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In her recent Wired article, +Erin Biba notes that "Every time you post something on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or Instagram, you’re influencing—or trying to influence—how the world views you." Article here: http://bit.ly/pcL3G4

It's a thought-provoking piece for sure and she concludes that your social media personality, "it isn’t who you really are. It’s the hilarious, adorable, fascinating, intelligent, so-worth-Friending version of you. Social media isn’t about having a conversation with people you know. It’s about advertising yourself. It’s not social; it’s media."

Though I understand where she's coming from, I was sort of surprised to see it from a writer. Is the "reality" of a person only the words they communicate in private, or in one-on-one conversations?

What she describes kinda reminds me of dating. Aren't we always putting our best foot forward on those first few dates? Or the first few years? ;-) Are we "advertising" ourselves rather than truly connecting on those dates? I don't think so.

For Biba "personal" is good and real but the thought that one puts into their online posting somehow converts that genuine expression to "advertising" and not good. I'm not downgrading one-on-one, no holds-barred off-the-cuff conversation between besties, but I'm pretty certain that I'm a much more interesting person when I take a moment to consider and maybe even edit what I have to say. That's not particularly controversial is it?

When I was in college, I noticed that if I remained quiet and listened for awhile (rather than just blurt out the first thing I was thinking), I usually had the ability to move the classroom conversation forward in a way that was positive for the group.

In dating, I've noticed that it's better to listen and think about what you have to say as well. To take this to what Biba may consider an "advertising" level, I've actually been more "successful" when I've limited my personal exposure to someone and built on our relationship through emails and texts where I could take time to consider a better response to the topics at hand. (Even if it was just a better flirtation.)

So while I understand Biba's impulse to say that the fact you think about what you post on social networks may make it seem like "advertising" and "personal branding" rather than conversation, I'd like to suggest it's not that simple. I think at some level, even in person, we're "always advertising" ourselves to those we care about.

And as for online interaction, I don't think the fact that we're considering how people will respond makes our interactions any less personally meaningful (which is really what Biba's getting at, I think). While some may think I post on Google+ quite a bit, I'm actually restraining myself. I've been spending so much time online, I find probably 20 or 30 things I want to share, but I hold my digital tongue. I think its best not to overload people or wear out my welcome, so to speak. But more to the point, my efforts here have netted me some very "personal" and "meaningful" experiences. That includes people I've talked with and may never meet, but it also includes people I have already met in person by using G+ and includes my plans to meet a few people.

If I were to behave differently -- if I were to behave as Biba suggests we do as our "real" selves in person -- if I were to stop caring enough to think about what I want to say, well ... is that a better mode of interacting?

I suppose everything has its time and place. For me, I appreciate when my friends put more thought into the things they say. I think that's why I prefer G+ to Twitter for my (currently) "virtual friends." I like G+ and Twitter -- and G+ has actually encouraged me to use Twitter more than I ever did before... (yo! add me: twitter.com/myspacetom).

Twitter, to me, seems like a different medium. It encourages the pithy, quick share. And thus, in the hands of the average person, well, let's just admit it... it's more likely to encourage banality. You can combat this, of course, by following the right people.

But I guess when it comes down to it, I'm just not that pithy. (If this post convinces you of anything, it's that I may be near incapable of it!)

Ah my friends, would that we could all be Oscar Wilde. :)

+Nathan Batson Created the first image in this .GIF, looks like he inspired someone :-)
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Urs Nathanael Trueb's profile photoFerdie Barba's profile photoFrancis Nwokike's profile photoChloe Kristine Sandoval's profile photo
235 comments
 
LMFAO! I read this and totally agree. It's not who you are, but who you want people to see you as.
 
Great. I'm presenting in a special session with a colleague on just that topic at AMA on Friday.
 
and our Myspace 'me' was even more different (and awesome)
 
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It's real true....haha~
 
I mean. Yeah. That's true. It also happens to be true in real life interactions, as well. Everything we do and say is an attempt to influence people's perceptions of ourselves.
 
I am more interested in spreading interesting, thought-provoking, or obscure information to people I know.
Linda J
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Amusing. But there is no 'real', fundamental 'you', as the Thandie Newton vid you posted a couple days back would suggest.
 
Yeah they're so many pretenders and fake friends on facebook. It's so annoying. I made myself a fanpage just to get away from them!
 
Of course, I see in her picture choices all kinds of bias -- which reflect the bias of our culture in general. However, I'd say we do that exact kind of shaping in all our interactions, and that other people do it to us in that they know us as a construct in their minds, the pieces they pick up and find relevant. Going back to the pictures she uses -- which do you see, the fat chick or the woman with the pretty face and the nice rack? And which do you prefer to see, and which image is the one you will use when deciding to interact with her?
 
well, that`s right... your worst-case... our commface:-) (dp)
leadpeal mediappeal
 
And if you didn't know that before reading this article then you're a total dumbass. :)
 
That is so true. Seen so many of my friends on Facebook being someone, and in the real life being something totally remote to their Facebook personality!!
 
Naaa, I'm cooler than the fb version of me.
 
Waitaminute... you're holding back?!
 
That´s the whole face book generation in a nut shell !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HAHAHA
 
Hilarious! This is why I think all this focus on "real" identities is a waste of time. Anyone who thinks it is more "real" over here is probably kidding themselves...
 
LOL.. My profile pic is indeed the real me.. and I'm the one wearing the blue shirt!
 
i'm pretty shy irl, so to act like that online would make my life extremely boring :P

also, of course there's a measure of wanting to only put your best foot out there in social media...it's essentially on the internet forever. when you say something stupid in a conversation, you have a chance to live it down; when you say something stupid online, it has the potential to haunt you forever.
 
I looked at the gif for 5 minutes, carefully scrutinizing every picture (for the lulz).

Then I realized there were words on top.

+Tom Anderson , these gifs are getting very distracting!
 
