How many people am I (or should I be) online?

I was reading this morning on Twitter that LinkedIn will allow status comments soon (or it already is). And over the weekend I was looking at ping.fm which allows the status updating of multiple media at once.  (there are several other services that will do this too)  So, for example, configuring your ping account means you can update facebook, twitter and tumblr (and many others) in one hit…

Social_media  Now, for some time now I have wondered about the wisdom of having stuff about me available online.  This is nothing new of course and people have, for some time now, wondered how sensible it might be for your potential new employer to see that tagged photo of you on facebook pissed out of your head.  Additionally, the facebook status of 'Carl is pissed off with his job' might not do many favors with one's current employer either….

So, I suppose over the last couple of years I've got to thinking (mistakingly I might add) that certain people may not see my facebook page, for example, and that I should try and be quite sensible and professional with this blog -  Facebook for 'fun' Carl and blog for more serious Carl.  Of course, now, those people at work who wouldn't have had a facebook account just a year or so ago now have one as its becaome more and more mainstream.  Tonight I have a Teleconference and any idle twittering about how bored I might get (although I'm sure it won't be) will be immediately updated on my facebook page and of course some of the call participants are my friends on facebook….. and so on….

So very quickly I've moved from nothing online to using different platforms that evolved from fundamentally different directions to using tools that are now encouraging me to merge these multiple personalities into one.  These tools for maintaining that 'one onlne person' across all the media are great in what they do and, at the same time, are encouraging me to think that I just have to jump in and simply be one 'online person' and stop worrying about it. 

It's probably the case that more experienced bloggers who use facbook and twitter have come to a conclusion on this some time ago on this.

I'd like comments though.

2 responses to “How many people am I (or should I be) online?”

  1. Jonny Watson says:

    At first the idea of facebook was great, you can keep up to date with all your friends and family. After being on facebook for many years now i guess, it really do think it becomes a infection. I know i am focusing mainly on facebook were your blog is directed at the wider use of these social network tools, but facebook offers the greatest range of information to anyone wanting to find out what you are doing. Twitter and such like only offer a snap shot of your life really.
    An example that is close to home is something that happened to me last night, i have started to get weened off facebook, but a few weeks ago i changed my status to reflect my dissatisfaction at my job. Since then i have changed the status but as facebook keeps a trail of all my status someone at work found it, and mentioned it to my boss. He in turn called me into his office and asked me about it. I had to explain about why i had mentioned it.
    My last example (can you tell i am bored at work yet??) is potentially more destructive. My parents are currently going though a messy divorce. Both parents have moved on and have new partners, but recently my farther managed to find a picture of my mom and new partner on facebook. This wasn’t a great idea on my fathers behalf….I really think that all this online information history can be dangours in certain situations. Facebook = Online Big Brother.
    Was that too much info for a blog comment?? lol

  2. Martial Miles says:

    References like “Facebook for ‘fun’ Carl and blog for more serious Carl”, “platforms” imply a premise which may be worthy of comment: that such applications may be construed in the first place as spaces, and then as such, inhabited by persons or, at one remove yet, “personality” or “personalities”. Once the concept of “space” is posited, the concept of “personalities” existing within these spaces is justified, and we can legitimately consider that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or whatever platform can be spaces that represent a part of us, as much as a stage represents an actor, the character and the work of an actor. An actor is fully himself and fully not himself on stage, but the stage has confines determined by conventions that we have come to acknowledge and that permit us the luxury of a “double personality”, and we do not expect the actor to be the same on stage and off stage.
    In much the same way, social networking applications are a new kind of stage, where people can play, be themselves or can “perform”, relate with an audience, develop a following, and obtain feedback. And we do ourselves good to recognize the “nature” of these applications as “stage” or “performance space” (where our words and “actions” are amplified, acquire visibility, and become more open to interpretation), and develop our online identities with this in mind. Just as we *generally* do not parade nude through the local bookstore, we do not need to, nor are we expected to be “stark naked” in cyberspace. We dress our part when we go to work, the same establishment of “register”, “code of dress/conduct” (or whatever we should call it) should likely be applied to our online presence, just as on the other hand, we do not really need to bring all of ourselves into this medium nor do so to the degree that it may be compromising to one or another aspect of our lives.
    In this light, the choice of merging multiple personalities or keeping these discrete probably becomes a more relaxed one; even if, perhaps it stands conditioned by the scope of each application. LinkedIn may not favour vacation photos, nor Facebook lend itself to delightful “mingling in a large room full of interesting people” that seems to take place in Twitter, and Twitter excludes blogs. Each provides a different kind of space and conditions the personality that can emerge, just as acting for film makes for smaller gestures than acting for an auditorium full of people.
    In such a context, coherence may just be the key: not so much the merging of multiple personalities into one, but the existence of multiple online personalities (which would make sense as each application on the market offers something different to distinguish itself) that are all part of a single, multifaceted person who… in any case must live at least half his life outside the online space.

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