Saturday, January 28, 2012


      Colleen Timothy.  If you follow me here on Cheap Wine and Cookies, and/or on my Facebook, and/or my Twitter (plug, plug), you probably know me, Colleen, pretty well.  If you met me "in real life," though, I think you'd be surprised.

      My online persona really doesn't line up with my real life personna.  Even my Facebook account that isn't linked to my blog, while a closer representation, doesn't completely capture my day-to-day personality.  I suppose that's not surprising.  I mean, can any person really be truely represented virtually?  Probably not.  There is too much else that plays into in person encounters to be replicated in a cyber atmosphere.  But I think some online representations are farther off than others.

      Some people, of course, blatantly lie and misrepresent themselves online.  Some people use their online personnas to try to cover up their pasts or change perceptions they are subject to in real life.  Some people construct elaborate alternate realities online.  Some people are just fake. 

      I'd like to think I'm not one of those people who is just blatantly fake.  I don't have anything to hide.  I'm not trying to come off differently online than I do in real life.  And yet, a discussion I recently had with a co-worker got me to thinking just how different my online life is from my "offline" life.

      You see, there was big drama going on at work.  My workplace is small enough that everyone knows everyone else and gossip spreads like wildfire.  Except around me.  It is as though there is a little bubble around my office that shields me from all that gossip and drama. 

       It's not as though I'm never involved or aware of it, but I am much less embroiled in it than the majority of my co-workers, and the gossip virtually never involves me.  You see, in real life, I am a very private person.  Not so much online, right?  ;-)  I have to same values in real life that I do online, the same opinions, the same family, but I'm not a real big "sharer" normally.

      If something MacGyver is interested in comes up in conversation, I will most certainly talk about him.  But there are only about 4 people I ever discuss my marriage with.  The only reason my co-workers and friends know that I am very happily married is because of the flowers, pictures, plants, and other little tokens that tend to randomly appear in my office.

       I am a very quiet person.  No, seriously.  I hear you snickering.  I don't talk much unless I have something to say, something to contribute.  That doesn't mean I don't talk.  I won't hesitate to weigh in on legal discussions or give lively and detailed answers when aquaintences enquire into my lifestyle (usually ethical eating related).  I am quiet and private, but I am no shrinking violet.  I am confident and capable in the courtroom.  I will not hesitate to stand up for what I believe, even if my opinion is unpopular.  But you'll rarely catch me discussing the weather or pop culture with random people. 

      Occassionally, drama finds me - even in real life.  But even then, it usually falls flat.  Even when there's drama in my real life, I usually only rant about it online.  Unless there is something useful I can actually do with the information in real life, I ignore stuff.  And then kvetch about it online.

      When I find out that my entire workplace is in a tizzy over some drama that I had no idea was going on, I'm not surprised.  Maybe I should be more aware.  Maybe it would be a waste of my energy.  I'm pretty happy just the way I am.

       One thing is for sure, though:  My online personna is not the same as my real life personna.

      How different are you online from real life?

      PS:  I'm starting to fear that the most accurate reflection of me online is Pinterest.  How frightening is that?


Masala Chica said...

I think that while what you share online may be different than what you share with people at work, its not exactly like you are fake in one world and real in another. You just choose to engage differently in both environments. Even here, its not like you are gossipy or catty or anything like that. You are still as genuine a person you can be.

I think when you engage on a personal level too umuch at the office place, it usually bites you in the ass at some point. At the same time, a blog is the greatest way to just put yourself out there and be yourself without worrying too much or too hard.

My problem is sometimes i worry that I share too much on my blog. I don't write it anonymously, but I certainly don't always edit. I USED to, but now I am writing this as a real online journaling experiment, where I am not only genuine, but share fairly emotional things. Sometimes I worry that those things might be used against me professionally, but right now, I am willing to take that risk.

At the end of the day I have worked with some nutty ass people. I just say I am. We always KNEW they were, we just said it behind their backs :-).
Great post, Colleen!

Stephanie @ The Coexist Cafe said...

Totally added you both on Facebook and on Pinterest, by the way. ;)

I'm like you in a lot of respects (maybe it's a Scorpio thing?), and this is of no exception. I'm not huge into sharing my personal life, either, except online... more so on Facebook and when I was privately blogging than on TCC, but several people -- my MIL, my attorney-boss, etc. -- read that, so I tend to keep that a bit more filtered.

A lot of why the drama seems to bounce off you is just as you said: You don't share much, so there isn't a lot to talk about. There isn't anything outwardly negative, so there's nothing to surmise, either. It's not an issue of being "fake", but rather just sharing only that which is entirely necessary. :)

There are far too many people nowadays, at least it appears to me, who tend to over-share. Kind of the opposite. Nothing in their lives is private, nothing is ever not put out on public display. I certainly don't understand that -- there are some things that really *should* stay private, at least so your friends and coworkers aren't like, wow, really? Why are you telling me this? -- except if you maybe think about how platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it almost socially acceptable to overshare like that.

In actuality, no one gives a shit. ;)

Anyway, great post! And if you're half as awesome IRL as you are online, MacGyver's gotta be a pretty happy (or at least very lucky!) guy. :D

My Mercurial Nature said...'s like (IMO), the person I am at work, is different than the person I am at school, is different than the person I am as "Mom", is different as the person I am as wife, and so on. Each hat comes with it's own persona. Which makes me sound like i have multiple personalities. :-/ Pinterest...I love Pinterest!

Katherine said...

I like to think that I'm the same person. Although, I often feel free to share things online that I don't share with real people and visa versa. I'm always wondering how people see me, both online and in person, and can only hope that I come off as real and genuine (and not horrifically annoying, which is always my fear.)

MiMi said...

Yeah, it's like we're the real us in all the different areas of our lives, but we're diff in every area too...

Diandra said...

I think I am more open online... some things simply don't come up in every day conversation, and some things are better left alone when dealing with certain people. Apart from that, it's pretty much the same. I am a one-layer person.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

We are the same. I am very private in real life. I am also pretty quiet, at least at work. With my friends, I am a talker, but definitely NOT the most talkative one, and 100% NOT the most outgoing one.

However, I do think this kind of comes across online. I talk a lot about myself (naturally) on my blog, but I do withhold certain things. So that may not necessarily "come across" as private online, but I guess I am still a little bit "private" if that makes any sense? I think online, as in life, we let people know what we want them to know (if we can help it!) The only thing about real life is that your Mom is probably going to tell Grandma Betsy about all your personal things anyway! At least online people don't know you personally, so they can't tell all your business to everyone else!

Oops. I wrote a book. Okay so maybe I AM talkative. :)

Karen Peterson said...

I think I'm basically the same in real life as I am online. Of course there are some things I'm willing to blog about that I don't talk about in my day-to-day life, but that's just because I tend to be more comfortable with the written word. But so many people that know me in real life read my blog, and it sort of gives me no choice.

There are times I wish my blog were anonymous because there are some things I would LOVE to write about that I feel like I can't.


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