Online personalities

Rotating profile picturesThis wonderful animation, created by Acorn of www.sevenoaksart.co.uk, is a fair reflection of how I use the internet, as I hope to explain in this post. The two rotating images of flowers are the profile pictures I use on various internet sites such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. I used to have just one, the picture of a red tulip, to serve as me in all sites, but I have been trying to create a distance between myself as a flesh-and-blood, natural, private person on the one hand, and myself as wasaweb, a pseudonym that I have assumed for most of my internet activities, used for example when I take part in online discussions, and as such my public online face, on the other.

Of course the two faces of me, private and public, are never completely separate. However I would like to keep them as distinct from each other as possible. Social networks such as Facebook and Google+ are based on the users providing their real names, and I feel only comfortable sharing certain things with groups of people whom I have come to know reasonably well one way or another. Combining this personal aspect of social networking and my online persona was and is tricky. However, with the likes of Facebook Pages and Google+ Pages, I can set up de facto pseudonymous identities as wasaweb tied to this site, and I decided that I should use two different pictures of flowers to represent me in these two different capacities.

While there are things that I think are best shared or discussed only with certain groups of people, there is also a continuous evolution of ideas and thoughts, that involve both my private and public personae, like the animation. This site is a public outlet for my ideas and thoughts, but often I float ideas on my Google+, or to my friends in conversations initially, before writing them down. Sometimes public posts lead to further discussions and debates, more and better ideas, and end up as the seeds for new articles. Writing publicly here is a particular stage of that continuous cycle of thought, and I do so as an exercise to force me to verbalize the ideas and thoughts, so that something will hopefully come out of them.