As my social media course winds to its conclusion, I am reflecting back on the first decision I made in the course: how much of myself do I reveal?
At the beginning of the course, I made the decision to post the educational blogs as myself, interwoven into the fabric of my current website. Deciding the my identity was not to be fractured, but yet would be revealed as a whole expression. Although the facets may not make sense (educator? yogi? romantic love guru? sugar free paleo experimenter?), altogether they are a shadowy expression of my own unique digital identity. Just a each thumbprint is unique, each person creates their own unique digital imprint in the world. Each personal learning network is unique – indeed, we are the hub of our own experience and learning – so why would I minimize or flatten this experience in order to placate my readers that I am easily one-dimensional? Knowing that we are all lovers, haters, humble monks, as well as arrogant sons of bitches, can we not expand our own minds to hold the beautiful contradiction and complexity of another human being?
Perhaps our editorializing of ourselves is safety. We fear to reveal our idiosyncrasies because we are afraid that our lack of neat edges speaks to loose ends and irresponsibility. Or that we are protecting our image from those who may be confused by our speaks to our complexity or our humanity (“no, Mom, at the age of forty, I’ve never been drunk, I swear”). Or maybe we are revealed in our silly humanity, taking selfies and proclaiming our ill acts to the world when perhaps we should just let the moment live without a digital archive (are we afraid if we don’t record it that it will be gone forever?).
At any rate, I am well-pleased with my results. Rather than attempt to box my expression into narrow corridors of branding, I am satisfied by the new aspects of self that have been uncovered through this process. A sugar free nut. A budding educator. Why not? Is not the world wide web a glorious tool for self-expression and exploration?
When I was an actor, my teacher used to berate us when we made our characters logical. “Don’t dull the extremes,” she snapped, “it’s boring. We love the contradictions!” Linear organization and simplicity may be aesthetically pleasing, but there is an equal beauty in the complicated weave and dance of fractals.