Day 177. Multiple hats

In february 2013 on February 5, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Batwoman copy

How many professional hats, or identities, do you wear each week? Each day? Each hour?

Over the course of each week, I switch roles and responsibilities back and forth many times, from work personas – as a blogger, an article and report writer, a coordinator, an occasional scientist –  to more personal roles including being a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend. It’s busy and often exhausting, but I like my life that way and wouldn’t swap it.

However, it also does throw up another conundrum. Working in the online world, it can be hard to know which part(s) of me to represent and how much to give away. Is the blogging me different from the mothering me? Is the writing Sarah totally separate from the at-home-parenting Sarah? Am I a scientist all the time, or only when it suits me?

The bottom line is I often grapple with how to present myself online, how much I can safely and comfortably give away.

Given this bit of background, watching and discussing ScienceOnline 2013 sessions addressing issues of online identity and wearing multiple hats resonated strongly with me this past weekend. I’m still sorting it all out in my head.

Knowing I’m not alone in my internal wonderings is a great help. In preparation for hosting the identity session I mentioned above, writer Scicurious put together a fabulous article on the conundrum of online identity by presenting the case of Batwoman.

In expanding to the broader situation, she says,

While we are, none of us, superheroes, we can face similar problems of identity on the internet. Keeping up a wall can keep people away. But it can also keep you safe. On the other side, telling all can lend a lot of power to your words. It makes people identify with you, it makes people feel like they know you. It lends veracity to your statements, and can reveal deep and powerful feelings. But it also makes you vulnerable. Your identity can bring on attacks, just for being who you are. But it can also bring respect, as people see your bonafides. In theory, if what you’re writing is good, that shouldn’t matter. But in the reality of the internet, it’s something to be kept in mind.

Now, where did I put my cape?

  1. […] were great and stimulated lost of thinking and conversation. Sarah has already written about juggling roles and identity as a response to those sessions, and both she and Kristin have written responses to the session on […]

  2. […] is, the reasons that made me pull it down are the same reasons that so many people liked it. As discussed at the recent ScienceOnline2013 conference, personal stuff hits a […]

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