Multiple social identity (dis)order

I like to believe I am pretty honest and straightforward. I do not like the fake, and I am not a fan of the airbrushed. Half of my job depends on my ability to see through the facades people project to find and in some respects, judge, the character and potential beneath.

And I am damn good at it.

But here’s the thing: I am coming to believe in the necessity of multiple personalities and identities. Where blood types and hair color used to be enough to identify bodies, we now have to use DNA to really make sure. And these days, the same level of research seems critical to figuring out who the heck you’re dealing with on a daily basis.

No longer are these judgements based on resumes and simple conversation. You now have to cross-reference LinkedIn profiles versus Twitter feeds versus Facebook. And in some cases you’ll find all 3 vastly different, and that is not by accident.

Even on a micro-level, we compartmentalize our identities more and more, and with social media that trend expands. I am attempting to write not one, but two blogs: one that speaks to me, myself and my experiences and the other to those as they relate to my kids. Why? Because even though I am the same person and tied to my world in both ways, there are some people who dig reading about kids and my stories there and others who just don’t.

I would add a third blog to cover my career gal side if I had time. My work life is catalogued on LinkedIn, my personal on Facebook, and other parts of me scattered among blogs and hash tags. Fragments of who I am show up all over the internet.

I don’t think I am less of a person, less deep, or less kind (usually). I am still me. But adaptation to the social landscape comes at a price: using
so many different outlets for connection and business and self-expression shapes our identities as well. The very tools we use to craft our outward identities change us and the way we think in the process.

I am Google-optimized. That can feel scary, and occasionally leaves me feeling fragmented. But I try to believe I am becoming more of a person, not less, and that we grow to fit not shrink the identities we develop – at least I pray that is the case.

To keep myself sane, I make a conscious effort to step away from the machines, the laptops the iPhone and television and unplug. I play with my kids, pet the dog, and drink a glass of wine on the porch.

Call a friend you usually text message and see them in person. Remind yourself (and them)  how much more you are than your status update or latest tweet. That’s what I do anyway. And if maybe you are feeling a little fragmented and overwhelmed by all the social media in your life, you can try it too.

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