This is a topic I've visited many times over the life of my journal, in a lot of ways - that returning question of 'who am I on the Internet?'
Internet Me is not the complete me, of course. There are certain topics that Ladies Do Not Blog About, and there are sides of me that only Jake will ever see. I stay away from controversy, because, despite livejournal's promise of All Drama, All the Time, I'm not that interested in it. I refrain from mentioning that I support a lot of conservative politics (though surely not all), own and shoot guns, wear fur and think that would-be parents should be required to pass basic intelligence tests before procreating.
I could incite a lot of controversial chatter, because I do tend to have some controversial opinions, but that's not 'Internet Me.'
Internet Me is quietly energetic and polite, always diplomatic, and tries not to be overly whiny. This is not so much to protect the sensibilities of my friendslist, because you're all grown up people with a perfect right to your own opinions.
No, it's not my friendslist that keeps me housebroken - it's my sense of right and wrong. Stirring up drama would, ironically, be a very fast route to my own personal goals. It would gain me attention, and I've already found that that I can be convincing and sound righteous in writing. I have enough gory gossip to fuel my friendslist on drama for months.
It's not that I don't want to share these things, either - I frequently find myself hoovering over my keyboard trying to figure out how best to release a juicy tidbit, how to make that spark of an entry to set off a flamewar, or how best to tantalize folks with the knowledge that I know something they don't, tempted beyond words to show them the crack in that popular site that could let them know something they shouldn't...
But I don't. (Usually.)
I report the crack to the site admins, keep the gossip to myself and word the opinions inoffensively.
In the end, I try really hard not to say and do things that cause drama. It's unhealthy. It's shallow and obsessive. And I want to get the places I'm going the right way, not the 'easy' way.
I want to look back at my journal when I'm done with it and be happy about the person you might see there. I want to read my entries and feel proud of myself. That's what keeps me in line, not my friendslist, or the potential readers of my blog.
I am a far greater critic of myself than any of you could ever be.