impression pt.1

October 4, 2010

Everyone knows that I’m not very shy about being online. Having an unusual first/last name pairing has always made me aware that it’s extremely easy to find information about me. But everyone I know personally, I’ve always known in person first. In a nutshell, my online presence has never been someone’s first impression of me. Or – since that’s a total lie – I’ve never personally met anyone who made it obvious that their first impression of me was my online presence.

Then I learned that my newest customer Facebooked me (probably before I even knew I was staffed). I don’t even have anything awful on my Facebook page. But it’s unsettling to feel that your first impression isn’t. Even if I don’t have my favorite movies and books on my profile anymore (since Facebook’s recent changes) – let’s be honest – there’s still a significant amount of judgment.

And I had a discussion with a friend about whether a blog is an appropriate first impression. To him, it isn’t. To him, a blog is often a very distilled version of a person. For example, if you often post when you’re angry or unhappy, that gives off a very specific impression. But you may not be a negative person, that’s just a part of you – and who knows – maybe you get all your negativity out in writing and are never like that in person. So while a blog may give more insight into a person, it might not be a valid first impression.

I’m somewhat of the opposite opinion. Even if your blog tends to be a specific part of your personality, it’s still part of you. Maintaining a personality online that’s not you is almost as much effort as doing it in real-life. It’s tough. And a first impression, even in person, is never going to be a full view of a person’s character. So a blog may be a bad first impression of you, but at least that’s easier to overcome than a bad real life first impression. But it’s weird because even though it’s valid to form that first impression, you can’t as openly refer to it. You can’t mention someone’s Facebook profile in real life as a valid source of knowledge (at least not on a first meeting) – it’s just too awkward, even though it’s pretty standard to your research nowadays.

But the funny thing is, if you read someone’s personal blog, it automatically feels like she’s an open book. It’s somewhat logical. When you public broadcast parts of your life, it’s hard to imagine what parts you wouldn’t share. This is especially true when you can easily find bloggers who share everything (or seemingly everything). And it’s so easy to fill in blanks in that person’s life to fit what you imagine. But like my friend said, it’s like looking at a puzzle that’s only partially finished.

Part 2 coming soon…



  1. Did we ever meet before I caught your blog? I was under the impression I read you blog before we met.

    • Oh my gosh! That’s right; I totally forgot. But I’ve also only met you once in person and not for very long, right? So you’re still probably extremely blog-biased.

      • sniff, sniff….apparently it wasn’t memorable. hehe, just kidding.

        Yeah, you came over to Dan’s but teh primary purpose of my visit was to play some RB, so we didn’t get much conversation in. Ever since then I’ve never seen you in person for more than a couple minutes. Although I’ve seen some video Dan shot before Ian’s wedding in which you feature.

  2. The definition of “Friend” was very confusing to me when I first came to US. Nowadays so many people get to “know” other people online, it almost seems anti-social if one does not follow the trend. However today I read a story on BBC that there’s this rent-a-friend service. Personally I find it very off-putting.

    • What was confusing about it – the definition of friend?

      I think the idea of getting to know each other online is still very new – hence the stigma of online dating, etc.

      • Yes the definition of friend. “Friend” in the American language seems to cover any where from a could-die-for buddy to someone you just met at Burger King. 🙂 ok maybe I am exaggerating a bit.

  3. […] 2: which I actually do not really know how it relates to Part 1 – except they both stemmed from the same thought, but 1 was more general and 2 is more […]

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