It’s interesting to consider the things we do and don’t share on the internet.
A while ago, I was seeing a lot of blog posts from the writing/publishing community about building your “brand” online, your “author platform” (I wrote a couple myself), advice like “pick one or two topics you write about online only” but also “be yourself, be authentic!”
But if you’re doing it consciously or not, what you end up putting on the internet does establish a kind of “brand” of you. And most of us, especially in the days of Facebook privacy concerns and the like, are very conscious of what we choose to say and share online. Especially because so much of our social lives is now online, so what we share there ends up being how the majority of people see us.
Some people are very cautious about what they put online — they’ll never talk about their family, perhaps, or generally put forward a very professional front, perhaps filling their tweets and updates with personal observations but never personal details. Some are very tame, always PG — some are very explicit.
All of those choices probably have something to do with what that person is like in real life — somebody who isn’t very sexual in their day to day thoughts and conversations is going to be similarly tame online (unless online is where they can more anonymously let themselves loose).
I tend to be very conscious of what I post online. The majority of my online presence is directly tied to my professional life, and given that I hope to draw a lot of my living from an online audience, I try to be careful about defining that presence — not sterilizing it of an personal content, but I think putting forward a certain face. I kept Facebook for a time as the place I would be a little more myself, keeping it strictly for friends — and yet now I find myself actual friends with more and more of the people I meet professionally.
And yet I still use each medium online for different purposes — what I post to Facebook is not often the same as what I tweet, and my two blogs have very different content.
And as much as I am usually very much “myself” in what I post, and fairly candid — I don’t shy away from a lot of things — there is still a lot of stuff I never post about that others do. For instance, though it affects a lot fo what I do and write and how I think, I rarely talk about my love life (or lack thereof). I don’t even give a lot of details about my personal life when I do talk about it (partially for potential safety concerns).
I’m not the guy bitching about being dumped or publicly pining over people or whining about this or that. Partly because people I talk about are likely able to see those kinds of updates. Partially because that’s not who I am except with close friends anyway. Partially because I respect too much that there are real people following me and they don’t likely care to see my constant whining.
So I tend to post observations about the details of my personal life, rather than the details themselves. Which is pretty much what I do as a writer anyway — I write observations on life, based on experience, but with the details made up.
Anyway. This song makes me cry.
(if you live in the US, copyright issues will mean you’ll have to watch this version instead:)
This is part of a series of posts I’m writing every day of December until Christmas, musing on my 25 favourite Christmas songs. The first one is here.