Nov 22

What Kind of Online Superhero Are You?

What Kind of Online Superhero Are You?
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?

  • John | Retro Code Programming

    The easy solution is to have multiple online personalities 😉 I have one for my family, friends and colleagues and another if I want to talk about anything controversial! :-)

    John | Retro Code Programmings last blog post..Core War – Hostile Programming

  • debutaunt

    I’m a superhero in real life!

    debutaunts last blog post..Chemobama

  • Karim

    Interesting post Michelle. I think eventually we end up bumping against this invisible barrier between the online relationships we have and the ones we have in real life.

    If you’ve got a controversial blog that might let you blow off some steam, but you probably wanna keep it secret so your boss/work/partner/parent etc don’t see it.

    On the other hand people have their professional blogs that are supposed to be about professional subject, but inevitably are contaminated with our personal beliefs, politics, rants etc. It’s a think line to draw indeed. But if I had to pick a super hero to emulate, it’d be batman ;o)

    Karims last blog post..Would Your Marketing Work On You?

  • S

    Totally not related to this post–when your Deb is able have someone update Zoe’s Christmas list, and Deb’s list.

  • Monty

    I love your frank analysis about how the internet is making us more uncomfortably transparent and intimate, erasing “hard” lines between workplace persona, social persona, and etc. And the superhero analogy is ingenious!

    I believe some discretion is called for in most circumstances, especially where one is being labelled and logged. However I’m also much less paranoid about disclosure because, how much can one person really know another anyway? I honestly think I’m sophisticated, cultured, and complex enough that I’m pretty bold about sharing honestly and openly my opinions, activities, and observations. But I do still maintain a division between the “public relations” me and the private me.

    I’m no Superman (dual/invulnerable), but I’m definitely not a Spiderman (emo) either. I was always a fan of Silver Surfer, but I’m probably more like one of the minor/accessory superheros e.g. Green Lantern… haven’t given much cognition to comics in toooooo long, but then, my heros these days are dads and CEO’s and artists and monks.


  • Daniel Edlen

    I try to be as open as I can about Daniel Edlen, the artist, and his art. I hate typing in 3rd person, but it is distinct in action from Daniel Edlen, husband, son-in-law, owner of 3 big dogs. But anything about the art? Totally fair game.

    Daniel Edlens last blog post..Be

  • Jon Bolden

    I would be Design Boy. Mostly because I still feel like a kid.

    Great article. I love your passion for making articles fun but not overdoing it.

  • Jshupe

    Hopefully there are more Superhero’s online than there are villain’s.