There are several people that would assume that I keep my eyes open for any coverage about myself and my community involvement escapades. I don’t mean to disappoint those of you who think that I do pay close attention, but I don’t (at least not as much as people think I do).
It’s not that I don’t have a Google Alerts email telling me about when my name appears on the web – I finally set up one of those about six months ago. I probably don’t care as much as I should about it – I’m not even really sure that I look at it often enough – they currently filter into a folder.
I also do keep up with some of the appearances in print, including one I recently shared on The Terminal.
I’ve read posts about people worrying about their personal brands. As a result, I know that I should probably be paying better attention to what’s being said about mine. Or should I?
The weird thing is that I will still only know what’s out there online about me. There are still the backroom discussions that take place and people that will say things negative about you regardless. The longer I keep staying plugged into the virtual world, the more I realize that my skin isn’t quite thick enough. Hopefully it will get better the longer I stay engaged.
That said, there are many Sundays when I walk into the fellowship hall at First United Methodist Church here in Birmingham that I’m stopped and handed an envelope or two containing a news clipping about me from earlier in the week. I’m grateful since it keeps me from having to face the music of not knowing what’s out there about me and allows me to have something to send my mother whenever she asks what’s going on. It also doesn’t hurt to be able to provide proof to my father that I’m actually attempting to do something with my life.
Most importantly, it lets me know that someone cares, which is important to know sometimes.
Those of us who choose to use these social networks do so knowing that we are being placed under a microscope for others to take a closer look into our worlds. Whether we try to be “real” or “fake” as we get started, over time our true selves eventually show through, and it should be OK.
Perhaps I should be concerned about whether or not there are photos of me at the bar or hanging out with friends. Maybe I should be concerend about sharing my religious and political beliefs with those that are supposed to be my online “friends.” But I got into this world to interact with new and different people, both on and off line. I’m hoping that my identity is one that I’m proud of, regardless of what I do.
Shouldn’t people have the chance to know who I am completely, even though they will still choose to filter out what they don’t want to know?
Do you even need to keep that alert active then?