online vs. offline personas

Eleanor Snare (@ebsnare) , in her blog post Online vs Personal Self looked at the question of what do you hide or embellish online, if anything. The question arose as the subject for this week’s lifestyle bloggers (#lbloggers) chat. Sounds interesting, I thought.

She raises some excellent points, and it’s something which I’ve thought about a few times over the years. Is my online persona different from the real-life me?

Yes and no.

Online gives you more of a chance to edit yourself, and present your version of events in a manner which you control. Rather than being put on the spot when someone asks you a question, you’ve got a chance to sit back, pause for a moment (or an hour, day, week) before responding. Or you’ve got time to write a blog post then go back through and tidy up your thoughts before posting.

Yes, I do do that. Think about what I’m posting. Mostly. Some days I just let the thoughts fall out of my head via my fingers into a text editor and post it up.

Really must stop doing that.

Anyway, onto the question of whether I hide or embellish my online persona. I don’t think I ‘hide’ anything particularly (other than the fact that actually I’m an 83 year old truck driver from Wisconsin[1]), it’s more that I choose what things I talk about in a positive choice sort of way, rather than hiding stuff from anyone.

Apart from the Wisconsinite thing, obviously.

I choose to talk about things which interest me. They may not interest you, or indeed anyone else, but I’ll talk about them anyway. I often thing that blogging is a form of free psychiatric help – rather than pay someone to sit and talk to, I can witter on here to my heart’s content. If someone replies, that’s fine, and we can have a chat about the relative merits of Skyfall, or what Oscar-winning films we’ve seen, but if no-one does, then at least I’ve got the words out of my head.

This is getting a little long, so I’ll leave it there. But I’ll throw the question over to you – do you hide or embellish your online persona? Are you also an elderly truck driver from Wisconsin? Stop by and say hello!

[1] Obviously I’m not really an 83 year old truck driver from Wisconsin[2]
[2] I’m from Idaho, and a youthful 78

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

9 thoughts on “online vs. offline personas”

  1. If you were really from Wisconsin or Idaho, I’d be super pissed that you hadn’t yet dropped by Minnesota to say hello.

  2. I keep my family back home private from my alter ego for two reasons.

    One is because it gives me a bit of privacy. I have Facebook with all my family on so I can share with them what I like.

    Also my alter ego is the one who speaks out about my depression and anxiety in very honest ways. Something I find easier to do using that name.

    Although the line has blurred a lot between the two personas I like to think its blurred in the direction of online people knowing both sides of me.

    1. I know a few people who keep up multiple online personas, for a variety of reasons. I’m not sure I could ever keep them all straight in my head, so am just me! 🙂

  3. I am different online for a variety of reasons. The ability to thought-freefall-filter is one of them. No-one likes to come accross like a labrador on speed.

    The privacy aspect of an online persona has gnawed me recently, which is possibly why I don’t post too much on LJ, refuse to be on FB but Instagram is fine. I think talking in pictures is a meeting point – pics say something that I want to say, but to a point. I don’t have to filter the deluge in quite the same way.

    The rest is up to the viewer, and I like the fact that the line is drawn FOR me in that sense.

    1. I miss the good old days of LJ – it was almost perfect in that you could filter posts to friends-only or subsets, or (as I mostly did) post them all publicly. Facebook drives me scatty, but there are some people on there who are *only* on there and who I want to keep in touch with.

  4. I’m very unfiltered on LJ and tend to use it now as a mix of personal record and therapy, which probably doesn’t give the most balanced impression of me! Shape Of Things is very much a specific voice, as it’s linked to my professional identity and I’m writing for defined purposes. Twitter is Shape Of Things me with a dash of frivolity and personableness thrown in, I guess because I know some people there as friends and others as professional / sustainability contacts.

    FB? I haven’t really figured that out yet. I joined because a committee I’m on uses it to keep in touch. I’ve added a forum for the Blog there which is more my professional voice. I also use FB to keep up with my host family & friends in Latin America as well as my buddies here. *scratches head* I suspect I sound a little schizophrenic if you read all the posts! I mean, science journal article – hiking photo – random post in spanish – political article – taiko post – silly joke – WTF? But then, I am a conglomeration of all these things.


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