I have to disagree with Biba to some extent. I see people share on FB things that are way too personal. Like break ups and how they are down and out. It's actually not really a good thing. I think it's better to give a good friend a phone call rather than shout out depressing stuff to everyone.

I think the problem with sites like facebook is that to some extent you're forced to share things you wouldn't normally share with certain people. Yes, you can group them, private message, or block certain people, but in our instant gratification culture it's some what of a hassle to do that. That's why G+ circles is really cool. You can share instantly with only those you want to share with. It's not natural to have all your personal things shared with everyone. Rather, you share things with people depending on what type of relationship you have.
 
So funny, and any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental.
 
+Onur Demirsoy Nah, I've actually talked to him about my recent writing. And this post is not even about Facebook. I wish the graphic had included Twitter/MySpace and G+ to make its point.. it actually would have been funnier to do one that played of the uniqueness of each social network.
Sly T
 
LOL!!!!!
 
I think, there for I am... I think I am this person, so I portray this person. I think, I portray. I think I am christian, so I act like a christian.

p.s. I'm not a christian. lol...
 
We all see ourselves/want to be an ideal. Online it simply gives us more time to figure out who/what we would like to be and project that onto other people.
 
Your own posts may not define you entirely but I'd argue your G+/ twitter stream (or Time-Line) probably does (or in other words the people you circle here follow there). I found myself looking at the follow list of someone I hired recently (before hiring them): #newhabits
 
obviously you guys didn't read at all. i see a bunch of comments about how he's right that projections on social media sites are bogus and wrong. he's saying that these projections aren't just on media but people do this in real life and its actually beneficial for us.
 
Can I +1000 this?! Right on Tom! 
 
sorta weirded out I see this post by my 'old friend Tom' =) after I read TC, I gave this acct cred, but displays an opp for verified user. ps the photos above are creepy! ~ best, Nicole
 
after 10 years of flash i'm thinking of making an animated gif cartoon again
 
+Will Francis Yes I think if any social network could be considered "most guilty" (re: this .GIF), at this point in history, it'd have to be MySpace :)
 
Earliest experience with conscious self branding would be 'the band t-shirt in jr high'....maybe Transformers shirts in elementarry.
And I hope +Jeffrey Kaufman comes back to +1 my post. ^_^
 
Implying you actually have to "try" on a date, instead of just telling the girl you created MySpace..
 
Gotta say, I have enjoyed reading your articles here on G+ Tom!
 
I agree with you +Tom Anderson, The truth is only crazy people have the freedom to say exactly what's on their mind without regard for the impression it may leave on the other person.
 
Great post +Tom Anderson .. you'll notice I did not edit mine this morning... what do you make of that? some things just lose the translation if you edit..
 
I agree with her article for the most part, esp in that people try and put their best foot forward publicly, but there are some of us who are actually exactly the same online as we are offline and, are indeed solely on social networking for interesting conversation and to stay in touch with your 'real' life friends.
 
+Nicole Yeary I suppose there's a "myspace" version of an animated .GIF like this. Would have been more fun for me to post that.
 
Well, whether you "advertise or brand yourself" on-line, it is still part of you, to be quite honest -- only it's the more outgoing, perhaps even louder, better version of you. But it's still you. It's your M&M's shell. But then few would be privy to the chocolate middle. Simple. :-)
 
Did you people actually read his post? He was saying that the online you is the real version of you but a more thoughtful one and insightful. At least if I understood him correctly.
+Karen Brand-Roy But what if you wrote something on an impulse and did not mean it at all after a second thought?

Edit spelling
 
dude u are right...........
 
i think, she just branded herself through her article. lol
 
That was a good article. I think the fact that you (tom) don't censor your thoughts and ideas from your online persona makes you an exception to the typical user the article targets. This may also be part of the secret to your success and we can all learn a thing or two from your reaction to the article...
 
I would argue that +Erin Biba is partially correct in her statement but such things aren't limited to social media. People have been doing this long before there were computers.

Everything you buy, every group you join influences how the world sees you. It tells people what you believe in and how you want people to view you. Take people who identify with Harley-Davidson for example. There are certainly better technological motorcycles of the same class and definitely for less money so why do people go so far as to tatoo Harley-Davidson on their body?

Because it says something about them (American, tough, rebel, etc...). So what does it say when we post things on Google+ that are interesting? That these are the things, when we're at our very best, that represent who we are.

Hell, typing this means I'm trying to convey something about myself too. Vanity, thy name is Timothy. :)
 
excellent food for thought. And I'm now obediently following you on Twitter :-)
 
It's a very interesting thought experiment: what would you be like if the real you were the same as the online you? Would your friends notice? Your family? Are you willing to throw out more controversial opinions online, will you insult the person above you, or are you just as conscious of the real person behind the name you see as you are that someone exists behind your name?

I've found that I'm a lot more honest on g+, even more so than facebook. It feels more public and I'm sharing things that reflect me, my thoughts, and I want those to be my puzzle pieces. Together, they make up the real me. They should all fit together properly.

To make this work, I like to think through my posts before actually posting them. Read them if possible, but get a feel for your idea as if someone else were saying it. Is it sensible? More importantly, could you hear it out of your own mouth? Does it sound natural and an extension of your thoughts, or is it foreign? If it's odd, I don't post it.
 
+Martino Henderson Interesting. I wonder if that capacity might be used in clinical psychological descriptions... It might be one of the defining traits of a genius, or a crazy person, or both :-)
 
Right, so show us the "Realistic" MySpace Tom picture, because your punim in that mugshot in 8 years old.
 
+Fannar Már Flosason no I posted a photo - sarcastic and funny - about our weather, the 'f' word is on it. I didn't create it, I thought before posting something with a cuss-word, not wanting to offend or give the wrong impression of me. I posted any way- and also on my facebook wall - because there's not one of my friends who has not used the word. It happens to have been one of the most shared and +1'd post of mine in the past 10 days. It is my sense of humor. The people who like it will revisit. and 'yes' I read Tom's entire post. and shared it on my fb wall. as for me... as Popeye said, "I Yam what I Yam".
 
