My brother and one of his colleagues have been having a discussion about handling online “identities” or “personalities.” I really enjoyed my brother’s comments about being the same person but serving different roles, or functions, in our various online locations. He had a great analogy comparing our various roles with the clothes we wear. I chose to add my two cents worth to his comment thread, and decided to share my thoughts here:
Interesting. Chris and I have talked about this before, and there are many echoes here of past conversations.
I too like the idea of work clothes, and honestly, one could extend it to include different work clothes for different tasks. Or, from my background, different uniforms. There was the BDU (cammies) for more utility or warfighting activities, the “blues” for office work, and of course, the service dress for formal functions. But I continue perhaps too far down this path…
I have three blogs/web presences. I have a “professional” service one where I am focused on Supply Chain and Logistics issues. That is the main address, and the one I even use for my (non-Penn State) email. You can see that at http://sctoday.net . I then have a more “catch all” blog (the first one I ever had, actually) where I put my more broad thinking posts. Politics. Tech. Recipes for Crepes. It’s all there at http://theprofessornotes.com and then finally, I have the one I do with my son, where we focus more on the things in our lives together (and mostly focused on him. That’s aptly named “http://fathersonchats.com” because we were originally not only blogging but podcasting as well.
My approach was not so much to have separate “identities” but rather to have venues that were appropriate for the topics at hand. In part I was thinking about the audience. The readers/listeners at the more professional site would have little interest in my personal life. And we found that people listening/reading at the Father and Sons Chat were interested in those activities, and not some of my other ramblings. That said, my Professor Notes does serve the role as “catch all” and in that blog I am less concerned with my audience than I am with just sharing “thoughts.”
That said, I have felt that, regardless of my “online attire” it was never appropriate to be “in my PJs.” For me, that meant I protected the identity of my kids (perhaps overly so) until they were old enough to be part of that decision–and I erred on the side of over protective. For a long time, we would mention our first names, but when we were just running our two blogs I kept our last name unmentioned. (Not ‘hidden’ just not shared.) I have generally moderated my posts at all sites. I have at times written posts where the ideas might offend or challenge, but I have worked hard to not write anything that would cause one to ignore the message because of the words. Sometimes I have failed, but maintaining public decorum has always been a concern. Anyway, my thoughts.
So there you have it. Go check out the post on Chris’ blog, and read the other comments as well.