My web persona (I can’t believe I’m really using that phrase) is like an 18 year old girl. She is not completely clueless; she has a Flickr Pro account, and she knows how to use it. She has a fundamental understanding of Twitter etiquette, but because she’s a stupid teenager, she rarely follows it. She goes out sometimes on the weekend and posts way too much to Tumblr, then spends the week sleeping it off. She gorges herself on Google Reader and Words with Friends and iChat, but eventually can’t take anymore and goes on a strict fast.
Like most 18 year olds, she is full of existential angst. She doesn’t know who she wants to be, or why she should even be at all. Is she a social butterfly? A mysterious recluse? Does the internet universe care either way?
Here’s what I’m driving at with this poorly constructed metaphor: I don’t know who I want to be online. My inclination is to be one of those over-sharing-blogs-every-four-hours types, but something tells me that’s too much, so instead I write nothing. And what kind of community member should I be? I can see why it’d be nice to respond to every reply, email, reblog, comment, and message, but for whatever reason I can’t currently bring myself to do it. I read them all, I enjoy (or mock) them all, but right now it’s hard for me to keep a conversation going online. Maybe I need to be more outgoing. Maybe I need to pare down the seemingly endless channels of communication I frequent.
Whatever the solution, I know the problem. I have such a hard time balancing my internet life that I sometimes avoid it altogether, acting only as a spectator. This means I’m probably missing out on real connections and opportunities, and (I’ve been told) coming across as an asshole.
In the web design community it’s practically a job requirement that you maintain a steadily flourishing presence online, but how do you balance that with your primary role of designer?
Maybe when my web persona is a know-it-all-loves-the-sound-of-her-own-voice twenty-something year old, she’ll have it figured out.