So what, I read the New York Times Fashion & Style section- proudly and unashamed.
Of course, one could argue that by making the above statement, I am admitting to, in part at least, a level of shame. There is trepidation in my words of denial, shining through the cracks of my publicly constructed persona.
And I am constructed.
The exact point being made in the article Authentic? Get Real.
I am not authentic, complete and whole in my on line incarnation of MT Nickerson. My name is Michael, but that is shockingly common when combined with my surname (Nickerson's are prolific child producers it seems, and we like the name Michael). A fair amount of online real estate is taken up by Michael Nickerson. That left me with a few options, and by few, I really mean, hardly any.
I could be Michael T. Nickerson, another Michael Nickerson, M. Theodore Nickerson, Theodore Nickerson or M.T. Nickerson. There are other variations but they are even less appealling and I suppose I have bored everyone enough.
I chose M.T., even with obvious problem; it phonetically sounds like the word empty.
Hi, I am Empty Nickerson. Not super cool, but better the chuckle by some or many, than a long, cumbersome name that remains common and easily lost amongst all the others.
All of this to illustrate my inauthentic self. My first foray into the cyber world was what the NYT article above calls 'calculated authenticity'.
I read recently a post by author Nathan Bransford that dealt with branding, which discusses the idea of online authenticity. Bransford defends the opposite notion, arguing against branding and instead argues for authenticity.
I lean more toward the NYT article than I do with Bransford. We all make choices on what to write, and how to write what we do send out into the world. It is a choice made based on what we want our public image to be and may closely resemble our private selves, but can only ever be an approximation and therefore not wholly authentic.
Nothing wrong with manufactured identities and nothing unusual.
I think it is best as writers to make as close an approximation of our true selves as we can, but to remember that there is purpose behind what we do and so we have to construct and mold our online incarnations to best achieve our goals.
What are your goals?