Friday, June 26, 2009

Our Idealized Selves

My friends tell me that I’m much funnier in my blog than I am in real life. I wish I could disagree with them, but they’re kind of right. In real life, it’s usually the most obvious joke that pops to mind and unfortunately for those around me, I lack the impulse control not to say it. My cheesy sense of humor has become a thing of legend amongst my friends, who somehow still have the will to hang out with me.

On line though, I have control over what I say. As a writer I can fine tune what is said. Drinking a few beers before sitting down to the keyboard will yield even better results, though it makes typing a bit more challenging. I spend a lot of time editing and rewriting. I’ve probably taken five passes at this paragraph alone (so you can only imagine what my friends endure with “unfiltered DGB”). On line, I have the ability to be a slightly different version of myself.

These days, we live our lives on line. We blog. We tweet. We update our status. We present ourselves through words on a screen. But is the life we lead on line true? Or are we creating idealized versions of ourselves? My guess is that it’s the latter, which is why social media has become so prevalent. In these great big informational tubes, we project a carefully crafted image of ourselves for the world to see.

This being a parenting blog, logic dictates that the majority of us lurking about here have kids. If you think about it, having kids is similar to living on line. Stay with me on this. Kids, at least the young ones, idolize their parents. It doesn’t matter if the jokes are cheesy, or we burn the toast or we drop the ball during catch. Our kids, at least for a little while, see us as the idealized, perfect versions of ourselves. They think we are hilarious, great cooks and amazing athletes. They view us as the person we wish others would see.

Do you wear different personas in your life? If so, what are they and how are they different from your true self?

-DGB

22 comments:

Homer and Queen said...

I am what I am...just as pathetic in real life as on-line. Although I don't swear on-line so I guess I am nicer that way

ZenMom said...

I sometimes wonder if people who only "know" me online would really recognize the "real" me.

As I said yesterday, I think the "me" I present online is an honest representation. But it can't really be ... full. Can it?

The message is shaped - and limited - by the medium.

Because, as you pointed out, we have the opportunity to filter our online offerings in a way that doesn't really happen "live". Most of us are probably more like characters of ourselves online than portraits.

And the analogy to parenting? Spot on. Remember when your mom and dad were all-knowing and magical? And the slow process of realization that they were, after all, only human?

I hope it takes a while for my kids to realize that I am less than perfect. :)

But the rest of you can keep worshiping my online persona from afar. ;P

SciFi Dad said...

I stopped thinking about the different versions of myself when I realized two of them were arguing. Out loud.

Your escalator operator said...

I definitely write stuff online that I would say in real life - not much difference there. The big plus about the blog is being able to *edit out* whatever I want - *not* having to convey all of the stupid things I do/say/eat/watch. Well, you know, unless there's some humor to be derived from it.

ZenMom said...

SFD: Isn't that how you came to have your current online alias? ;)

dadshouse said...

I'm funnier in person than I am in my blog. I think because I toss out wry conversational one-liners.

I agree that online media allows us more control over what we reveal. Of course, you can lose control, and reveal way too much (ref: Mark Sanford http://dadshouseblog.com/2009/06/26/mark-sanford-eliot-spitzer-gavin-newsom/ )

But you can also only reveal what you want revealed. My blog is only the tip of the iceberg for me. I'm very aware of what I put out there, even when it's seemingly witless self-deprecation.

MindyMom said...

Very interesting post. I think the blog/FB/Twitter part of me is just that; a part. There's no way it could be the whole thing but I do think it's a fair representation of what I'm like IRL.

Obvioulsy I say things to my friends IRL that I'd never "put out there" and in many ways people have to read between the lines with my blog. The reader then can make many assumptions and of course, all are not accurate.

Amber said...

I'd like to think I'm just like i am online, but you'd have to meet me to make up your own opinion.

Athena said...

Ahh! I have met my doppelganger. My blog is co-written with other mamas and we answer alllllll your questions. So we have that in common.

I will have to check out the rest of your blog and see what else we share...

Irish Gumbo said...

It's all about editing. Blogging, tweeting, Facebooking...it is really taking "control of the input, so you master the output".

Social media is an extension of television, and the tendency of people these days to believe they don't exist un less they have been on TV or otherwise represented on some form of media.

Witness the number of knuckleheads mugging for the camera behind the local newsguy at any event, or hanging around outside the set of the Today show.

Some folks most assuredly use the electronic media to present an idelaized version of themselves, no surprise there.

When I started blogging, though, I made a promise to myself to never present anything that wasn't really me, and to never present anything I would truly regret later.

So far, so good. WYSIWYG, my friends.

Sadie said...

I'm kind of the opposite. I can put to words, effortlessly online, things I would likely pause to really think about before saying IRL. For the most part, what you see is what you get in person or online.

Sadly my daughter's at an age where she takes pleasure in making me feel like an idiot, but my son still thinks I'm cool and funny.

mutuelle said...

As a single person,I guess I have more chance to express ,blog and twit, not because I don't have kids,but because ,work is taking all my time...Anyway,I think there's a difference between to ideal ,for any reason,and to be professional,I learnt by being and struggling to be a professional one ,that with professionalism we "start to be closer to idealism" ...Maybe,I'm wrong ,but believe me ,it's what I'm feeling,...Let me know if you have different idea.

Barefoot Dreamer said...

I tend to be a different person in different situations in my life. But, I assume everyone does. Who doesn't act differently when visiting their great grandma at the nursing home then they do when they go out to the bar for the night. If I am around people from church I am different - and a group of moms vs a group of guys from work.

Same with online. I have two blogs, different parts of me are revealed on each.

All these parts though make up who I am. I could not write things online that didn't fit who I am. They are probably better thought out online because I can edit... but still, usually, as off the cuff and spontaneous as I am in real life..

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

OOOHHHHH good writing DGB!!! I however am the same online that I am in person.

Depending who I am talking to I can adjust myself to what is appropriate for them... but I am not a idolized version of myself.

Although, I have a hard time making up things to make myself seem better... like Queen, I'm just as pathetic online as I am in person! :)

But it's true with my kids... they think I'm perfect and I'm really scared for the day they find out that I'm not!!!

Susan said...

What you see is what you get here... but years ago I'd say it was a big facade... being in a horrid miserable marriage in an attempt to present happiness to my two little ones.

These days, remarried to someone I can be 100% honest with and who along with me puts family first doesn't hide behind house size, car make or job titles my children, friends and anyone else gets what they see.

However, sometimes for those that may not know me and read my blog don't get the "real picture"... my sarcasm and humor may sometimes come across as "uneducated" or "ignorant".

But for me, that's ok. Because honestly, for those that aren't close to my life and my family don't necessarily NEED to know everything about me, or get me just right. That's why I love blogging...

mutuelle santé said...

i agree with bearfoot dreamer: we're different in different circumstances, but it's always us, althougt i'd like to stay the same nevermind the circumstances. i work on it :)

Mutuelle said...

Interesting information!Thank you for the post!

Defiscalisation said...

People act differently in different situations.

Rachat Credit said...

Nice blog!I agree with what you are saying.People tend to hide their true personality in public.

mutuelle said...

Very interesting post. I think the blog/FB/Twitter part of me is just that; a part. There's no way it could be the whole thing but I do think it's a fair representation of what I'm like IRL.

comparateur assurances said...

nice post, social network power is always increasing....

mutuelle said...

Very interesting post

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