I’ve always been reinventing my identity.
Growing up in the new millennium paralleling the growth of technology and social media has not just allowed me express myself in different ways, it has required me to express myself in different ways. When thinking about the story of my digital personal brand, I find it difficult to honestly use the word “authentic” in the description. Why? Because I’ve always calculated my presence in different streams of social media as they’ve emerged or developed in tandem with my own growth as a person.
If I had to reinvent my business’ identity (that business being, well, me), I’d attempt to discard my cynicism for honesty. While it’s my own belief that it’s paradoxical to “try to be authentic” it certainly isn’t inauthentic to try being honest with myself both online and in person.
I’m at a point in my 23-year-old life where I haven’t yet been able to find a sustainable career outside of part-time service work and where I’ve often fluctuated between identities. In high school, I was one person; in university I was another. Now, living back at home with my parents taking an online course on social media while working part-time at a hockey arena – I’m something else. Alongside this progression of my “real life” identity, so too has my digital identity changed with it.
When I was in high school, social media was communication. I almost exclusively used it to communicate with my friends beyond any sort of idea of building an online reputation or image. In university, this changed completely. My identity fluctuated year after year based on the type of person I wished for people to perceive of me. Sometimes I wanted to be the funny guy on social media with the witty, objective commentary. Occasionally, I wanted to be the sincere one who stood up for issues that mattered to me. Other times, I’d just use it to communicate.
Now, more than ever, I’ve focused on social media as a means to enter the professional world. I monitor and criticize my own activity as it might appear to a prospective employer. I don’t keep any of my profiles on private setting because I feel that my personal brand is slowly being fleshed out on social media the way I want it to be. I put a lot of thought into my social media presence nowadays, and even though that might not be the most authentic story to tell, I’m working on it to become at least an honest one.