+Tom Anderson , I think you posted my thoughts before I could respond. I even tell my kids to think before they act and speak, and I do it in most cases (albeit amazingly quickly at times).

As an example, when sending an SMS, I don't use abbreviations because I want to be understood completely and clearly, so I really do type the way that I talk (and I'm a stickler for grammar). I think these things make me easy to pick out, if one were to stalk me online, even though I may use different names on forums and social networks.

There is an element of "making myself look better", but only insofar as I have more time to contemplate my words in text than in an actual conversation; there shouldn't be anything inherently wrong with that.
 
I agree with you. I do tend to think more about what I'm gonna say/post on the internet (besides all the simple stuff ;-) ). But it's still me. Perhaps it's even more of "who I am as a person" because I put more thought into it.
 
+Tom Anderson This is a really good post, made me think.
You should've posted it with a a more serious photo, though, now most of the people focus on just that GIF. lmao, whatever that means.

What you say is so true: People should think before blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. Same applies to writing. I don't think there's ever been an author that just 'wrote' and finished? Nooo, review, rewrite, make it better. Think about your 'audience'.

And boy, this is exactly what we're getting here: An audience. The main difference between FB and G+ is that here you can interact with gurus, people you look up to and want to learn from. Interact as in you can comment, shout, share etc. And they answer, too, if you have been interesting enough. It's all up to us.

What +Erin Biba is saying that we're all trying to keep up with the Jones´s? And Family Jones here being the most followed people? Is it? Well, the trolls really don't think what they post, do they...

Trying to attract attention by posting some memorable stuff? What if it comes naturally to the writer, even when 'not putting the best foot forward' (had to check that as a Finnish speaker). The people in Google+ just have the opportunity to circle you and follow the things you like or are writing about. The cream floats to the top, I say. There have been so many examples already, from nothingness to 'stardom'! +Christina Trapolino and +Ahmed Zeeshan for example.

Self-advertising? Don't think so. Personal? Like the unbearable 1 on 1 'discussions' that happen all the time in Twitter. I drop those people very quickly if I don' t see other content. I dislike that kind of 'personal' that excludes others. Phones are for that kind of friend-to-friend discussions. Or even better just meeting. Or a Hangout or videochat? Or even Facebook?

I agree with you on holding back: In every Social Media I too restrain myself from sharing too much. Don't know if that's a good thing, though?

By the by, I just hate the 4sq mayors and stuff in Twitter, hope they never arrive here. Whatsit to me if you've just been to your local Starbucks?
 
+Logan Cate That would be an interesting though experiment -- and it makes me think of something I was not thinking about while writing. Some people are absolute jerks online: venting, attacking everyone, being rude in ways that they never would in person. I think we'd all come up with something a little different if we went through the experiment you suggest. I noticed something funny while with MySpace in that regard... a lot of users would write to me later to apologize about things and tell me they were drunk when they wrote it. "Don't drink & MySpace" almost sorta became a meme for awhile. :-)
 
Of course we do all know this (well, at least most of us do) but I like what you says about restraining yourself in regards to posting. Since my main reason to have an online persona is a business related one (I communicate with and inform my customers through FB & my blog) I am wary of wearing them out- of becoming white noise. It's one of the reasons I don't do twitter. It doesn't resonate with me. It reminds me of those star trek episodes where the borg all hear the voices/thoughts of all the other borg. I like to give my posts and updates room to breath-to share things they might find interesting and informative. give them something before they give me their hard earned $ for my work.
Life is a stage and this is the experience economy. I'm still figuring out how i will make google+ work for me in what i do. I like Tom's feed. he doesn't wear me out. Things have changed and i'm just trying to keep up and survive...thanks Tom!
 
Don't you think that most people are more guarded when they START using social media, but eventually let down their hair a bit once they are comfortable? Eventually the reality does come out. Seems to be what I see... although I agree Twitter is more pithy by nature.
 
Hahahahahaah!

That image totally distracted me from the depth of what you said. Though, it's spot on regardless.
 
"When I was in college, I noticed that if I remained quiet and listened for awhile (rather than just blurt out the first thing I was thinking), I usually had the ability to move the classroom conversation forward in a way that was positive for the group."

This sums up my interpersonal communication philosophy nicely. I also gravitate toward people who have the same ability to facilitate deeper conversations. The potential for social networks to allow me to do this with a larger audience can be very fulfilling. There were some great discussions on Facebook around collective bargaining in Wisconsin a number of months ago that I would like to think I played an important part in facilitating. On the other hand, there are still a large number of people who are very difficult to engage meaningfully. How do you reach the highly partisan types?
 
Great post, I added this to my "read later" circle so I can peruse the comments.
 
I think that's more of a MySpace thing, not a Facebook thing.
 
I agree 100% -- does anyone (with good sense) want a job for which they're not qualified? (no) so why would anyone (with good sense) "false advertise"? why bother? it's much easier to be yourself.

also, it's not as if we've never shared something that was...ahem...fueled by something other than our "real" selves and later -- even ten seconds later -- decided to delete the post.
 
I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels they have so much more to say, but don't because it would be overposting. I want to use Tumblr for it, as it seems to be OK there, but few of my friends are on it. There's also this thing where I know some of my friends don't want to see everything, because a bunch of them unfollowed me on Twitter. ;)

The gif is funny because it's true! I have so much to say online about what I'm doing and thinking, but get me IRL and I'm quiet as a mouse.
 
I think the choices we make in what we choose to share via various "social media" outlets are inherently a result of who we are. I might choose not to post something that some may find moderately offensive. It's not because I don't want them to think that I find it interesting and/or funny that I choose not to post it, but because I'm considerate of other people's feelings and would prefer not to make them uncomfortable. I avoid posting a whole lot of political thoughts via social media because my friends comprise a wide range of political views and I prefer to keep that kind of discusion in-person where it's less likely that people will say something mean or offensive in the discussion. Again, that's a personal choice. So I think while there are definitely instances of people who use social media to advertise themselves, I think in most cases, who we are directly impacts what we post/don't post.
 
