There’s this large trend – I think the next trend in the Web, sort of Web 2.0 – which is to have users really express, offer, and market their own content, their own persona, their identity.
– John Doerr
I started wondering today if I would know online me if I ran into him.
My G11 kids and I were discussing this piece by Dan Schwabel at Forbes arguing the usurpation of the resumé by a person’s online presence in the next 10 years.
While I’m hesitant to venture any guesses of what my world will look like in 10 years, something Schwabel wrote got me thinking:
Employers are reviewing your profiles to see what kind of person you are outside of work, who you’re connected to, and how you present yourself. Each gives clues to how well you can fit into the corporate culture. When employees don’t fit in the culture, there is turnover, and it costs the organization thousands of dollars.
I get that this fits with the big, scary warning that whatever is posted on the Internet stays on the Internet. Today, I started thinking about it in reverse.
I pay so much attention to keeping the spaces of my life online professional, I worry the persona I’ve created might have become better than the person I am.
The person online spaces allow me to be doesn’t get cranky midday if he forgets to eat.
A friend asked me to take care of something time sensitive today. It was probably the fourth time she’s asked me to take care of it, but for about a billion subconscious reasons, I’d put it off until the last minute.
Online me would never pull that crap.
Right now, at this very moment, online me could get ahold of people I’ve never met across multiple countries, set up appointments with them and collaborate on projects that will make my classroom a better place.
I, on the other hand, can get ahold of my dog right now as I sit watching episodes of Eureka on Netflix Watch Instantly (a service online me set up).
Online me hasn’t been purposely constructed with an eye toward besting me in a side-by-side comparison. He’s just had the benefit of being more thoughtfully constructed.
My friends know that online me is constantly connected to his students, so some of the more off-color jokes or embarrassing moments from my life don’t make it onto online me’s Facebook wall. Online me shrugs at my deepest moments of anger, hurt and self-doubt. Unbothered by the possibility of a future, online me never struggles with the question of “What next?” The man is saintly contented.
He sort of makes me sick.
Born of the knowledge that whatever is posted to the Internet stays on the Internet, my online persona is more a reflection of who I want to be in the world than who I am. This is great news for employment opportunities, but more than a little disconcerting for me.