How I Speak in One Voice

Participating in online communication with friends and family who know you off-line is the ultimate in worlds colliding. I was upstairs on my computer, and this update appeared on my Facebook feed: (Insert my teen’s name) “is trying to convince her sister it’s her turn to play Mario Kart.”

Obviously, she was downstairs on Facebook, wanting to get on the Wii when I thought she was doing something else. My first thought, “Ahh, a glimpse into the life of my daughter that I’m not sure she wanted me to see.”

The instinct that followed was to comment with something like this, “Shouldn’t you be doing your assignment?”

Fortunately, I did have a second thought, “I need to allow her room to make her own choices in public just as I would in private.” I resisted making the comment.

With the explosion of information on the Internet, as a culture, we’re asking ourselves, “How much do I say publicly? What do I keep private?” But, after reading this post about the genuineness of our status updates, I wonder if the question shouldn’t be, “Do I speak with one voice?”

Let me give you an example. I am on two social media networks: Facebook and Twitter. I have or have had an in-person relationship with all but one of my Facebook friends. On the other hand, I have only met, in person, three of those who follow me or who I follow on Twitter.

After several weeks of using Twitter, I decided to allow my Twitter feeds to also be my Facebook Status. After I combined the two, I would hesitate and ask,  “Is what I say on Twitter making sense to my Facebook friends?” (I mean, honestly, how many of them understand what RT stands for?)

Rather than removing the feed from Facebook, I brought my words together into one voice to cover all my worlds. To do that, I asked myself a few questions:

1. Would this link that I am retweeting benefit my family and friends on Facebook, too? Gone went the retweeting to just gain approval of others in online communities.

2. Would this update just consist of what I am doing at this minute, like I’d been accustomed to giving on Facebook “is” statements? Gone went the generic updates about what I was actually doing, but in came my genuine thoughts and personality.

3. Would the frequency of my Twitter updates appear to my Facebook friends like I live online? Gone went the need to spend my day tweeting to a virtual world at the expense of living in a real one.

The resulting voice is more me than ever in all my worlds—online in social media, on my website and off-line with my friends and family in real life.  In particular, my writing on my website and the book-length story I’m writing now work hand-in-hand. And that means I can move from writing at one to the other without feeling schizophrenic.

While public communication is about marketing to a specific audience, when I take my private communication out into the public, I’m choosing to not market myself and just be myself.

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2 Comments

  1. allysha
    Mar 9, 2009

    I like the ideas in this post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. An Ordinary Mom
    Mar 11, 2009

    Blogging topics, Facebook status updates, twitter updates … this social networking phenomenon is so incredibly interesting.

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