Ahhh, the Internet - our daily masquerade ball.
At its advent, the Internet was a platform for the anonymous and the wild. Now, anonymity is really hard to achieve thanks to social media. We live a large part of our lives online. We communicate with friends/family/strangers/celebrities online, we use the Internet as an online soap box, we find jobs online and we discover new information online.
Because of the variety of ways we use the Internet and the permanency of every.little.thing you post, we’ve learned to divide our personality and only show certain parts of it to limited segments of online audiences. We’ve become very cautious of our online presence.
I know I have edited myself and thought twice before posting because of the image I need to portray in order to remain marketable for a broad range of jobs and … well, other reasons.
In professional online personas, we value transparency, honesty, intelligence and integrity. Sometimes our personal lives (think of all the dumb stunts you did in high school or college) are at complete odds with our professional selves. Other times, our own personal values and ideals may cost us our current jobs or the job we are currently looking for.
Personal online personas are often saved for close friends, certain acquaintances and family. However, does this sterilize our professional profiles too much? Are we creating pro-bots? There has to be a balance — but how?
Should we maintain three Facebook profiles, three Twitter handles, three separate blogs and three FourSquare profiles? Sounds exhausting and confusing to me. Google+, Google’s new online sharing platform, strives to be the solution to this conundrum by introducing circles and a lots and lots of sharing options. Still, Google+ is only one social networking website.
How, if at all, do you draw the line between your professional, personal and anonymous online personas? Also, have you edited your online self?