Meeting, dating, chatting, it's all happening online; in fact, some are even creating their very own fantasy land. According to experts, "fantasy" or "fantasizing" is all part of human nature but what happens when it goes too far?
"My username is Aniston2013," said Tracie Bein.
Another party goer adds, "Well, I chose Eddie Munster because when I use to have hair." It's all in good fun, maybe a little role playing at Patio Bar in downtown Houston. The rules of the game are posted and all these singles had to do was bring their cell phones and alter egos.
"We have Superman tonight , Iron Man and yes, whatever you relate to and I think it shows a little bit of quirkiness or ya know, your sense of personality," said Jennifer Huthmacher , the founder of Houston Social Source. She's the real person who came up with the idea of a "texting party" before adding a twist or "capes" in this case.
"It's kind of fun to be someone else for the rest of the night and we didn't want anyone's personal information getting out" said Huthmacher. That's where the usernames, superheroes, and celebrities come into play this is a controlled chat room singles are on and also considered light hearted fun. But is it possible to get carried away in the not so controlled cyberworld?
Allow me to introduce "Sophia Foxy Jones." I created her on a site called "Second Life" and designed my very own avatar that includes choosing certain facial features and body type. I based my decision on what would be considered the complete opposite of myself.
"He's 20 years old, I'm 21 for today," I told an online chatter.
It's not the truth, but we're all guilty of "fantasizing," whether it's about your age or looks, in the virtual world you are at the controls. Many have taken to websites other than Facebook and Twitter to express that on sites like EVE Online and Second Life, where it appears the user can create just about anything and give you just as it says, "a second life."
"This is not a substitute for real life, and if your using this as a way to occupy vast amounts of time and avoiding getting out in the real world, I think that's a danger," says Dr. John Vincent, professor of psychology at the University of Houston.
Often times, Dr. Vincent says, the average user on any site or chat room are in the right state of mind to avoid blurring that connection of virtual versus reality. But those most vulnerable are kids who can lose themselves in the online world or adults avoiding certain realities. The bigger concern though is how much time you actually spend logged onto the web.
"I think it's an extension of what people have done forever which is fantasizing about being a different person, fantasizing about some qualities or attributes they wish they had and so this is a virtual attempt to create that kind of persona."
Some even invest in this kind of lifestyle. When I created Sophia, it was free but the more risque or detailed you make your avatar, the more "credits" you need. This can add up pretty quick depending on your personal plan, which we've all seen can turn into what some call "catfishing." Remember Manti Te'o?
"Whether it's an avatar or some kind of invented persona, I think very often the reality of meeting somebody and what you thought they were based on online interactions is very different often disappointingly different."
Unless of course, it's all in good fun like those who voluntarily signed up for this texting online chat party. "There are people who are posing as different characters and I think that's a really good concept and exciting" said "the boy next door."
Alter egos aside though, the reveal turned out to be interesting. Many made new friends but all seem to be embracing this new world where both cyber and reality collide.
"You can't change your status on Facebook without consulting a lot of your friends, maybe even a few therapists. It's the world we live in," said Tania Rivas also known as "froglit."