All our online personas

I think the first time I “blogged” was back in 1999, when I was 19. I had recently joined college (UNICAMP – Brazil), and found out that I could make a personal webpage. I set up a bare bones green HTML page, added a list of favorite links, and started writing short text called “rants” (the word blog did not exist back then).

Lime Green Webpage
My webpage in 2002, in its lime green glory.

At that time, I never imagined that anyone would read what I was writing, so I poured my heart out. I can’t quite remember what I wrote though. That old webpage has fallen off the web, and even the Wayback Machine only keeps caches of that page starting from 2002.

In 2005, my webpage had a “my desktop” widget. Total poser!

From 2004 to 2010 I started my WordPress blog, together with my life as a graduate student. Thinking about that time, there was a lot of self promotion, trying to sell my image as a “nerd” to myself, of trying to insert myself in a conversation. It looks bad when I write it like this, but it was tremendously beneficial and fun to me. I miss those blogging days.

My trusty webpage in 2007

That said, towards the later half of those years, some things started to change. As I participated in more and more communities, online and offline, my persona started to fragment. Who I was in a forum started to separate from who I was in academia, and who I was in the Blog. As I started to join Social Media, such as Twitter and Facebook, this fragmentation accelerated.

When I started working, this fragmentation reached a peak. Every time I thought about writing something, I wondered about how that would reflect in all my other personas. Not only writing, either. Who am I when I post a game to Ludum Dare? Who am I when I write on my blog? When I post on twitter? I wonder how much of this self-censure led me away from blogging. I see a video that makes me think, but is controversial. Can I post a link to it? I binge on a computer game the whole weekend, is it safe to brag about it online? Can I talk about my fears?

When I was a kid, there was a saying that I like “do not worry about what other people think about you, they are too busy worrying about what you think about them”. And yet I worry. And yet I miss being part of the conversation, even if the conversation is only between me and all the digital ghosts of the blogosphere.

I was thinking about it after watching some video talks from youtubers that I have enjoyed recently. They talked about how to separate their online persona from their private persona when talking about controversial topics. I miss talking, I miss a lot of things.

On the other hand, I have abandoned this place for so long, that I might as well be speaking into the void here (and to Antonio). This thought kinda feels me with determination.

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