Tom this is your best gif. I dont know where you get 'em but by god they are funny!
 
The answer to the question of whether it's "good" or "bad" to manage your image on social networks depends on what kind of relationships you want with the people who follow you. If your interest is primarily in being popular and having a lot of followers, yes, you would definitely want to pick and choose your words and your 'shares' carefully. And what you will get is thousands of followers, most of whom post comments like, "Great. Love it." But if you want to feel truly connected to the people who follow you, you have to show your imperfections, make mistakes, be contrite—in short, you have to be human. This not only attracts a higher caliber of followers, it actually changes the way YOU feel in relation to them.
 
+Tom Anderson +Erin Biba Great article! I think the overall problem comes with living for show, and I think the FB Wall feature contributes to that. When a person posts a message publicly on another's "Wall", isn't there an awareness there that others are watching? People are broadcasting to each other for the audience present, rather than really communicating with each other in a genuine way. It can be ego-inflating, a dangerous poison, living in a sort of "false-self" identity world, because your self-worth then hangs on the day-traded value of your popularity based on "likes", comments and feedback. I'm glad to see Erin sounding the warning bell of the collective identity crisis hanging over the horizon. Happiness, fulfillment, appreciating one's unique experience in the world: my concern is that these deeper gifts in life may be hindered by certain forms of social media and being a celebrity in one's own mind.
(On the otherhand: how cool is it to be able to respond to an author of an article I read in Wired? Social networking does have its positive side!)
 
While I agree with you that taking the time to form a thought properly is a good idea, I don't think that is the same type of "advertisement" Erin was speaking about. As a generality the goal of most Facebook users is to expand their friend list to the highest possible number. And while thinking through things before actually saying them might be considered advertising, it seems that most people on FB actually consider the things they say to be more like answers to job interview questions. I'm sure that sometimes, even when thinking through something to say thoroughly, it still did have some meaningful content to it. From my experience on FB (Which I have since deleted) there is little, if any meaningful content on there. Yes you do post quite frequently, but your posts are not sales pitches, they are ideas and thoughts that excite you. So maybe I only have a few friends on this site, the content I get from those few friends is far more meaningful than anything I ever saw on FB.
 
I have to agree. I find a lot of people seem to be afraid of the changes that Social Media is making to their worldview. Though there are people that just try to think of the next "cool" thing to say and live and breathe by the popularity they engender on facetwitgramblr+, the idea that everyone online and part of a social media experience is doing that is ridiculous

Just like high school, work or any other social situation, it's up to you to regulate how you interact with people. We have always treated different groups and situations with different facets of ourselves.

The author seems to have not experienced the outlook of introverts. I think about everything I say before I say it. I filter all the content I deliver to people around me. I'm not going to tell someone I think their hair color looks terrible on them, and that they should have rethought that haircut before they got it. I do know people who do this. In my experience this is called impulsive.

I've been moved by things I've seen posted on facebook, youtube videos about the goings on in Egypt, sides of the Japanese Tsunami that I wouldn't have seen otherwise.

Marketers love Social Media because it's personal. They want to know what you dream about at night so they can be the ones to sell it to you.

I think that the author lacks a lot of insight, the article seems to me like one in which the author had an idea they wanted to write, and then they just threw together supporting points without doing any research.

(I also have a feeling the author has never stumbled on any Failbook excerpts.)
 
+Tom Anderson you left out the one with fb u: (photo of a menacing jessie eisenberg) | real u: photo of nerdy loser mark zuckerberg)
 
+Tom Anderson It's very noticeable in small online communities. One of the other forums I post on is somewhat famous for not banning people. As you might expect, it's got a fair share of trolls and jerks and other miscreants. Most users are fine, but there are plenty who use their anonymity to its full advantage. A while back, a user started hosting webcam chatrooms on the weekends. Those who participate are among the nicer users you'll find. Is it because we can put a face to the name? Perhaps. It could be that those who are nicer are more likely to show up since they won't get attacked. But it does introduce a bit of civility into the conversation.

I think hangouts take this one step further. It's about as close to a true conversation as you'll find online and in my experience, they're very friendly. When you meet someone new, you're almost always as respectful as you can be. Imagine you're staying at a friend of a friend's house. Your friend has assured this friend that you're a good person and won't make a mess or cause trouble. Wouldn't you want to live up to your reputation? It's true here as well. This is your first impression and you can't do it again. If you're a dick to someone in a hangout, you've just alienated that person as well as most of those in the hangout. They won't go around posting how much you suck (at least I hope not) but they certainly won't recommend you or make any effort on your behalf. I like this place. It's nice, it's relatively civil, and it feels smart. I want to meet people who are like me, who share the same interests, who like hanging out and learning new things. I'm not going to accomplish that by being a jerk, and your being a jerk won't do anything for it either. Positivity (I'm making up this word) goes a long ways and if we can keep it going, I think g+ has the potential to have a much higher high than other social networks.
 
To some extent its true that I advertise rather than really being me. But I wanted to be where I advertise myself as. Social media gives me an image (a good image) and I would like to maintain it even in real life. This makes me a better person. The more I advertise, there is more pressure from the social media, the better I become...
 
+Tom Anderson , how are you trying to influence the world's view of you by your posts? Just curious how you would like people to see you.
 
Superbly articulated Tom.
Another great post. 
 
Morpheus: If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain
 
I am surprised no one has mentioned Carl Jung. A little thing called the persona. But I can probably look clever by mentioning it, then meta mentioning it. The work of Douglas Hofstadter (of Gödel, Escher, Bach fame) discusses in "I Am a Strange Loop" how the self itself is a creation not just of the individual but of the current social conditions surrounding it. In a way, he proposes it as a social mechanism that is not entirely controlled by the person it represents. That we are in fact, creations of our self and our relationships and how others see us. and etc... as +Sriram Gopalan illustrates above, the self or persona can be seen as the result of a feedback loop.
 
