COLUMN: Losing yourself in an online persona


Theo Edwards, Opinions Editor

Some media at the time it is created grows more in relevance as time goes on. The psychological thriller, “Perfect Blue,” and its themes fit this exactly. 

“Perfect Blue,” released in 1997, is about a girl in an idol group set in Japan. She decides to quit singing and become an actress. 

Over the course of transitioning to a new job, she begins to lose her identity as she cultivates a personality that she believes (as well as people around her pressure her into) will be more likeable and will help her further her career. This includes becoming more promiscuous and dismissing her boundaries all for the sake of fame and to the detriment of her mental health. 

She also faces the issue of a stalker in the shadows who only sees an idolized version of herself, creating an unhealthy bond and what we call nowadays a parasocial relationship. 

At the time this film was released it was more applicable to celebrities who had to balance between a personal life and what they show to the public, but with growing access to the internet everyone can be a microcelebrity in some way. Everyone can be both the audience watching others and the performer putting on a display. 

By 2020 there was around a total of 50 million people who considered themselves creators producing content intended for widespread public consumption according to SignalFire, a venture capital firm. 

This includes Instagram influencers posing with product placements to Youtube gamers pumping out Minecraft tutorials, but I want to focus on one of the most documented people online, Christine Weston Chandler, a.k.a. Chris-Chan.  

A quick background on her is that she is a YouTube vlogger and creator of this web comic called Sonichu. Since late 2007, Chandler was a target for bullying by Encyclopedia Dramatica, 4chan and Kiwi Farms who mocked her artwork and online behavior. 

This bullying ranged from people catfishing Chandler by pretending to be online girlfriends to someone parading around as Chandler by calling himself Liquid Chris. 

Last year in July, Chandler popped back into the spotlight after an audio recording was released that allegedly involved her committing a crime in which I will not get into. 

If you want to know further, there is a 59-part documentary on YouTube of the entire history of the history of Chandler by user GenoSamuel2.1, each part around 40 minutes in length.  

The internet is a cesspool of information that I get lost in way too often, but those that upload so much of their personal lives that they now serve as a cautionary tale for the dangers of the internet sometimes make me want to log off forever. 

With all this chaos that has piled up over the years we can take a step back and look at what we chose to upload online. How open are we and are we being too open with what we post? 

Theo Edwards is a junior psychology major. They can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]