Our Online Edited Selves.

The concept of an online alter ego is definitely an interesting thought. Lets all take a minute and be serious with ourselves…

How many of your Twitter followers have you met in real life, but still refer to them as “friends” in other conversation?

How many people on your Facebook have to ACTUALLY messaged in the last year, let alone ever talked to face-to-face?

For many people Facebook is merely a place to show off, and to judge people you’re supposedly “friends” with. Between posting pictures of that party last night where you had a great time (but only the ones where your smile isn’t too drunk looking, or your hair isn’t out of place) and updating statuses that let people know your inner thoughts (in an attempt to be witty), how much of the information you post is the real you?

I know that when thinking about my own personal social networking, I’m very careful about what I post and where. My Facebook is limited to family and close friends, where I feel more comfortable posting personal pictures and such. However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t only post pictures that only I like, or proofread and reword my status updates to sound more intelligent. It’s the same with twitter and this blog I’m in the midst of writing. Everyone, myself included, wants to feel a sense of belonging, and fear ridicule. Its only human nature. So when we tweet a comment and accidentally spell a word wrong, or even find our smartphone autocorrected a word to be something completely different than we intended, we edit it immediately so not to be called out on it.

So when asked questions such as “Is the presentation of self and the online persona the same?”, I’d have to answer with a loud and resounding NO! In face-to-face conversation we cannot just stop, backspace the memory we imprinted on the mind of the person we’re conversing with, and edit our words. Once things are said, they can’t be taken back. By having the option to edit our online selves, it allows us to sound smarter and (in some cases) be funnier or quirkier. The concept of being able to edit our words online influences the way we are perceived in both a public and private sphere. We all are capable of managing our online personas to how we want to be viewed, and who we want to view us. So why not pay closer attention to the details?

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