March 31, 2015

Do You Like Internet-You?

The most important thing to almost everyone online is how they portray themselves. From the blogger to the tweeter to the ‘grammer, everyone is trying to create a certain image. It’s just what social media is about.

As a blogger, my goal has always been to make blog-Nicole as similar to real-Nicole as possible. (Ok, maybe a little more interesting and with better hair, but otherwise the same.)

And sometimes, I’m really good at that.

Other times, I’m a little off. There have been times when Derrick’s told me that blog-Nicole came off a little bit sassier than real-Nicole probably would have approved.

And then sometimes, I’m not even close. Sometimes, my mom emails me to hint that my last blog post was more than a few toes over the disrespectful line. Sometimes, I think I’m being silly but in reality, my Easter jokes miss the mark. The Jesus to jellybean balance is a little off, if you know what I mean.

(Or if you don’t know what I mean, basically my attempt to poke fun at the holiday sounded more like a religious statement than me joshing around with a few Peeps.)

After reading my mom's email and rereading my post, I realized that she had a point; even though my intentions were harmless, the post did seem a bit tasteless. So I took it down... Because religious mockery, intentional or unintentional, isn't something I want to be known for. (Tom Brady mockery, fine; Jesus mockery, not so much.)

But I know that just because that post is now sitting unpublished in my drafts doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't exist anymore. Because once you hit publish, tweet, or post, there's no true "undo." The internet never forgets.

(Just ask Joey Casselberry, who'd have been a lot better off if his mom had been following him on Twitter. And if you don't know who Joey is, read this post of Sarah's explaining the situation that earned him the nickname "douchenozzle.")

Now, nowhere in my post did I call a 13-year-old names but Joey's story is still relevant; to me, Joey represents the scariest things about blogging, slightly above the possibility of a creepy, cheeseburger graphic T-shirt wearing stalker following me home from work one day.

I think it's scary to be putting so much of your brain on the web where it never dies and can always come back to haunt you.

Which is why I normally do a lot of thinking before I hit publish. Because once you hit that button, that part of you is out there for everyone, from your grandma to your ex-boyfriend to your potential new employer, to read and to judge. It's something I don't take lightly because in the end, your reputation is everything.

And when I am a numnut who still unintentionally writes something possibly offensive? Well, that's why we have plan B: the mother.