Earth Is A Small Town or Protecting Your Persona

[tags] identity, persona[/tags]

It’s been awhile since the term ‘reinventing yourself’ has been in vogue. Perhaps it’s out of favor because it has been a favorite backpedalling technique of movie stars, television evangelists and politicians. Still, for the rest of us, it’s quite possible and perhaps desirable to think about reinventing ourselves every so often to become the person we’d like to be. For example, I looked around at the people I admired and studied their behavior. Without exception they were pleasant, patient and kind most of the time, even when you were well aware they were having problems. So I pretended; to be pleasant, patient and kind. You can guess what happened. In a surprisingly short time, I became a person people enjoyed meeting and knowing. As a result of their acceptance, the change became internal, it was no longer a front. I was ‘reinvented’.

What helped a great deal was the fact that I had moved. People have been changing their lives by changing their location since the beginning of time. Starting out fresh was possible, if you were willing to leave friends and family behind.  One drawback for celebrities who reinvent themselves is that many people will think, “Yes, but remember when…”. Celebrity is a place of sorts, a place where many eyes are watching…and judging.

Many of us now live at least partially in this location called the World Wide Web. It’s not difficult to become a celebrity, at least for a short time, and if the perception is negative, that memory will linger. The WWW has truly become the hometown many of us long for when hometowns are hard to come by.  We work, play, learn, shop, meet friends, recreate, and sometimes find our “better half” there. It’s our town, our home.

But we can’t move. Our beloved hometown is the whole world. An indiscretion or two may not cause irreparable damage, but who knows? From the beginning of our online experiences we need to be aware that people come to know us by how we present ourselves. That can be intimidating but I’ve discovered an interesting concept called “Radical Transparency” (http://www.collisiondetection.net/), well described in this blog by Clive Thompson-January 5, 2007. Of course, the world doesn’t have to know every part of you, just the best parts.

It’s your persona, handle with care.