I’ve been living comfortably in my online persona for some time now. I look back at my blog posts and have a sense of glee that I’ve made it to 35 posts. It only took me 3 years! As I scan the titles, I see some good academic work here. A good sense of my values coming through and the direction I would like to go with my professional digital life and education.
But as I look at this digital self through the lens of autobiographical theory it falls flat. While I have taken a few risks in sharing myself – my Week 5 reflection for ECI831 comes to mind (the punk-rock persona at the end) – I don’t feel as though I have shared my own personal struggles with finding meaning, like Jabiz did with his discussions of his father (see the pearl jam podcast), or like @cogdog did with sharing his mother’s stories. Or like Bonnie did when she shared the pain of losing a child.
Is my digital persona legit without sharing deeply personal stories of the struggle of life?
As I sit here this morning, it is tempting to immediately augment my digital presence with some lasting impression of my personal turmoil. A tell-all of falling in love while in Peru, or a revealing reflection on finding forgiveness with my father as he struggles with losing his voice due to cancer. Of course sharing these stories gives you an insight into who I am, but would the intimacy of our connection translate into the analogue world? Would I share these stories with you if we were in the same room?
See, the true conundrum of making this online self is that when I attend a tweetup or a conference, or even just find an afternoon to sit and play music, my analogue self becomes yoked to my digital representation of myself. And aren’t we all afraid of becoming the “non-professional” persona? allowing those cracks of real person to show through those suits that fit a little too tight… in ways, I keep a fine gloss over my asynchronous online persona.
But then there’s the synchronous world of #ds106radio, chat rooms and skype (as well as the nearly synchronous world of twitter) where I am myself in myself. I am present, and presenting as close to an unedited, authentic self as is possible (self-delusion aside). And as I look back, it is in these spaces where I have truly connected with people. These are the spaces where I can cry.
I’ve recently come to realize that life is just a waste of time – you just have to choose what you want to waste your time on! When we spend time – REAL TIME, you know that thing ticking away the seconds of your life (even as you read this!) – we create connections. There is no way to get around it. There is no substitute for time.
Thanks for spending some with me.