I have been on Twitter and blogging continuously for a little more than a year now. In comparing my online life to my real life, it means that I have just really learned how to walk. Additionally, it means I still take naps, don’t fully understand the consequences of my actions, may occasionally use my potty mouth, and word vomit on a regular basis. To demonstrate that I am actually capable of writing a post without some deep and hurtful introspection, today’s post is about the best way to represent your authentic self even after (accidentally) creating an online persona.
These are the five lessons I have learned:
1) Choose wisely. If you did not initially use your real name, you will have to learn to answer to the one you made up. If it was a name close to your own name, you’re in luck. If not, then hopefully it did not have the words “sexy”, “kitten” or “douche” in it.
2) Don’t lie. Sometimes tweets and status updates stay in timelines for a while. Remembering a lie is SO much harder than remembering something true. If someone asks you days later about the safari you say you went on, you will be able to describe with relative accuracy even the tiniest hairs on the ass of the elephant that trekked you through your tour.
3) Don’t let people hurt your feelings. It’s easy to translate online backlash into real feelings, but there isn’t much difference between hate in an online community and hate in real life. It won’t bother you if you don’t let it. While it’s tempting to react, remember that you didn’t use your name anyway, so they hate someone who isn’t real. The joke is really on them. Fools.
4) Share truth. While this looks very close to my advice not to lie, it’s not actually the same thing. My everyday truth is my commitment to being an authentic mother, daughter, sister, wife, and friend. I said authentic…not perfect. Sometimes that truth is mixed in with me at my weakest, demonstrating how unloveable, impatient, and intolerable I can be. It’s the good and the bad in my life, and not just the things I want people to know. How interesting would I really be if I talked about farting sunshine all day?
5) Live your life. I’m online almost all day long. This isn’t because I don’t have a life or don’t appreciate the everyday things going on around me. It’s simply how I live. It’s where I work, it’s where I play, it’s where I find the answers to all life’s toughest questions. If I’m not online, there is usually a reason. But in between the moments of chaos and the solutions that help me find my way, I’m still living my life. Tweeting about it doesn’t make it less fantastic…it just makes it way funnier.