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Jun 01

Separating out our online lives

I’ll start off with a gentle warning. Your feed reader/email box is going to suffer an influx from myself and many other Australian Library bloggers as we participate in the 2nd Annual Blog Every Day of June.

Last year I was in an Acting Branch Manager role, early days, so I had something to talk about pretty much every day. This year I am back to my old job, so once I had committed to doing this, I had to start thinking about what I would blog about. Fortunately, I have had inspiration from many sources, so I have enough topics for a week or so, after that, we’ll see.

I don’t know about you, but just as I have many different faces in the physical world (wife, mother, librarian, church secretary, community group library coordinator, volunteer school book coverer, dog owner, cats owner, Auskick parent, etc, etc), I have now developed (although it took a few years) a few different online lives too.

What got me thinking about this was a chat a had with a friend on an online games site I frequent. This lady lives in the US, we met on this site and all we do is play scrabble against each other and chat. I mentioned something in one of these chats and she was surprised, as in all the time we had been talking online, she hadn’t know this about me. (and no, its nothing scandalous :) )

So I started thinking about how I segment my online life – I am on Facebook with a wide range of personal and professional friends and colleagues and on Twitter with mostly professional friends and colleagues. But then I also frequent two games sites, a couple of fan fic sites, a community group forum and that’s about it (light on I know, compared to many others).

And I realised, that the online is just a digital version of my physical life. Just as I know and interact with many people in the physical world, who only know me at the point at which we interact and around the subject of that interaction, the same occurs in the digital. And I pondered, is this a good or bad thing – both physically and digitally? Do I want people to know me more in either world, or am I OK with the very narrow picture they have of me. Am I happy with the narrow picture I have of them? Should the digital world be different to the physical, or is it really, as I am finding, just an extension of it.

For me, I think I am mostly happy with my lines of separation. As time develops, the boundaries may expand (or contract) with different people, but I think there is value in some level of anonymity in areas in which you are not deeply immersed or committed. What do you think? Should it be different in some way?

 

 

 

 

2 comments

  1. Steph

    I have been pondering the same aspects of my online and offline lives, but you have put it so well! I compartmentalise some parts, and in others the boundaries blur. If you were to take all these aspects together, you have yourself, but that is something with which I’m not entirely comfortable in revealing.

  2. Michelle McLean

    Thanks for commenting. Its always gratifying to know that other people are thinking about the same things you are and I admit that although I wasn’t too sure about the narrow view I share online in most places, by the time I finished the post, I could recognise there was wisdom in doing so.

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