Yesterday I posted (well, re-posted, actually!) an entry from my first-ever (and now inactive) blog. It outlined three questions that I return to again and again, when considering my online identity.
1. What do my images say about me?
2. What am I saying about me? and
3. What am I not saying about me?
Well, that was a little over 18 months ago. So what has changed? How do I now view ‘success’ in creating and maintaining my online identity?
18 months ago, I was just starting out with online tools. Sure, GoodOldTalk.com had been up and running for a little over a year, and I had an inactive twitter account, and I had been on Facebook for a while, but that was about it. No flickr, no YouTube, and so on – and I didn’t even know that tools such as TweetDeck, HootSuite existed – let alone EverNote, Instagram, DropBox, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, etc etc etc.
Now however, I’ve been self-employed for a year. I’ve been running my own Marketing business, and not only have I seen the need to be in social media for Bloxham Marketing, but creating and maintaining social media accounts for my clients is an integral part of my business. Which has meant that I’m a lot more ‘out there’ than I ever have been.
This blog has also played a major part in the evolution of my opinion regarding my online identity. I started it Christmas 2010, using @fionawb‘s #blog12daysChristmas as an impetus. My PLN, formed for the most part by Librarians on twitter, was integral in maintaining this blog throughout its development, to what it is today. Through the relationships I now have with online friends, I have come to see that it’s probably okay to relax a little from that hard-liner stance I had, 18 months ago.
1. What do my images say about me? That’s been a toughy. I like to add an image to each of my blog entries, however when I want to write about my kids, and I don’t want to upload their images to the net, that’s a little problematic. So a few weeks back now, I dedicated a post to each, and included their photo (albeit, not a particularly identifiable one!) Plus, in my recent exploration of Pinterest, and its ability to easily embed (and attribute, of sorts!) into WordPress, that’s made my life a little easier. Now I feel as though I can show a little of who I am / what I like through the images I display – even though these images don’t necessarily have me in the frame or behind the camera.
2. What do I say about myself? Again, I’ve probably been more vulnerable than I had ever thought I would be. From entries about my gambling addiction (coming up to 20 years not being at a BlackJack table – as much as I still think about it more regularly than I’d like!) to my miscarriage, from my employment problems to my time in a cult, I’ve exposed quite a lot about myself… but then again, “my friends IRL know this stuff about me, and I’m comfortable sharing with them, so why not others?” is how I see it. Obviously, I keep my personal stuff on this blog, and my Bloxham Marketing blog is all about the work side of my life, however when I think of my online identity, I’m trying to reflect who I am as a person. As much as I’d like to cover up the yuk stuff, and pretend to be something I’m not, I have a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for too long, and then you, my dear readers, would see right through it – and then, where would I be?!
3. What do I NOT say about me? Again, this has changed, in the light of my being far more open online than I had expected I would be. I’m still wary of PII, however as a self-employed business owner, I need to be contactable by potential clients, so my contact details are accessible in what I feel are the appropriate places. And as for embarrassing myself with inappropriate photos / videos / stories? Yup – pretty much all of them are in the “not sayin’!! basket”!
So – this is me. What do you think? Agree? Or disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts…