December 13, 2013

Virtual Self Reflection

Man man blurred and reflected in an elevator mirror

The lines between work and life blur quickly for many internet professionals—myself included. Each blog post, tweet, or photo you share finds its way to a mixed audience of friends, family, colleagues, former clients and potential clients. Personally, I find this limits the subjects I discuss online—you’ll rarely see me branch out beyond the topics of design, surfing, or ginger beer. This primarily stems from a reluctance to share personal details about myself or my family on such a public, and permanent, stage.

Because of my own habits I found it fascinating to read Trent Walton express his concerns that his own fragmented sharing may actually be circling back and influencing his “real life” self.

What I share on the web (and am known for) is mostly work-related. I love that part of my life, but it’s just one part. If I focus too much on that one aspect (Trent-the-worker) I often wonder if I, myself, am in danger of becoming a “poor substitute” in real life.

Nearly everyone I know struggles in some way with separating their online world with the real world. What I find so interesting about Trent’s take is the observation that the limits we place on ourselves in the virtual world can quickly creep into the real world applying similar constraints.