Deb’s note: I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago and left it in “draft” for proofreading. As I acted on other blog post ideas, this hung out on the backburner for a while. I found it today and thought it might make an interesting discussion in light of recent events. I didn’t change any of the wording around before posting today.
What you think you see may not be what you get
When I was at BlogWorld in October, I met one of my clients for lunch. She said, “I’m so relieved you’re exactly who you are online.” She told me she met with another of her freelancers at the event and said he was very different from his online persona and she felt rather betrayed.
The anonymity factor
I think about this a lot lately. In the real world, I enjoy friendships and socializing but I’m also a little shy. I never had as many friends offline as I do online.
When it comes to presenting myself and meeting with others, I need a giant confidence boost. I once even spent the hour before a speaking engagement throwing up in the ladies room. Am I a different person because I’m more confident online?
Confidence aside, I talk the same, I write the same and I do business the same online and offline.
I wonder if many of us who spend a great deal of time cultivating online relationships consider whether we have extra “keyboard courage.” I wonder how many of are more confident when we don’t have to make phone calls or attend client meetings. I wonder how many of us are web based writers because of the anonymity the web provides?
Would we be able to achieve this level of success if there was no Internet?
Here’s what keeps me in check. My son is 7 years old. Except for the rare computer game or parentally-approved web search, he doesn’t spend much time online. Before he logs on I tell him to let me know if anyone tries to talk with him. I explain that sometimes people online pretend to be someone they’re not and it’s not always for good reasons.I keep this in mind when I do business. I don’t want to be one of the people I warn my son about.
I imagine it must be very disappointing to find out someone with whom you built a personal or client based relation isn’t who he (or she ) says he is. Maybe that’s why I enjoy online and offline relationships so much. They keep me honest.
Are you the same person online as offline?