The GIF itself is part true, we do separate ourselves on-line to the true person, this is because, with reference one of your previous posts we do not wish to let people intrude into our lives and as a result we share what we know wont be knocked back. This is where Google+ strides forward, my real me that some people do not like are not going to see what i want to share with my friends, this means I can express myself clearly.

Facebook, is for sharing things that you will want to get positive feedback, and stray from negative feedback. Where as Twitter you can share small things with people, however with no depth. Google+ seems to make sharing easier, you can be as prude as you like with people, with feedback you know will be with reference to what you posted unlike Facebook.
 
Lol last one- Summer's Eve. Excellent point!
 
Dont blame only FB, on each single web site, from the cheapest to the more exclusive, the most people are desperatly trying to look more beautiful, interesting, smart, full of culture , big managers, wealthy people, all the best they will never be... this is the reason why they have a so great success.
 
I liked the article especially the part that says ... "social media is not social; it's media."
 
I thought that Google+'s circles would take care of this problem. You can be advertising you and real you in the same interface, if not the same circles. And a lot of those "real you" gifs don't look half bad.
 
What the article says about our behavior online is true, and I agree that it also translates to real life.

We are always acting the way we think people would want us to, we are always trying to be more liked, no matter whether it's online or in real life. That is normal, of course everyone wants to be praised. I've noticed that usually, people's perception of me is very different from mine. I know some people think I'm better than I really am, probably because I, consciously or not, show myself as such in front of them. Also, not only my "real-life" personality differs from who I am online, I am actually a different person on each new website I visit. The "me" here has nothing to do with the "me" on Facebook, much less on Twitter, for example. This doesn't even stop at social networks, and none of these personalities is me - it's just the part I want to show, enhanced to a certain point.

This kind of "advertisement" happens every day, but it's much easier to do it online, because you can think more about what you post, how you do it, how frequently... In reality, this can be done too, but if you think as much as you think before posting online, of course you would look very weird.

I wouldn't quite agree with the part about personal conversations though. Maybe it's just me, but as a very shy person, I prefer having online conversations, and I am actually more comfortable being myself when talking one-to-one online than IRL. I think the inability to instantly get a reaction, or simply the possibility to "fix" the impression we've given gives us the freedom to be ourselves. Even with this "overthinking" I believe we more often choose to be our real selves online than offline.

Yeah, I guess most of this post is just rambling and repeats what you, and others have said, but people will see a long post and think I am smart and actually have something to say, while not bothering to read it. ;)
 
My issue with the article extends that it talks of businesses being on these services as a way for branding themselves. It is very true that they do, but businesses also brand themselves when they locate themselves in certain areas of a city or they do community service or just by the uniforms they make their employees where. Businesses are always branding themselves because inherently they want you to associate the thoughts, responses, colors, images, and etc from their page and from their store with the business. they'd be dumb not to extend that brand into the social platform so that people associate them with being a part of their communities online and offline.

That branding doesn't extend to everyone though. Privacy settings are an almost essential setting for social networks to create these closed interaction communities to safeguard yourself to be more like the person you want to be or that you really are. She should next time ask FB for the number of accounts with strict privacy protections, or MS, or Tumblr, or G+. you can't know what goes on in those closed groups. Inside jokes are shared. There are inevitably more people you're close to in real life than online. most people you're close to online, you're close to in real life. there will be some willing to hear about your problems and they'll take it to a private forum within the network if you don't want to share it. But no one announces to their friends in real life that they have IBS until they absolutely have to and when they do, they don't do it in the middle of downtown while yelling it through a loudspeaker for everyone in the city to hear either.

This idea that we're branding ourselves is kinda crazy. the person in question shares what they are going to eat for dinner, but also shares about how interacting with people online and in real life was great once she met them on twitter. So unless she's lying, then the people she has encountered in real life are not just brands for themselves online. you share articles that interest you. you post thoughts that come through your head. No one's inner monologue completely stops when they get online. they know who they want to be and who they are and they can obviously access that. we're not all good enough actors to pose as someone completely different online. eventually you cross it with your real thoughts. in which case, the "brand" you put up is nothing more than just your creativity showing itself. There are plenty of spambots and spam profiles and spam accounts on different social services, but outside of those most people actually share what they do in their daily lives and how they go about things. The writer of the article being a perfect example as she interacts with her followers on Twitter, but i guess that's just branding since her article doesn't reflect any genuine sentiment of sharing with these people.
 
+Great stuff man. Honestly, I think your my favorite contributor to google+ thus far (no homo).

This is why I like Google+ so much more than Facebook. Facebook reminds me of high school where everyone's obsessed about their own social status. Google+ is about sharing and conversations. Hope it stays this way.
 
the douchebag tosh one is the best
 
This got me thinking more about anonymity on the web. When you're anonymous you are not advertising yourself. You can't advertise yourself without giving up anonymity. In that way posting as anonymous is more genuine.
 
Another great post Tom! I am working on incorporating my fake online persona into my real life. I am a nice guy online but a real jerk in real life. I am hoping my online self will rub off on my real self at some point. lol
 
I have had this conversation with my brother ( non computer user ) and he thinks the same way. Sounds phoney to him so it must be wrong/unreal. I have assured him I have met people I have talked online with, so it is real. lol It can be tricky not seeing who you are talking to but hell life can be too as people will show you what they want you to see either way. I agree that taking your time is the best way to communicate, whether online or in 'real life'. Life's a gamble but I would rather take it than stick my head in the sand and say bah humbug about technological advances. I'm to curious to see what is next I guess.
 
There's one sad truth in life I've found
While journeying east and west -
The only folks we really wound
Are those we love the best.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best.
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox
 
I don't know if that's necessarily true; a lot of my updates aren't for that at all, but are for getting an opinion across and seeing who shares my opinion and who could share my opinion with a little convincing.
 
