How to be yourself in 2010

This morning brings massive coverage of the launch of Path, an iPhone app that gives you social networking capability with your fifty closest friends.  Some writers are calling it the anti-social network, but Path is branding itself as a personal network.

The most intriguing line to me, though, comes from the Path's own blog post.

Because your personal network is limited to your 50 closest friends and family, you can always trust that you can post any moment, no matter how personal. Path is a place where you can be yourself.

A place where you can be yourself.

Maybe this means being able to share photographs of yourself in a hot tub on Path so you can refrain from doing so on Facebook, where potential employers might see you.  From what I understand, this is a major concern today.  Being able to share photos of yourself in full bacchanalian vigor without fear of reprisal or unemployment.  So I guess it might be a good thing that we now have a more contained space for doing that.

But.

I want to be the same person on Twitter that I am on LinkedIn that I am in my neighborhood that I am when working.  I might express myself a bit differently in each venue, but essentially, I'm me.  I think that should be the goal.

How to do that — to be one self online, in person, on the job and on the town?

  1. Practice the fine art of holding back.  Do you really have to share that photo or that thought?  Consider whether you are adding to a conversation or merely grandstanding.
  2. Share the thoughts and the pictures that portray the better side of yourself.  If you must share something negative or questionable, make sure it winds up making a positive point.  And watch out for sharing too much information, anywhere.
  3. Understand that you will, in all likelihood, mess up.  Be ready to acknowledge that and move on to the next opportunity.  And do the same for others.
  4. Listen and engage.  Think about what you are reading or seeing and how it might expand your thinking or your understanding of a situation.  Ask questions and converse.  This is one of the best things about online networks — expanding our circles, expanding our perspectives.
  5. Be consistent.  There are people with whom you don't have to hold back — but you should always be the same person.  Otherwise, you'll drive yourself crazy.

 

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