This weekend I was at my parents house, standing around the kitchen chatting with my Stepmom. Sometimes I attempt to talk to the non-bloggers in my life about blogging. She’s one of those people who has to hear me use words like sponsor, link up, Pinterest optimization, etc. She also has a plethora (God I love using that word) of ideas and feeds me some good ones. I don’t remember exactly how it came up but she mentioned my “online persona”. “What do you mean?”, I asked, confused. “Who you are on your blog isn’t really you. It’s your online persona.”
In an instant, I felt dishonest. Had I been betraying my readers? Have I been truthful about myself? Who am I, on the internet, if not me? She insisted that it wasn’t a bad thing, but still, it stuck with me.
Later, on the phone with Kaylin, I asked her. “Do you think I have an online persona?”
“Yes,” she replied, no hesitation. “Who you are on your blog isn’t all of you. It’s part of you. I can see you in it.”
I’ve written over 400 blog posts. When you think about it, it seems obvious that I’d never be able to convey exactly who I am, all 25 years of me, in 400 blog posts. There are so many facets of my life that you don’t know about, and never will. There are things I’d be embarrassed to share, things that would embarrass or hurt other people if I shared, and things that are just too private. This isn’t to say that I’m some crazy complex person. It’s just that everyone is an onion. Everyone has a past.
This didn’t just make me think about me. It made me think about you. About other bloggers. Who you are on the internet can never be all of who you are. When I think of what other bloggers don’t know about me, I think about all the things I must not know about them. Sometimes I’ll be reading a blog and realize, huh, she doesn’t talk about this area of her life much. We all have our reasons.
I think what confused me most about discovering my own “online persona” is that it wasn’t done intentionally. I thought I’d been conveying the real me this entire time. I’ve tried to get people who know me in real life to tell me what is different but they can’t pinpoint it. It’s a strange feeling, to feel like I’ve done something wrong in a way. So I guess what I’m asking you to see is that behind the words on your computer screen, there is a whole person. If you’re reading this, you’re a whole person too. No 400, or hell 4,000 blog posts could possibly convey the whole of who you are. That’s what makes life online both beautiful and dangerous.