They say, we never grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
I couldn't agree with you more, Tom. Long before computers existed, people would talk about the positives in their lives, and always try to appear as though they are doing better than they are.
 
Biba raises a real issue and her post is thought-provoking. Tom, quite correctly, suspects that though Biba is being careful to back her claims up she is also taking an slightly more extreme position than she might otherwise precisely because she needs to elicit a response. Two things here are worth noting: First, writers are communicators. While their own point of view may be so well balanced that it's a virtual Switzerland, they need to start from somewhere extreme, work their way to the opposite end (usually) and get everyone thinking (hopefully), talking (we can only pray) and reacting (which we so dearly want). Biba is exercising her craft writing the way she does.

Second, branding is exactly what each of us does in terms of controlling the way we present ourselves and how the world perceives us. In all the years I have been online the people I have seen start flamewars, post about their anger, or sadness are the ones which use the web casually, troll more than post and are relatively 'innocent'. The rest of us share clever posts, put online jokes which are truly funny, and even in our pithy 'OMG' remarks we manage to inject a referential sense of cool.

In a way the medium (the social web) and the message (what we post) are sides of the same coin. Tom noted that we use words to interact and in so doing we, ourselves are perhaps changed. By being concerned about how the world sees us and how we see it, we may become more tolerant, open-minded and erudite than we might have otherwise.
 
gif image unsuport on android google plus app
 
I don't agree. I think it depends on the person. Some people may try to appear as a cooler version of themselves but I believe this sort of behavior negates the purpose of having real, deep interactions on the Web. These people are missing out....I am not saying "go out there and start talking about all your deepest fears", but be true to yourself. You'll get a lot more out of your social Web experience and feel more self fulfillment.
 
+David Amerland Glad to see someone recognizing when a writer (like Biba) may be more trying to make us think rather than argue a point. :-)
 
+Pedram Keyani Not really that sure (i.e. I'm not here on a conscious mission), but actually it's funny you should ask that question. (For those that don't know, +Pedram Keyani works at FB.) Because probably my most self-reflexive thought before posting this was "I wish this was a MySpace graphic instead of a Facebook one..." mainly because I don't want people to think I hate Facebook. I'm sure there's a lot of reasons for that... but I figured the more perceptive folks would gather that the graphic and the text apply to every social network. (And it's probably more true of MySpace than FB)
 
+Tom Anderson you wrote, "I think at some level, even in person, we're" always advertising "Ourselves to Those We Care About.", I agree with you completely.

I’m really grateful that you made me pay attention +Erin Biba she is really interesting to read. And at the first breath, it's easy to say that at I agree when it comes to her perspective on social media, that it’s only media. And given your previous posting about Francisco Daos thoughts that we share too much, it’s quite obvious that what we choose to share requires, or rather is desirable that we put some thought on.

But to me is the question what is the more "real or true" side of me is quite impossible to answer. For my part, I feel that in my everyday life I show a lots of different parts of myself, which for some is more or less true. What is true for you may not need be so for me. In each new encounter with another human being and what I show of myself, is a reflection of what he or she awakens in me, and vice versa. But of course, I some sense, I understand what Erin is saying, but I don't think it's significant for social media.

I think it is impossible to achieve an absolute truth about what is the true picture of one, in any context, because I will never be able to enter one hundred percent the mind of another human being and completely understand her…wich maybe for some sounds depressing, but for me it's what's so exciting. And as I se as the big challange and reason for all kind of communication. And fun to experiment with.

For instance I'm a truly and a shy person, but due to the nature of my work and because I like to bring together people, by making parties and other stuff, I've learned to "overcome" the shyness.
I can easily see that I can get stuck in showing a side of me that we absolutely can question whether it is more or less true/genuine. It has made me to consciously choose sometimes not to be as active in various social contexts (irl). Instead if i for instance waits to take the responsibility to introduce myslef to people in different contexts. It's pretty exciting to see that the ones that I thought to be very reclusive, in fact often take the responsibility to start interacting with me, if I just give them time to do it.

To just dismiss the social media as a showcase for how we want to present ourselves, is a little too easy I think. How we present ourselves, is also characterized by the context we operate in, what role we can take or are given us and depends on wich others persons that already exists there.

Wich for me is quite obvious here, since a lot of ”my crowd” not yet are here, and there fore makes me choose not to show certain parts of my spectrum here yet. If that make my presence here at G+ more or less "real" is onother question. Just as a comment to the gif animation ;-).
 
+Tom Anderson, thanks for the "Read It Later" app tip. I am amazed at how you are able to juggle your time between reading posts, articles, and writing.
 
If for to grow G+ need to destroy Fb, I think is a bad example..
 
Being someone else will eventually wear you out, your better off being yourself and let them understand you for who you really are.
 
Thanks +Tom Anderson , I was not really commenting on the photo but rather to the meta point about using online media to manage perception. In particular it's interesting that you now have a certain cachet on g+ that, I would argue, you never really had on myspace. I think a part of that is because it is mainly a high tech, online media, etc. audience and you have been really open with the mistakes you made and lessons learned and people want to hear that. (But regarding the photo and clips you have shared, they make sense given the pro goog anti fb crowd).
 
From the looks of the article, I think that Erin has a pretty incomplete understanding of the nature of human relationships. Yes people do edit and monitor themselves to be someone else on social networks, but usually those people are among the younger crowd (teenage?), that do not yet know who they really are. I think that most people grow out of that. I just edited my post. I didn't do it because I wanted to represent anything else as who I was, I did it because I want to make sure that my point is well understood. I think editing is well and good, but the contexts that it involves are more complex than what the author puts across.
 
We all act differently based upon our surroundings. Why should social networking be any different? At home I'd be more relaxed and comfortable where at work I'd try to appear more professional.
 
Right on. Life's all about perception anyways. Only you know who you really are. The rest of us just perceive you as someone else. 
 
