Online Persona

23Sep12

Years ago my uncle gave our family an old computer.  My parents didn’t let us use it.  It just sat in my mother’s room.  I was a rebellious kid.  I took an AOL free trial disk, stuck it in the computer, downloaded the internet, and opened my first AIM account, which I used to talk to my school friends behind my parent’s backs.  This was my first experience having an online persona.  I was a lively, talkative AIMer, which differed greatly from who I was at school.  Although I had many friends, at school I was quiet and spoke sparingly.  Online, I would chat with five people at a time.  I even chatted with boys, for it was easier to communicate with them via AIM than in person.  Typing words was easier and faster than speaking out loud for me.

Next came Myspace, which changed my life.  Compared to AIM, I had much more room to create an online persona.  From an old desktop computer I created a whole other dimension of my life.  I took flattering pictures of myself for profile pictures, decorated my profile with abstract backgrounds and pictures of my favorite movie stars or movie scenes, and listed my interests.  On Myspace I was very social like I was with AIM.  Somehow,  I became more social in real life as well.  I may have just outgrown my awkward stage, or my social skills were more developed by this time.

Myspace played a big role in shaping the person I was in real life.  I would see pictures of the different fashions kids my age would wear and copy the ones I liked.  I even learned how to cut my hair by looking at pictures of girls who sported “scene” hairstyles.  In turn I would post pictures of myself with these fashions.  I discovered many bands through Myspace as well.  Never in my life have I been as engrossed in music as I was when I had my Myspace.  It was so easy to find new music online.  I collected hundreds of names of new bands and illegally downloaded their music on my iPod.  Music became a large part of who I was.  My profile song and my list of favorite bands were the things I was most proud of on my page, because they showed that I was a cool, hip, indie- rock band fan who had good taste in music.  In a way, my online Myspace persona slowly became who I really was.

I don’t have much to say about Facebook because I’m not a very big fan of it.  I don’t have as much presence on Facebook as I did with AIM and Myspace.  Besides uploading pictures of yourself, and editing an “About Me” page,  it does not have as much room to create an online persona as Myspace.  I am not like other people who post pictures of themselves at every exciting moment of their lives.  I do not like to let other people know what I am up to by posting statuses detailing every occurance of my day.  I guess I have grown out of the self-advertising phase I went through with Myspace.  Now I understand that who I am online should not necessarily be or determine who I am in real life.  I am annoyed by people who live their lives just to post statuses or upload pictures on Facebook for.  I am also less influenced by other people’s posts.  I do not emulate what I see anymore.  Other people express their online  personas much more elaborately than I do.

Nevertheless I do have an online persona.  I make my words online worthwhile, for I am aware that I have an audience that remembers what I say and applies it to their perception of me.  Every picture online is what other people imagine me to look like today.  Even the little details on my “About Me” page contribute to other people’s idea of me.  I make sure that I don’t regret anything that goes online.  Overall I don’t show much because I don’t want to give my audience everything I’ve got.  I’m more than an online persona.

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