Who are you? Who? Who? Who? Who?
Yesterday it came up that one of my friends said that I am pretty much the same on-line as I am in person. I asked a couple more people I know, because I have been “on line” since my first e-mail account in 1985, and it’s something that has always knocked around in my head.
When I first started up a webpage in 1999, I created an exaggerated version of myself as the “writer” on the webpage. I’d been doing the Weekly News Update news parody for a few years, and had created the persona of a hard drinking cynic who despised humanity that was how I was at the time turned up to 25. It was odd in that people who dealt with me in person did searches for me and then would bring it up.
Try to explain to your son’s friend’s mom that the piece you wrote mocking “mission statements” where you say your drinking is more important to you than you job or family is a joke without feeling like an asshole. I dare you.
But when it came to person stuff like in e-mail, chat and the like, I tried to do a good job of presenting myself “as is”. Too many times, people puff themselves up, make themselves seem more important than they are, or just flat out lie, even when it is in personal conversations. I’m not talking in the whole “dating website” thing where people lie about their age, their job, their physical activity, etc… I mean when you just chat with someone.
People try to put their best self forward, even if the shoes doesn’t quite fit any more.
I do the opposite, I think. In my podcast with Joe, Kray Z Comics and Stories, I turn myself up to 11, mock myself (The Solitaire Rose Compound type of joke), but I don’t make up stuff about myself, or make myself into more than I am. Hell, if anything I downplay myself because it’s about the content, not making myself famous.
On Facebook, I try to be funny, sometimes thoughtful and always honest. Probably too honest. I discuss my emotional swings, generalized anxiety disorder, feeling alone in a world with 7 billion humans, how I work too much, what I get excited about, and how I am a contradictory mix of hope and dread.
Am I the same person on line? As others have said, I’m much more gregarious and open on line. When I meet people, I tend to wait until I feel safe before opening up because I’m guarded. One person messaged me that I am a LOT quieter in person which I agree with.
The Boy said: You’re a snarky asshole for justice. I decided to lay down the snarkiness and cynicism in 1999, but I guess I have a LOT to work on with that.
A local comics creator said that I was a bit intimidating, which I have heard from time to time, which amazes me, as I see myself as a doofus. I used to be told that when I worked in Juvenile Justice as well, so I need to work on being more approachable.
But I try to be on line who I am in person. Hopefully, I succeed, and those of you whom I messaged and asked to fill me in on it, I really wish you would. As I try to do better in my quest to Love Everybody and Make ‘em Feel Good About themselves, I am really looking for honest feedback. Last year messed with my head in more ways that I knew at the time and any feedback is good feedback.
Much love to those who know me and haven’t run away screaming and I hope you feel secure enough to be yourself, because you are accepted and you are enough.