+Andrew Durham Interesting way to look at it.. but not sure we know ourselves all that well, either. :-)
 
I don't think that every communication on social media automatically is a sales pitch. Some of the things she writes are true (e.g., the part about the repeat editing of a post or a comment before publishing it). Of course we do that, but that has more to do with the fact that it's written conversation than that it's social media. If I write a letter (or e-mail) to a friend, I edit just as much. And that's not because I want to make an impression, but because I want to find the most efficient (or at least: most effective) way of saying what I have to say. When we write, most of us tend to edit our first draft. And that is a good thing. Or r u keen on txt msg slang?

In my posts to my G+ circles, on Facebook, or in my blog posts, I am honest, and in my replies to conversations (or my comments to Flickr photos) I am honest too - sometimes maybe even too honest. I don't always write down everything I think, but then again, if I talk to someone, I don't speak out every thought I have either.

I type very fast, and I tend to go with the flow of thoughts. A bit of correcting typos or editing clumsy sentences doesn't mean that I'm not honest. It only means that I like it when people understand what I want to say without having to read it twice.
 
+Omar Bonilla Yah, I'm not really saying anything about Facebook. Actually what is up with the asian girl and her nose sticking up? I don't get that slide. haha
 
LMFAO This is great, so where's the real Tom? you can't look the same 10 years later I think it's time for a new profile pic :P
 
+Pedram Keyani I did talk to users a lot there, but its the nature of the platform that highlights it. On MySpace I wrote blogs and responded, but it didn't get as highlighted as it does here on G+, so most people don't know I was engaging in the same behavior there. That said, I agree with you that the 'cachet" would be different, both because of the audience here and because I represented a company there... as you can imagine, my partner and PR people would not appreciate me being so chatty. Not to mention I actually had work to do back then.. haha :-) More than anything, I suppose, my G+ engagement comes from me having the luxury of free time.
 
My eyes are bleeding from reading all these posts: break time! Thanks G+Tom Anderson community!
 
Any interaction with people, digital or "analog," is in a sense trying to influence the way we are viewed by the other, in that we choose what we portray to people. It just happens more rapidly and with less thought when it is in person, typically.
 
This is possibly an issue that depends on -

1: whether or not the web intersects your actual life
2- how the web is integrated or not integrated into your life, and
3- how and why you're using the web.

When I think of how early I got online, back when most activity on the internet was through newsgroups, and there weren't graphics on the web yet, it never occurred to me to be less of the person I am online. I found the web freeing and became MORE of who I am.

Then when the web came along, there was a short period of time where I treated the web like it was this virtual reality world I went to in order to present the inside me with the best possible version of the outer me.

But as I matured, and started to have my work deeply entwined with the internet, I had no choice but to be the same person online as I am offline, and the two worlds began to merge.

The web is going in that direction. There will always be people who crop out their thunder-thighs or photoshop out their acne, just like there will always be folks who embellish their resumes. But pretty soon - and I mean in the next few years - the whole wall between what is online and what is offline is going to evaporate. In effect, we'll always be online. And there will probably be people who have club names. But I defy those people to photoshop a live streaming video.
 
Sam Gosling at UT-Austin has done some research into this that indicates that our online personalities are consistent with our real-life personalities, even when we try to pretty them up. http://bigthink.com/ideas/17418
 
I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. Does give one some pause to contemplate about our online vs reality. personally, i think this can be divided to those who are truly genuine and being honest about their true nature vs those who try to advertise that they are something else, but wouldn't that be the case in the real world as well. This has given me much to think about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
 
that gif was hilarious...until it compared me to Rebeca Black :'(
 
me parece que tienes razon. hasta el tonto puede verse inteligente si guarda silencio.
ok
I agree with you.
Greetings from Huatulco.
see you later.
continues to work with intelligent inputs.
 
The GIF pretty much shows that facebook's most populated by fatties.
 
If our online interactions are advertising ourselves, what about the clothes we wear? The places we go? The people we hang out with? The things we talk about or watch on tv? Everyone advertises themselves in every part of their life - it just depends on the type of friendship you have as to what you say. I have friends that I wouldn't tell I'm on Google+ because I don't want to portray myself in a certain way. Isn't that all just a fact of life? The fact that an online personality is broadcast to all people is the only thing that makes it different.
 
Today was the day that I realized just how sad Facebook really is. I cannot explain why it took me so long, but now I don't think I even want to be a part of it.
 
I don't think social media inherently changes your personality. If you are the type of person who thinks about your 'brand' - the way people percieve you - you'll do it in real life, and you'll do it in social media. I don't think the comparision she makes - thinking before posting vs thinking before talking to a good friend - is valid. A more valid comparision would be - thinking before posting vs thinking before addressing a mixed group of people you know - like all your collegues, your entire high school class etc. Elements of your personailty that show up in any large group situation show up in social media.
 
Who are the real +Tom Anderson ? You already asked that question yourself, Tom ? Is it really that guy in the photo, it appears with the same picture since the beginning of Myspace, or that person no longer exists? Perhaps the real +Tom Anderson is something like the images above ... or worse ...
 
Self perception is an important part of who we are. What are the chances that if I encountered someone like Tom Anderson or Michael Dell at the grocery store, there would be a meaningful interaction? Not much because I perceive my physical self as being unattractive and unapproachable so I would not engage. The web "allows" me to shed some of that negative baggage and interact. I perceive that I am on a more equal plane. I have a voice and I like debate and discussion. I am inquisitive and like to sometimes provoke thought just to see what other people do with it. I am not always right and often quite wrong but the learning happens just the same. I find that I keep a more open mind and engage more when others participate. While showing the social networking public the very best "picture" of yourself can be seen as dishonest, it also helps to facilitate interactions because we are judgemental and visual beings and unfortunately that matters to some online as well. Just my two cents.
 
+Tom Anderson My primary language is Spanish, but after I read your posts I feel a huge necessity to improve my skills to communicate in English. You are very convincing, and have very good arguments, thank you for sharing.
 
