Being Real 2.0
When I first started this blog (at the end of 2007), I posted the (creatively and originally titled) post: “My Views on Social Networking“.
“On a large scale, social networking truly fulfills the role that our old (read: non-virtual) communities used to prove. This has sorely been lacking for most of us. Now we are only several connections away from others, only a few friends away from a new friend. Here we offer assistance to each other and ask for help. We are kept posted of occurrences within our social circle, to what are friends are doing or concerned about, today. Of what events they are attending. Here the town crier is Facebook, shouting out to us about the many parties we can attend, things we can do. As a “Wired” article summed-up the phenomenon that is Twitter: “That tactile sense of your community is simply too much fun, too useful” (Clive Thompson, “How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense”).
That this evolution has also tremendously affected how we communicate with each other online, even in a business context, is clear by this point. And it has changed how much of ourselves we display to others, even if we have a possible business agenda to our online presence.
In February I moderated the very cool panel discussion about who you are online (photo here ). All the women on the panel (Jenn Lowther, Rebecca Bollwitt, Linda Bustos and Nadia Nascimento) were web savvy (understatement), and, as such, had a strong awareness of the public nature of communicating online. They were very strategic about their line between public and private, establishing those boundaries and the nature of how they presented themselves. That said, what we were comfortable posting about was quite varied.
This morning, I was talking to my boyfriend about Twitter and remarked that he’s been online for a few months, he has a clearer idea of how he wishes to communicate (or, to be artistic here, he understands his online “voice”). It’s something that I have to remember to make clear in an upcoming presentation, that this understanding of “who you are online – be it on Twitter, Facebook, a Blog etc. – does not come immediately. And it takes some playing around and trial and error for most to figure out what they are comfortable with and what works for them or their business or organization.
When I first started to blog, it was on my humor blog – and actually didn’t realize that that would be the theme of my blog. In fact, the first few posts were random essays and rants. I only discovered what I would be motivated to post about (i.e. absurdities) after a month or two.
There were also other discoveries – such as after a week or two on Twitter, I realized that I wasn’t too keen on posting about what I was doing- and made the executive decision that no one would be the least bit interested. Like most, I am not exciting 24hrs a day. Sure, 5-7 times a day, I’m entertaining. And if that’s all I tweet, I’m golden. Posting more often, or potentially a log of everything I was doing, would break that illusion (e.g. 6am: “Working on the computer, as you can ascertain”, 8am: “Time to eat” 10am: “Still working on the computer, now at a coffee shop”, 6pm “Time to eat 7pm: “Back to working on computer again”).
So my succinct advice about authenticity online would be: “be real, but like, better.”