I’ve been thinking about what defines me and who I am in the digital world. The whole is, of course, not the sum of my parts -or my usernames. As I explore my definition with MS, a mom, a wife, a daughter, an instructional designer, a blog-journal-ist (not to be confused with a journalist) a friend, a lover, a partner in crime… as any of the roles I play out during my everyday- I’m looking more specifically at my digital presence. Who am I in this world and does it translate to my virtual experience? The spontaneous, easily excitable-me, probably doesn’t come through here.. or does it? With enough probing, one might learn of my compassion for others, my desire to help those who need it and my hopes/expectations to make a difference in the world. But does it really traverse the pixel divide?
I spent as much time as was available after my home identity roles were brought to a moment of rest- (that moment comes a lot sooner than I would like as my MS draws the finish line in surprising places) I began reading MS blogs. (Am I defined by my run-on sentences?)
So, what was I saying.. oh yeah.. MS Blogs. They certainly run the gamut. Everything from
- what people are doing, thinking, and feeling at every minute of the day, to literary pieces that get me thinking. (see Merelyme‘s MS Blog and her further inspiring writing blog) And I’m left with the question: Where do I fit in to this spectrum? I’ve tried to make my entries a daily happening. I understand that increases readership – and I do enjoy knowing that my words are being read, yet I can’t bring myself to record every thought or move, especially when these thoughts contain nothing significant. (not that there is anything wrong with that!) I imagine that sharing at that level is very satisfying for many. It’s just that my internal editor is a bit of a hard-ass. Whatever the filter is that I run these entries through requires… requires.. I’m not sure what it requires, but I can tell you that its less animated, spontaneous and compulsive than the me in real time.
I use my full name wherever I can. When I comment in forums, when I post here.. when I register there. Even my login name is just an abbreviation of my full name. (amygtz) I just have problems constantly renaming myself as the digital world requires. I feel like it dilutes me. Hell.. I didn’t even change my name when I got married!
And when it comes down to it- an ID by another name would likely smell as sweet. Or would it? When we connect with people via a keyboard and monitor, even a rose would not smell sweet. So where is our identity online? In the real world- are we defined by the clothes we choose, the cell phone we carry, the songs we listen to, the expression we wear on our commute, or the style of our hair? To some degree yes; when that is all one has to go on. Well, digitally we have even less to go on. All we can consider is how clever your ID name is, and the words you type. Although, come to think of it, maybe its better that way. Maybe its more. Considering a person’s innermost thoughts without the superficials that cloud a first impression can be very powerful.
And when all is said (written) and done does it really matter? Do the words we type make a difference as they jet across the world virtually. Yes. I think they do. And when the unadulterated identity flies along with it, let it go. It’s so much more than the pictures we hold of ourselves from the childhood of our pre-virtual world. Those images tell a very small part of the message. Our usernames and blog entries will tell our future selves so much more. If they make it to the next operating system.