Yesterday while working I received a chat message in Google Gmail from a colleague on a project I’m working on. These days, just getting a chat message is not a big deal, but as someone from *ahem* the dawn of email, the real time nature of chat still takes some getting used to. Nevertheless, I use chat along with a growing plethora of social network related sites and applications. As a professional and an enthusiast, I’m intrigued by the opportunities these tools present to create a new digital self. But do you create the person you are, or the one you want to become?
I used to joke that I come from the time when people used their real names on the Internet. But in an age of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and soon Google Wave, it seems that that time has come again. While I have no intention of spreading my real name all over the net in anything less than a professional context, I am becoming more comfortable with the notion of embracing a digital self more identified with my real self.
It feels like a second chance to reach out in ways not limited by physical separation, or a dubious set of in-person social skills. Well, I’m not really all that bad in person, but I’m no social butterfly either. In any case, I’m excited by the possibilities and filled with a new courage to be who I am as well as who I want to become.