Since my introduction to the world of online publishing, I’ve tried my best to be as genuine as possible, sometimes to a fault. I’ve been very transparent on some of my past blogs, talking openly about some of my personal struggles and my victories. On several occasions people have commented that perhaps I’m a bit too transparent online, that maybe I need to tone it down a little.
The topic has come up again as it relates to my use of Twitter. For me, Twitter isn’t a marketing channel or a brand management solution. When people ask, I tell them that who I am on Twitter is the real me. However, it also isn’t the whole me. It’s who I am when I’m in a specific subset of moods, when I have something to say that can be compacted into 140 characters. Of any of my online writing separate from my professional writing, it is really my least personal display of who I am.
In real life, I am almost never terse. I think internally well before I speak out loud. I listen, intently, to what those around me are saying. In a conversation, I soak up every word being spoken to me, and do my best to seek a better understanding if I’m confused about something. I admit that most of the time, I’m wrong about whatever it is I think I know.
I find it very difficult to do any of these things on Twitter. Terseness is championed, listening to everything that’s being said is next to impossible, seeking understanding is even less so, and no matter how much I try, I simply cannot communicate clearly enough that what I say isn’t set in stone. It’s bits and bytes.
I am not trying to say that who I am on Twitter isn’t really me. It is. If I seem like a dick on Twitter, it’s because I’m a dick in real life. If I seem insightful on Twitter, it’s because I’m insightful in real life. If I seem pushy, self-important, humble, caring, compassionate, egotistical, fanatical, abrasive, persuasive, passionate, dissonant, intelligent, mischievous, or stupid on Twitter, it’s because I am. In over 16,000 tweets, I have been all these things. Yet, I am still more. I’ve got 228,338.8 hours under this belt (not to mention about 60 lbs of weight I need to get rid of). There’s simply no way the entirety of my character and personality can be revealed in just a few thousand sound bites.
I promise, I will never judge you based on a few misguided tweets. Leave a stupid comment on a blog somewhere, and I’m sure I can look past it. At the end of the day we’re all just a bunch of humans trying to swim our way through a series of tubes that will hopefully lead us to a deeper level of connection with each other and ourselves.