Who are you?

Johnny recently posted this on his blog yesterday:

I had a great conversation with Lisa Ostrikoff earlier this evening about how people are judged by what they do and say online. It started with how most of us out there put in big disclaimers about our views representing ourselves and not the companies we work for. However, there seems to be a fair amount of evidence that shows that people will still tie you to your company or religion or political party or what have you when you voice an opinion online. Why is that?

I've built up an online persona since I had my first CompuServe account. I'm not shy about sharing my opinions and thoughts and I've done it mostly as khurtwilliams ( I briefly used the online handle [ganesha] in the 90s). But Johnny's posting got me thinking, what is my online persona? I'm not so concerned about who's looking as I am about who am I to them.

What better way to find out than to use online tools. I don't know of many, in fact, while writing this the only one that came to mind is Klout. Klout attempts to compute an online score of who you are based on your postings to various social media networks including Facebook, Twitter and Google+. According to Klout I'm a Networker.

You know how to connect to the right people and share what's important to your audience. You generously share your network to help your followers. You have a high level of engagement and an influential audience.

But is that who I am? In some aspects of my life, yes. I love meeting new people and helping people find what they need is something I enjoy doing. But Klout (or any online tool) can not fully capture the nuances of who I am. But unfortunately this is the state of the art of analysis that we have today. If someone wants to find out who I am they will take a look at my Twitter and Google+ postings. They will read my various blogs and they will come away with some opinion of me that is only partly correct.

I think Johnny's point is that your online profiles and persona may be the only impression people have of you. It's the modern-day first impression.