Your Online Perception: Who Are You Really?

You know the nuances of your personality better than others. You know that when you’re quiet and focused at work it doesn’t mean “Go away, I don’t like you!”. You know that when you exclaim with surprise “Huh! You look really nice today” to your wife it doesn’t mean you think that she normally looks terrible. But, what people hear or perceive is often different from real truth or intention. 

The old adage “Perception is reality” is probably more important than it ever has been before. As we live our life online we constantly create new relationships, build new networks of friends, and put our innermost thoughts out there.

If you’re reading this you’ve probably got an account on at least one of the main social media platforms, and you likely have many “friends”. With the proliferation of social apps your connections are continually categorizing, tagging, grouping and molding their perception of you based on three things:

What are you doing?

Where are you?

Who are you with?

We willingly answer these questions with status updates, check-ins, photos and interactions in the real world. We are building a highly visible outward perception of ourselves. There’s more data about you passing through the Internet than ever before. For some people this frightens them, they may join the revolution but they lock it down and try to control their outward persona. Others let it all show for everyone to see. 

The mobile web and location aware applications are further blending our online personas with our real world interactions and it’s chipping away at the wall that was online/offline personas. You have a good sense of the type of person you are (or are working to be) so maybe it’s time to follow some advice from songwriter Sting (real name Gordon Sumner, oh the irony) “Be yourself no matter what they say”.

If you’re not going to be yourself and be real, authentic and transparent then it will catch up with you. It seems to me it’s just easier and better for everyone to be true to yourself, what do you think?