24 March 2011

Identity: Online Persona

As an introvert working with the public I find people try to envelop me in their perceptions.

Perhaps the most memorable assumption occurred between four and five years ago. My anxiety had wrecked havoc on my digestive system. A couple in their forties or fifties came through my line. I had my hand on my stomach. "Look, she's pregnant," the man said. "Congratulations"

I told him he was mistaken. "I have a stomach ache," I said. I held up my left hand and pointed at my ring finger. "I am not married."

"That doesn't matter anymore." He wanted maintain control of the conversation.

"It does to me." I said it politely enough, but I think he got the point. He had stereotyped me, and I did not appreciate it.

Having an online persona means I can control how I am defined. I tweet as @jmtoole on Twitter. Instead of including a brief bio I use five words to describe myself: believer, writer, crafter, dreamer and entrepreneur. These words reflect my inner perception of myself.

I follow Jesus Christ. My faith is the core of my worldview. I see the Creator's hand guiding a broken world toward His glory.

I am fascinated by written and spoken stories. I have been writing for over half my life. My goal is to become a published author.

I like to create by hand. I have taught myself macramé, knitting, crochet, watercolor, cooking and gardening; although I have no formal training I believe I have an artist's (and designer's) eye. 

If you look closely at my banner for With Eyes Lifted you will see the phrase "Look to the heavens; she shimmers as a star." I am a daydreamer. My head is in the clouds; my thoughts are a million miles away. I can be as silly as a child. I would rather be a bare-foot bohemian than a high-heeled corporate slave. 

I am thrifty. I see the value behind the object, and I have a d.i.y. aesthetic.

My challenge for you is to define your online presence in five words. It will force you to examine yourself, and perhaps rid a few misconceptions others have placed on you.


  1. How rude of that person! Why do people do that? They know nothing about you, and yet feel it's absolutely fine to make very personal proclamations about you. I'm not sure what I would have said, but I think you handled it well!

  2. I have worked with the public for over ten years. It is amazing how self-centered humans can be; it makes me hyper-aware of how I treat people.