Fragmentation: Profile reality vs the real you.

Sometimes, when all of this manic activity reaches a crescendo, it’s like a light goes on, everything slows down, and I realise that in all of my ‘connectedness’ I’ve become fragmented.

I think we all have in some strange way.

This new social “presentation layer of ourselves” has created the ability to obscure who we really are. The proliferation of online tools to connect us has in fact added an 11th dimension of  ” you and me”.

This “me” is the culmination of multiple profiles, addresses, IP’s, devices, conversations, comments, tweets, photos, journals, presentations, videos, music, book selections, apps, purchases, locations, pathways, and more.

All of these various facets of  “you and me”  also represent a space in time. I think back to my first profile  in 1997 and compare it to now. What my profile represented of “me”  back then was something entirely different, to what is written now. Yet it still exists and both are true.

This 11th dimension of “me” has while interacting over various levels of time, created my own personal story that is seemingly linear. However, for the end-user who searches for me,  the results can be a mix of  fragmented, unrelated, apparently unified results, which define the person at a glance, but is not representative of the whole.

This is where the fragmentation lies, in-between the snippets we reveal over time, their continued existence online, and the perception of the end-user to this information.

As humans, we make ‘snap judgements’, we connect based on similarities, we group together when we feel we belong. We do it this in our  “waking world” and also in the virtual one.

However, in our waking lives, rarely do we have the opportunity to present different versions of ourselves at exactly the same time, and also to go back – Orwellian style and rewrite history.

Interestingly, in order to appear as “whole” and connected nay, credible online, we need to align all of these facets and point them in one direction, make them consistent for the person who searches on us. To create a “brand” of personality. To create a “presence”.

The question is, should we rewrite what was?

I know my gangly teenage limbs are thrashing about out there in the online world, and part of me wishes I could lock her under the stairs never to be seen again but on the other hand, it’s a truth about me at a particular moment of time. We are the sum of our parts, past and present, and hopefully the future.

If social media is the catalyst for a more connected universe, who are we connecting with? Are you presenting the sum, the parts, who you really want to be or who you really are?

Published by Claire Spencer

Senior social media specialist combining mindfulness with content to build a better world.

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