introverts are more likely to be intimidated by them because they thrive on interacting with the social surroundings to the point of being vocally gregarious. That has little to do with the classic Penny Arcade comic. – Joost Schuur Dec 19 '10 at 10:04
  • @Joost: true, extrovert != asshole. seems like i'm not the only one who took 'extroverted' to mean 'an asshole' here, judging by 'internet tough guy' being the top-voted answer, but doesn't make it right. i like websocialite then except that connotes elitism – Claudiu Dec 19 '10 at 15:27
  • It's a fascinating topic though. I think most introverts can't really understand most extroverts and vice versa. It's hard for one side to see through the exterior facade when viewed through the eyes of the other. Introverts aren't 'shy' or 'loners' and extroverts aren't 'loud mouthed' or 'aggressive'. Offline, I tend to be a bit of both, and I wonder myself if I'm a minority case, or just a really bad extrovert ;) – Joost Schuur Dec 19 '10 at 15:54
  • I don't agree that the comic addresses the question. The comic is about ordinarily reasonable people behaving like morons when online and anonymous, and that's not what extrovert means. – Brian Nixon Dec 21 '10 at 17:04

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