One or Multiple Personas?

A few of the people I follow on Twitter have multiple personas for a variety of reasons. This got me thinking. Some changed their persona name to better reflect who they wish to be in the Twitter world. Others found that too many work colleagues etc knew who they were; this cramped their style. Some found their timelines too busy and wanted to pare things back. Some were hacked and needed to start over. It seems we can build up baggage in these floating worlds that can weigh us down. Some vanish for a while, only to re-emerge with a new name and avi. They give themselves away quite quickly.

No matter how hard we try we are only ever ourselves even if we are playing a character role. And we reveal ourselves no matter how much we try to remain ‘in character’. I have had the same handle but like to change my avi – I have at various times been a set of Vietnamese water puppets in an image I made, a pre-Raphaelite painting, myself and an upside down cat. I am not sure what ‘face’ I will have next. But I know I can never be anyone other than myself. Even if I try on a disguise, I will betray myself and you will spot me.

Others have a couple of twitter handles, one may be associated with a business venture or community, the other is used as a tool for personal expression. I find such machinations fascinating as I try to unravel the new ways of being together in the floating world we create in social media universes.

I have also being trying to figure out whether I want to spend time in Google+. There one can have only one identity but multiple circles of acquaintances that can be kept separate. Perhaps the designers got it wrong. Maybe what people want is a space where they can have multiple personas in the same space to express different aspects of themselves.

I wonder how good we are at spotting people with multiple personas … and how easily can we be fooled by people who create multiple personas …

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9 thoughts on “One or Multiple Personas?

  1. Have to agree with you completely on the “you can’t change who you really are… your true persona”. I don’t want to have to change my ‘handle’ or avatar and just hope and pray I don’t get hacked.

    Interestingly, I followed someone for a short while who, in the space of just one week, changed their ID, name and avatar twice! Still recognised them in each of their new Twitter persona’s; then stopped following them because somehow they worried me; a bit odd; something I couldn’t pit my finger on.

    Anyway, onwards and upwards…

  2. I agree with you that we can only be who we are.
    I find I have too many names, different languages, and so some people know me by one and others by another. Since my Hebrew name (Shachar) means Dawn – and I actually chose it when I was 11 but changed my name legally when I was 19 (added it to my already Debbie), and since the reason I chose the Heb. name is because of the well-known expression – “the moment before dawn is the darkest” – I chose my Alias as Debbie Dawnslight. But, it doesn’t change who I am… I couldn’t run away even if I wanted to.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “handle” or Avatar. Do you mean the picture? Isn’t it Ok to change? Just like changing the color of your hair…?

    • I have two native languages – Russian and English – and a Russian name that has many diminutives (Maria) – Marousia is one of them 🙂 Yes I think it’s fine to change your avatar – its like lipstick and hairstyles for me 🙂

  3. I like to have a different persona in the blogger world… just as this one. I can write what I want to write without anyone judging me or being surprised by it. The freedom is liberating but I use it with caution and care. I know that others use that freedom to rant and put out their dirty laundry for the world to gossip. And I don’t use the twitter any more (like very seldom) as I don’t have a business angle for my blog. It makes sense to use the social media if you have a business eye and want to keep updated with the news or event. Other than that, I find it a waste of time. My dashboard used to be full of tweets of people wanting me to buy this and that with the guise of new post/tweet. I would rather read the news that I want to read in Google news.

  4. There are so many ways. In some identities – for example a persona where one is not connected with a staid or ‘proper’ workplace or family, one could say things more freely, or act in ways that would be problematic in those circles, but still be true to ones-self. You can be ‘you’ in multiple incarnations, just not _all_ of you in each one. It’s not even that you necessarily want to or care to feel or come across as different. It’s sometimes the need to have a place you can let certain things out that ‘the rest of you’ can disavow. Perhaps it’s unfortunate that we can’t all be our complete and whole and unapologetic selves in all circumstances, but multiple personas do allow us to let those sides out in the cases of lives that have those kinds of restrictions.

    • I agree – it’s like having different blogs for different writing voices and genres. I think is Google+ people were really smart they’d find a way of allowing multiple personas as separate unconnected entities in the one account. I think there is a market for it.

  5. Twitter’s 140 char limit is perfect
    Not for every one it’s true
    But as a poet it challenges me
    To trim away the unnecessary
    To say it clearly shortly
    And then shorter again
    Twitter teaches me clarity

    yamabuki

  6. I beelieve 🙂 we all have a wide melody of persona and I don’t believe anyone is trying to fool anybody with the use of different avs … there are many dynamics to why one has different profile pictures & name, one being twitter wont allow you to have the same profile name if you wish to have more than one account for obvious reasons ,,,I have another account because i tweet so much at times that i often find myself locked off my account So i then use the other account .. to continue to tweet… However their are many reasons why one has many different accounts I have never felt that these people are trying somehow to fool anyone.. usually it is if you take a closer look to express on one account perhaps poetry on another their art and so on.. they like to keep these things separate..that for me again the reasons are obvious .. the only time i have found anyone trying to fool anyone is the bully on line that has created a stressful time for someone on twitter making that person feel forced to change their profile and they may have to keep doing this several times this then creates an unfair paranoia for the victims time not wanting or feeling they can speak openly about their situation and fearful because the stalkers followers friends are the same ones as the victims …if you get my drift here… I am so not good at this 140 character narrative lol anyway that is basically my spill on the deal of Multiple Persona … We all have the multiple P some of us are just happy enough having it all spill out on the one stream in the one account the only other thing i can think of is perhaps the multiple account holders are a bit pedantic, they like to have everything in an order of sorts eg the art stream the poetry stream the word game stream and so on just a thought? :*) and nothing wrong or fooling about that ..they just want to be communicating with Fellow Common Grounds so keep their other acts out of the picture.. I don’t see that as fooling anyone. Like Oh another thought Even though say in our off line world at work for example we are friends with our co workers we don’t exactly exchange with them everything we do outside work ..even though we may even spend time outside work with this work friend .. so is that fooling the person you have reached out and made a friendship with and remember on line the friends we make we normally dont know anything about the person other than what we are sharing with each other .. off line we are more likely to know where the person lives have common ground friendships know of each others family members etc.. and we still not share all our MP’s with these people… … so I could go on but Marousia you are likely twiddling your thumbs thinking is this beez ever going to stop Yes right here now going going Gone! …..:)

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