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 …