Are we the same person online and offline?

Heck no.

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I craft my online words to create an impression of me that I want you to see.  I want you to believe that I truly am the person in my tweets, my blog posts, my Facebook and LinkedIn profile.  But is is the real me?

I’m sure I’m a much nicer person online than I am offline.  I’m always cheerful online, helpful, friendly and kind.  I try to write warm witty and wise blog posts – with the emphasis on the warm.  I don’t want you to know when I’m having a bad day.

I don’t want you to know when I’m feeling vulnerable, scared, sad, lonely, insecure or down.  I want you to see ability,  stability, confidence, employability, hireability.

But is it healthy?

Forbes splits this ‘split personality’ behaviour straight down the middle.  Some women are truly authentic online,  such as Penelope Trunk who pours out her life on her blog.   Others are less authentic online. I probably fall into this camp.  I try to use Paretos 80:20 rule for my online activities.  I’m 80% authentic – keeping the 20% for face to face conversations with offline friends.

Some keep their professional lives totally separate from their personal musings on Facebook.  One of my good friends uses Facebook entirely for the business connections it brings her.  She knows she needs to have a Facebook profile, but she doesn’t update it at all, and yet she has thousands of Facebook Friends.

Some use Facebook to keep in touch with colleagues, some with close friends and family.  I’m still connected to lots of my ex Microsoft colleagues on Facebook.  some are friends, some mere acquaintances.  I mix my Facebook conversation from professional to personal musings.  My Facebook Page however, gets only the business relatedor book related updates. My Facebook profile gets the more honest updates.

But event these updates aren’t truly ‘authentic’

The updates are a nicer, better version of me  — the me, I’d like you to see.  The me, perhaps I’d truly like to be.

But are we sharing too much?

Perhaps we don’t want to know what our friends are reading using the frictionless sharing feature on Facebook.  Are we oversharing or peeking into private lives?  Some people think that they are chatting to just one friend when they post updates on Facebook and are not careful what they post.

Perhaps I’ll stick to outpourings of angst, anger and ire when I’m offline.  Where no one can hear my miserable ranting, emotional outbursts and weeping.

Would it make me a better person online if I shared more? Or would reading these ramblings only serve to reduce your opinion of me – or anyone else that overshares their life?

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: misteraitch

 

3 thoughts on “Are we the same person online and offline?

    1. eileenb Post author

      Mary,
      I totally agree🙂 don’t say anything that you wouldn’t want to have repeated back to you in a court of law…
      Much better talking to the dog anyway – no arguments🙂
      Thanks for the comment…

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