Putting yourself online always feels a bit voyeuristic. As time goes by, I am slowly getting over this thought. By putting ourselves online, we are eliminating trust barriers between each other. The more we know about each other, the less we all have to guess when it comes time to be friends, do business, share information, or whatever human transaction may take place. We are creating a human database that is both studied and evaluated by peers.
However, what we put online is much more deliberate than what we choose to be in real life. After all, we are not going to publish what we are ashamed of in our social profiles. The more degrees of separation stand between us, the more I can continue to control how you see me. This is perhaps why web 2.0 seems so polished and innocent still. I see very few disruptive characters among bloggers, and I’d almost wish I’d see more just to keep it honest.
Anyone who has watched a Twitterstream or follows their work associates on Facebook appreciates that the lines between our business and personal lines has and will now always be blurred. The question is: how do you choose to control it? Are you the same person online and offline, or do you control or even alter your personality because it is now not only observed, but archived?
The easiest way to think of this is through superheroes, of course. In many comics such as Superman, Spiderman, and Batman, the protagonist has double life. The characters seem to cherish both roles–the closeness of relationships with others in the standard life and the power and responsibility of the superhero life. In other comics such as X Men, the hero and the person are the same. Wolverine, although sometimes escaping into solitude as Logan, is always a Mutant. Jean Grey is always Jean Grey and Storm is always Storm. There is no separation of character and alter ego here.
Do you use the internet world to escape or improve your current life? Do you have a deadbeat job and use it as an outlet for your talent? Or do you use it to show what you do on a day to day basis, with no need to escape your current situation? Which superhero are you when you are online?