I’ve been coming back to the idea of the digital self over and over recently, in particular how we portray ourselves online.
Over the last few months I’ve had the pleasure of meeting dozens of successful bloggers in person, and I’ve always been surprised at just how similar they are to their digital selves — the them that exists online in the cloud, the one that you see when you check their blogs, Twitter, etc. A digital self is self-perpetuating and lives independently of your own physical body.
Perhaps transparency and the success of a digital self go hand-in-hand? If you’re able to communicate your true nature online, you will be able to reach deeper into everyone else’s souls across the ether in order to stir up some real feelings.
We can tell if you’re holding something back from us. I don’t think everyone can, but we can. The ones of us who were raised by the Internet. Neck-deep in the cybersystem every night searching for the next answer, or letting the next answer search for us.
This is why I always find the time Lex Garey’s work. When she writes a post, I know it’s coming from her and not some artificial sense of what she wants you to think she is.
Being on the Internet gives you an opportunity to shape-shift into anyone you want. Maybe you’ll choose a cute little humanoid-kitten avatar, instead of your true face. However, this choice comes at a cost.
When you choose to hide your true nature, whether you’re going to some artificial extreme or you’re simply pretending to be part of the status quo, we sense the disconnect.
We’re still humans using the Internet, and we use it to connect with other humans. We can read between lines. We’re not going to feel the same way about your WoW Avatar as we do about your beautiful human face.
We think we have a choice about how much we share, and we do. Life is lived in high-bandwidth, but we make decisions about everything we funnel out into the net (for now, that will change when the bandwidth gets wide and free enough for complete life-casting.)
So, I can choose to show you a picture of my abs five minutes after I woke up this morning. Or, I could have decided to show you a picture of my shoes.
Which do you connect with most? Which builds a more compelling story of who I am to you?
..and more importantly, how can you bring more of your true nature out onto the Net? It might just be what the world needs.