Alice Marwick on Online Authenticity

On social media, we experience what Internet researchers call "context collapse," in that all these facets are flattened into one. We are taxed with trying to perform appropriately to distinct audiences who expect different things from us.

Who should you be online?

That's a seemingly easy question to answer, but one that gets a bit muddier the deeper you delve into it. By now, we've all forged our online identities. We know a bit more about who's listening to us, what they want to hear, and, to a certain extent, what's expected of us.

Alice Marwick's latest piece in The Chronicle caused me to go back and reevaluate how it is that I got here: what factors shaped my thinking as I carved out my social identity? How true is the person I purport myself to be online to the person behind the keyboard? And if I don't like the answers, what can I do about it?

Regardless of your role online, be it professional, sports nut, thought leader, or time-waster, Marwick's piece does what all good writing does: it makes you think about those things you didn't even realize you should be thinking about.

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