Growing up, I had two very distinct sets of friends: one from my neighborhood and one from school. These friends didn’t really know each other and, as I grew older, it became harder and harder to balance my time between the two. One Saturday in 7th grade, I was hanging out with my friends from school, but planning on leaving them that evening to see my other friends. They kept pestering me about why I was ditching them, so I eventually said what would turn out to be a very fateful line: “you guys don’t even know part of me, I have a whole different life.” For the rest of that day, and pretty much all the way through high school, I was mocked for saying something so stupid. And, while it was all in good fun, there was still the underlying implication that such an idea was inherently idiotic.
Looking back, I must admit that I think I was completely right. These two distinct sets of people had different customs, jokes, gossip, slang, etc etc. And, while at the heart I was the same person in both, in a lot of ways I was really different: I thought different things, had different conversations, and developed two separate personalities.
Today, those two groups, and personalities, have faded together, but I’ve seen my persona split in different ways. After a brief self analysis, I focused in on the three primary spaces I operate in: a social sphere, a technology/startup sphere, and an athletic sphere. In each, just like in middle school, there are different customs, jokes, gossip, slang, etc etc. And, in each, I project a different personality, which doesn’t often get shown in the others. Unsurprisingly, you can see these separate identities in my online presence: on Twitter, I primarily discuss technology, startups, and what I’ve been up as a professional. On Facebook, I joke with friends, post stupid comments, and do things that might be a little unsightly. And, in the soccer email chain we have…we’ll I won’t go into that. I don’t talk tech on Facebook (usually) and certainly never with the soccer team. Yes, there is some overlap, but not very much.
Spot on. I’ve been articulating this for some time now; my online personality in this part of the blogosphere is different from that elsewhere, and that is different from what I express amongst my church brethren, which is yet again different from that expressed amongst my closest friends, which in turn is different from what I express with my family, and so on. There’s overlap, but there are differences, too.