Wednesday, May 13, 2009

online and offline identity

The rise of social media (is anyone tired of hearing those words?) has brought about change in the ways we interact: globally, professionally, personally…and just about every interaction you can slap “ly” on. The fact that social media is changing our daily interactions is undisputed. So much so that social networking sites such as Facebook,, flickr etc are creating brands of themselves (even real brands are copying them). The news is out, social networking is here to stay.

So what do we make of this? Naturally, we respond in kind. When Facebook opened its doors to all members of the public back in 2006, what was once used (and known) as a “college networking” site transformed overnight to a global social networking site. People from all backgrounds became a part of it, old friends reunited, mother’s chimed in, teachers signed up, your bosses added you. It opened the door for new friendships, embarrassing photos, & pointless but funny status updates (pre-twitter era). But it reached a point where people began thinking of privacy and perhaps thinking of how their offline identities were catching up with their online personas.

Today, most people are developing their online brands.
The question I ask is how we can stay true to ourselves without giving away too much. Twitter raises this concern for me, in particular. Facebook saw a rise of private profiles as more people migrated there. What about twitter? When people are free enough to give you up-to-the-minute status updates of their lives (or at least, the lives they chose to reveal) what happens when you find out that your future employer checked out your twitter page or your friends find out you follow Britney Spears? Get a nickname I say!

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