My idea for my post today came from the fabulous girls at the “That’s Normal” blog. One of their 20-something writers is struggling with the fun, silly identity she created online bleeding into the new, serious work identity she is just starting on.
Although I am far from the beginning of my career, I can feel her pain. Online identity management is new to all of us. The only benefit of being closer to 50 than 20 is that there is very little video and photo evidence of all the less-than-stellar moments from my youth. It is very unlikely that anyone from my real job will stumble upon a picture of me at my first college kegger.
When I started blogging I wanted to keep my personal life as separate as possible from the information I put out for the general public. Little by little, the line of separation has blurred. I have posted pictures of myself, noted my children’s names and noted what city I live in. I don’t feel like any of these choices were mistakes, but I am glad I eased into them slowly and took the time to think through each choice.
As I am working on bringing my book to the public, the situation becomes even more muddled. I want as many people as possible to know about my book. That is generally the best way for more people to buy and hopefully love it. As an author, I am looking at creating a web page and profiles about myself on Amazon, Goodreads and a few other very public places. I am consciously putting myself out there, on the internet, full force. I want these profiles and web pages to be far-reaching and last a long time, so I want to carefully consider what information I put in them.
|My editing photo: shared on Twitter and FB. Safe or too safe?|
That said, there is nothing more dull and uninspiring than someone who is introducing themselves by giving only the most basic statistical information. Writing is very personal, blogging is very personal. If you want to be successful, you have to let your readers get to know you. They question is, how much do I or should I share?
As I write this, I got an email from Target letting me know that hacking thieves may have stolen my name, address and e-mail address while they were pilfering my credit card info.
There are clearly those I want to share my world with, and those I do not. Unfortunately, the internet does not let me discriminate.
I have no easy answer, only a note to my readers that whether you are 20 or 50, internet identity management is new to all of us. Mistakes will be made. Hopefully I will not have too many face-plant moments where I regret not thinking things through. Hopefully my sorority sisters will hold back on posting too many of my completely un-professional moments from college on flashback Thursdays. Hopefully, I will hold back from posting too many of my own kids’ totally cute and totally embarrassing moments, in deference to their internet identities.