November 18, 2010

Who Are You?

I usually hate when people announce that they're going to stop blogging, or that they're going to leave Facebook or that they're getting rid of their television. It's not that people announce such things, it's the fact that these announcements are usually accompanied by some sort of implied argument that we all should do the same. This post was different.

Anne Jackson quit her blog in order to be more free to simply be herself.  Not a blogger.  Not an author.  Not a speaker.  She wants to be person who just happens to be those other things.  I applaud that decision.

I think that now more than ever it's important to stay true to who you are in a world that's filled with people who create online personalities that are totally different than who they are in real life. Some people take on a professional tone and only post or write about one subject, or topic. Other people drift away from who they are by posting things online that are contrary to the things they say to the people who are actually around them in person.  It takes effort to persist in being yourself.

To Those Prone to Focus More on What Do than Who They Are:

Most personal branding experts suggest that people take one aspect of who they are and then create an online or public “voice” that is consistent throughout everything they say or write publicly. I understand why people think this is a good business strategy. You write in a way that is conducive to developing business relationships and you make people aware of your products, skill set and specialties through the things you post. If your account is your business this is fine. 

But I think this approach creates a problem when it's your personal account. At some point you begin to mute or de-emphasize some part of who you are—all out of a fear that people will be offended or disinterested in some way about some aspect of what makes you who you are. A fear that the WHOLE you won't be accepted or understood. A fear that being YOU will be bad for business.  But we have to BE more than just what we DO.

To Those Who Have a Real You and an Online You:

We've all probably heard of cases of people getting in trouble with their employers because of things that they've said online.  People post things that they would never want their employers to read.  What's the point of posting something on a global platform (the internet) that you wouldn't say to those in your immediate vicinity.

Look, we've all thought things that we wouldn't want people to know. And we've all said things that we wouldn't want everybody to hear—I think we should feel bad when we find ourselves in these situations. To me, the issue is not simply what people say, it's that the internet has helped people to become so comfortable with consistently and boldly saying things that they KNOW they would never say in person. People will post blogs, tweets and Facebook statuses as long as the people who they're referring to can't see it.  If you want to say or write something, be ok with WHOEVER hears it or reads it.  Otherwise, just keep it in your head.

As technology continues to develop, I think it will be more and more difficult to have a distinction between our public and private lives. We can already start to see that with politics and celebrity.  I'm still learning how to just be ME--however people may feel about that.

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LaNeshe said...

I like to use my blog as a way to keep myself in check. If I put it out there on the blogosphere, then I have to stick to whatever life lesson I am encouraging others to stick to.

Trevor said...

Yeah, I can relate to you on that

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