Roflamao............ Rebecca Black one was the hilarious....hahahha
 
The photo was right. They crop/change the event so people can look up & say they are cool.
 
I just like the image that Rebbecca black wants to be Haley Williams XD
 
Really nice! I think that´s true in some cases jeje
and wedding photos is even more remarkable.
 
rsrsrs É interessante como hoje as pessoas buscam vender uma imagem fantasiada de si mesmo nas redes sociais. O ocultismo ligado arraigado a imagem de um "avatar" nos diferencia em dois mundos completamente distintos. Vejo que atualmente circundamos em 3 dimensões: o pensamento, a dita realidade, e a web.
 
lemme share this!hahaha so true!!! some people post pix by the "angle" only..hahaha
 
Erin Biba used a wrong term “Personal Branding” to explain a common human behavior in social interaction. She should use a social psychology term “Impression Management". We always do it both offline and online. It's not wrong.

Check out the term on Wikipedia:

In sociology and social psychology, impression management is a goal-directed conscious or unconscious process in which people attempt to influence the perceptions of other people about a person, object or event; they do so by regulating and controlling information in social interaction (Piwinger & Ebert 2001, pp. 1–2). It is usually used synonymously with self-presentation, in which a person tries to influence the perception of their image. The notion of impression management also refers to practices in professional communication and public relations, where the term is used to describe the process of formation of a company's or organization's public image.

There are two main motives that govern self-presentation. One is instrumental: we want to influence others and gain rewards (Schlenker 1980, pp. 92). There are three instrumental goals. The first is ingratiation, when we try to be happy and display our good qualities so that others will like us (Schlenker 1980, pp. 169). The second is intimidation, which is aggressively showing anger to get others to hear and obey us.[1] The third is supplication, when we try to be vulnerable and sad so people will help us and feel bad for us.[2]

The second motive of self-presentation is expressive. We construct an image of ourselves to claim personal identity, and present ourselves in a manner that is consistent with that image.[3] If we feel like this is restricted, we exhibit reactance/be defiant. We try to assert our freedom against those who would seek to curtail our self-presentation expressiveness. A classic example is the idea of the "preacher’s daughter", whose suppressed personal identity and emotions cause an eventual backlash at her family and community.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-presentation
 
I like the rebecca black one. im a huge hater of rebecca black.
 
That GIF never ceases to put a smile and express a huge laugh after. >.<
 
Interesting post +Tom Anderson . This reminds me of a story of a man who suffered some brain damage to his pre-frontal cortex, and forever blurted out the first thing that came to mind. His wife left him because she "discovered who he truly is." But do these thoughts define us?

My initial instinct to this question is "of course the first thing that comes to mind is what we TRULY think", but after a moments thought, perhaps those first thoughts are just random bursts of information our subconscious "feeds" us while our brains think up a better response. Perhaps this is similar to dreaming, does dreaming about cheating on your wife necessarily mean you want to cheat on your wife? I argue no, based on the tiny bit of reading I've done on the subject. Likewise, I think what people decide to post on Facebook is generally a good indicator of their character.

I guess the "correct" way of using social media then should be very similar to the "correct" way of dating/socializing in person. Try to balance being yourself with advertising yourself.
 
People aren't always presenting their best selves in these mediums, they pine for attention and express depression as well. besides, we're only able to express ourselves one post at a time.
 
The most pathetic situation I find it to be "the party" thing, cause it's so true. People on a party prefer to to take pictures and comment the hell out on them on facebook, rather than having fun at that given time.
 
So true!! I sent a video on G+ "explore hangouts" to my face buddies to entice them to join me on G+....99% of people replied "not interested" ..because "face people" enjoy all night chatting random frivolous small talk..no chance would they want to go live online!! Most have virtual online relationships based on pictures dated 2007..hilarious!! For the majority just group voice chatting and better games (to rival zynga) would appeal to the face mob to try out G+ !!
 
i get frustrated reading the news and instead of yelling at the tv like my grandpa, i post to my page along with commentary. i don't think this makes me look good. :D
 
this has probably been said, but don't we do that in real life as well? i'd argue that every time we do anything around people, a part of us is aware of how we're being perceived and is (at some level) trying to mold that perception.
 
+Tom Anderson, great post and thoughtful responses by many here. It's taken me a while to get back to this post after I first read it, but it's been swirling around in my head.

It seems that the conversation has not yet gone far enough, and is only scratching the surface of the reality of our true selves.

Philosopher and theologian +Peter Rollins once said "Facebook is not an idealized reflection of your conscious self...your conscious self is an idealized reflection of you." Fact is that most of us don't really have a grasp on who we really are. We think it's what we think that defines us, or what we say, or what others think about us. We think that the structure that the ego has built up for us over the years is who we really are. Fact is that we don't even know how to really gain access to our true selves - with our without social media...

We are buried behind the idealized picture that ego has given us, then you throw social media on top of it all and we become super-idealized!
 
+Kyle Davis Thanks for returning to this Kyle. Your perspective makes a lot of sense. More food for thought.
TJ Back
 
This pic is so true
 
I'm an exception, I guess. My social media persona is the real me. Maybe being forthright, honest, and confident enough to express an opinion (even when one might be wrong) is a rare thing. I don't know, but with me, what you see is what you get. Sometimes you'll love me; sometimes you'll want to throttle me. 'Nuff said.
 
This was a very thought-provoking post.

I think the way I behave on social media is the way I would at a real-life party where my friends, colleagues, bosses, and elementary school classmates were all there, and anything I said was broadcast to them all and recorded. :)

Of course, I've never been in that situation real-life. So maybe my social media presence isn't me at all. :)
 
Hits a true bone for real..its a good feelings when your all natural down to earth accepting of yourself instead of a fake..
 
Nice post, great introspect on the matter.

But +Tom Anderson you're a wealthy man now, so I'm going to suggest you buy a PARAGRAPH... and use it often.
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