It is really good to read everyone's responses to this question! Such great responses
A common thread I am picking up among the various perspectives is that context is important and that the Internet is just a separate context among many that one can find themselves (in a cafe, at home, on a vacation, online, with one person, with many people, with mean people, with nice people, etc.).
The more I think about it (I've been thinking about and discussing this a lot lately), I think my biggest challenge online is understanding the context enough to understand and interact with a known audience. In my offline life, successful communication relies heavily on my ability to pick up cues and other relevant information from the person(s) I am communicating with and the space I am in. This means who I am truly (in a way @Nicholson described) changes and appears different in different contexts and necessarily relies on the "other". For me, the Internet starts off as a vague nothingness which offers no cues to interact with in this way.
This forum, however, is slowly creating a vision of real people (because it is awesome) in my mind so it is beginning to feel like I can actually interact in a real and meaningful way.
Now this really got me thinking! Given that I just moved away from musical friends and bandmates, I have realized that my personal motivation in creating music is very similar to my explanation of communication and interaction in that context is vital to the process. I have no interest in being famous (or do I?) but making music in front of an audience or with another person is significantly more satisfying to me than making music alone because it provides an interesting context with a real time and place. I think it is a similar case with connecting online. Posting anonymously feels like writing little books alone to be published and maybe read by unknown people. That being said, some people (many of you) make beautiful recordings by themselves in their bedroom to be published later and maybe heard by unknown people. I am not that person...Does this resonate with anyone?