I’d like to know a bit about where and how you engage with others online. Are there particular communities you’d like to focus on today?
I guess broadly speaking, I show parts of the everyday, unfiltered me through social media, forums, comments, etc. and also the ‘at work’ me that overlaps with authentic me but is a much narrower view. I have those two hats and they share the same channels at times but in my mind, and how I communicate, I can tell the difference.
Social media usage is probably the easiest and most defined, so we could talk about that.
So what you’re saying is you don’t keep some channels for “professional” use and others for “personal” use, or special interests. They all blend a bit? I’m curious about your terms “at work me” vs “authentic me”.
Yep, they overlap. They may even be present in the same exchange. I might comment as my everyday self but then somebody will interact and I may feel it might be best to respond as ‘at work’ me.
Authentic me is happy to let it all hang out a bit. I might over-share or tell somebody they’re being a dick or post a stupid photo. It’s less guarded and happy to make mistakes and be naive, curious etc…
‘At work me’ is more considered, un-critical, positive for the most part and aims to be informed and with a definite point of view. It gets interesting when I have to speak as other organisations or brands also. Sometimes I’m just the everyday me, sometimes I’m work me.
You have a lot of hats to wear, when you’re online then.
I think a lot of us do, yeah.
In terms of your own social accounts (so not when you represent other brands), do you generally present yourself as Warren, or are you anonymous? Would people you know offline recognize you?
I’m me on Facebook when using it in a personal capacity. My full name, correct details etc. Super private settings though. For other channels I use for (mostly) personal use I have a pseudonym.
A lot of the people I know today have been connections made online first and then we have met up.
What are the kind of things you tend to discuss the most in these networks?
I think for the most part it’s current events, pop culture (of all kinds). Working in advertising/marketing I have a lot of connections in that area and it’s a pretty consuming field. We’re always talking about how the world is presented in a commercial aspect.
It’s always interesting to see people’s genuine reflections on life. I’m happy to chat with a stranger about their new jam-making or some guy about the bike he wants to buy. There’s lots to talk about.
I think most of us get our news, content and stimulus online so it becomes this weird smoothie of stuff we can share with others.
Do you find you talk about the same things online as you do offline?
Offline I try to stay away from work topics. I think most of us get our news, content and stimulus online so it becomes this weird smoothie of stuff we can share with others… Probably some of the hardest conversations offline are about what I do online.
Why is that do you think?
I guess there’s a lot of context, understanding, and assumptions that we all have in particular places. As soon as you take individual acts out of that space they lose context.
For example, for work recently we dressed up dogs as underdog heroes from pop culture for a specific channel. A dog character assumed a personality and interacted with people in another sub-culture online. It was perfectly normal. If you tried to describe that to somebody who doesn’t have a presence in that space, it’s totally weird. There are norms and standards and expectations in each of these little parts of the online universe and what’s totally legit and normal there may be odd of confronting or shocking elsewhere. Especially offline.
There are norms and standards and expectations in each of these little parts of the online universe and what’s totally legit and normal there may be odd of confronting or shocking elsewhere.
How do you navigate the different norms? How do you know what the etiquette is?
I think you have to spend time there, talk to others about it offline, study it. Watch others. It’s just a learning process. Good platforms give some guidance. Its intimidating at first for many people. ‘Club rules’ keep people out and bring the club tighter together.
Have these rules shaped your own behaviour at any stage?
Oh for sure. The thing is you have a choice. You can say will I gain more than I lose by following the standards here? Hopefully you can view it objectively and assess it for yourself.
I really worry about how women are expected to present their best self in some channels. Instagram is shocking and seems a cess pit of low morale and attention seeking behaviour.
The people who try to be the most themselves are the most interesting but they are rarer and rarer. And seem more perplexed at how so many of us chase the perfect self in these platforms. I think that’s why ephemeral content sharing is so popular now (Snapchat, etc.). There’s no legacy of real moments (in theory).
I sometimes feel when I’m talking with casual acquaintances offline that they have a false view of me, perhaps something I’ve had a hand in. It’s like an odd sci-fi film and I’ve taken over somebody else’s form.
How do you think people perceive you online?
It’s interesting. The more you present stuff that’s endorsed, liked, RT’d etc by the herd the more you lose yourself and the less you like interactions based on that. Some people I meet who may have followed me a bit seem to be interacting with a paper-doll version of who they think I am. It’s disconcerting.
I have very little notion of exactly how I’m perceived but as I mentioned I sometimes feel when I’m talking with casual acquaintances offline that they have a false view of me, perhaps something I’ve had a hand in. It’s like an odd sci-fi film and I’ve take over somebody else’s form.
I do care, yes. I want them to have access to the real me but then I know I’m not skilled at presenting that accurately.
Which is why today it’s so great to meet somebody who doesn’t know you at all, online or offline. A clean slate!
There’s a classic ‘work me’ Instagram image… People around, laughing, good times, wearing something I’m happy to be photographed in…
Here’s a typical unfiltered me image, also Instagram…
What do you have on your head?
It’s a flower stem from a palm tree. Found in my backyard. It was just spontaneous, silly which I think is very important to who I am.