July 8, 2009

Who we are on Twitter is who we are in life

Posted in Social Media tagged at 9:17 pm by R

Sometimes when I log into my Twitter account, I feel like I’m walking into a middle school dance, where the lights are low and balloons fall from the rafters and where everyone has already paired off  to slow dance and I’m left to skirt the edges of the proverbial gym on my own. It’s very Sixteen Candles.


There’s just that moment where I want to stay hidden in the corners and see everything that’s going on, be able to say I was there, but not risk the rejection or embarrassment of stepping solo on to the dance floor.

But, nothing ventured, nothing gained is the name of the game in social media, so I take a deep breath and tweet.

It’s not unlike who I am in real life. In new situations with new people I tend to stick to the walls while I give my self a pep talk, then I eventually dive in with fake-it-till-you-make-it confidence and hope to wind up with new friends and meaningful conversation.

On the other hand, when I’m comfortable and conversing with trusted tweeps, I am happy to be open with ideas, opinions and even personal experiences.

It amazed me when I paused to think about the correlation between my reaction to real life situations and the little flips my stomach do before hitting enter on a tweet.

What if no one responds?

What if my tweet is taken the wrong way?

What if  I inadvertently offend someone?

Now, I’ve been known to over think things. It’s very un-Aries of me. But I do worry how people will react or receive what I’ve said. I want to be liked: In person. On Twitter. And I do believe that’s true for all of us out there in the Twitiverse.

Oh, the fear of being made a fool of, or rejected, on the Twitter-stage!

I suppose my position on this belies own character flaws and insecurities — too sensitive probably, maybe a worry wart — but I don’t think I’m alone…Especially among communicators. We are so trained to say the right thing and deliver the right message that there’s a hint of fear about saying the wrong thing that bleeds over into other areas of our lives. (I’m totally projecting on all communicators. Sorry communicators.)

But with all that being said (all hints of fear aside), who we are in real life is often shaped by strong opinions, wacky world views, unique experiences and even character flaws. It makes us each wonderfully individual and special (just like we Gen-Yers were told 😉  ). So too, who we are on Twitter is shaped by the information we share, the things we choose not to respond to, the responses we craft, the opinion and rants we voice, the pictures we post and stories we tell in 140 characters or less.

Being an active participant in social media requires a dose of bravery. I have preached exactly that there in my non-microblog. You have to engage in conversation, but I have not practiced that paradigm as often as I should.

So, I plan to get brave and follow my own advice. Just maybe it will earn me a few more friends. On Twitter and in real life.




  1. Twitter=personal branding

  2. […] I was unsure how to handle this situation as I was certain this new media was going to get me fired, or at least bring up some questions about my private life. […]

  3. […] I was unsure how to handle this situation as I was certain this new media was going to get me fired, or at least bring up some questions about my private life. […]

  4. Loola said,

    Wow. I totally agree with everything you just wrote. Like you, I am a naturally shy and quiet person. I consider myself quite the wallflower. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get a chance at…being me.

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