One of the beauties of the online world is getting to know people you never would have met otherwise, learning their likes and dislikes, getting a peek into their world. There are so many gals I call dear friends that live across the country from me, hundreds to thousands of miles away. But along with such friendships and opportunities comes a second side of the internet where people hide who they are and put out an entirely different persona. That's the risk we take putting it all out there and trusting the frequently filtered and edited sides of people they choose to share. Today's prompt is a response to that dilemma.
Wednesday, September 16: The real you vs. the online you. Are they the same or different?
I would hope that I am the same person in real life that I am online, but I know that I often draw a line between the two, both intentionally and accidentally.
In real life I am the often frenzied, anxious, over-scheduled grad student, bolting from class to project to work to rehearsal and back again. My apartment is a wreck six days out of seven, I get much less sleep than I should, and theatre overwhelms my days. Several days a week I throw my hair in a bun and headband and barely make it to class on time, watch Disney movies on repeat when I'm doing homework, and let the dishes pile up on particularly busy weeks. It isn't glamorous, but it's part of this season, and much of that I don't document for all to see.
Online, especially on Instagram, you get a more curated feed: prettily arranged pictures, snaps of the clean corners of my living room, selfies sent through Pic-Tap-Go and VSCO more than once. I can share an encouraging word and share scripture with ease, even when my heart isn't feeling it on the other side of the screen.
But sometimes it's easier to be real about those things, the hard times and the tough spots, to write them out in an Instagram post or on the blog, than try to wrap my mind around it on my own. And the online community has flung the doors open, shining light on the lies we all too often believe that we are in this alone, providing a chorus of "Oh, me too!" to give us support, strength, and courage.
It's only been within the past year that I've started sharing more freely about life as a theatre artist. I used to apologize when I tried to explain to people what I did or what I was passionate about, writing it off as weird and too difficult to understand so I wouldn't feel bad when other people felt that way about it. My calling, my craft, isn't the norm, but it's MINE and something I absolutely believe the Lord has placed in my life. Even if I lose followers when I share rehearsal shots or details about the scenic shop (is it sad that I know it happens most of the time?) I want to share boldly and truthfully.
The online world is a funny thing, and I'm constantly looking for ways to navigate the offline-online balance. I don't always do it well, but I think beginning the attempt is half the battle. How do you manage it? What does the balance look like in your world?
What about your online presence? Is there a divide?
Who is the real you vs. the online you?