Online Zen 5: Online Adolescence and the Two Selves

I’ve been throwing stuff into the Cloud (Internet) only for a year. Online ZEN is just a little bit about how I’m using the Cloud more efficiently to make my life in the physical realm easier. Thanks for joining me in unveiling my rhythm in the Cloud! =)


In a brief portion of this beautifully-articulated presentation below, Amber Case describes how we have 2 selves now: our online self and our offline self. One thing these 2 selves have in common is the adolescent phase just before adulthood.

Teen shoes

Just like in real life, when we first start tweeting, facebooking, youtubing, linkedining, and the like, we feel a bit awkward. We seem a bit unusual to the regular folk. We have a learning curve to get through before things are working smoothly. We have to learn certain manners and etiquette in order for others to connect with us as “adults.” And it all happens outwardly in public in front of your friends and colleagues.

When I first started social media a little over a year ago, I went through an awkward stage. At times I think I’m still going through it, actually. When I see new Twitter people tweet “I need a twitter tutor” I get it. I understand how they feel.

Here are the adolescent questions that have run through my mind before: Are people reading my posts? What if people quit following me on Twitter? What if nobody comments on my Facebook posts? Wonder how my gravatar looks?

Eventually, we have to let go of any expectations about the actions of others, and then we can focus instead on being our authentic selves both online and offline. (Well~ That sounds like a good general rule of thumb for life, too.) Fortunately, there are some awesome resources for etiquette and feeling good about what we put out there in the Cloud!

At the Online Zen CMTE I am offering at the Western Regional Conference in Long Beach on April 3, I’ll be offering some tips to accelerate that social media learning curve, and raise the participants into online adulthood as smoothly as possible.

In the meantime, Chris Brogan writes a fantastic list of social media etiquette.

Do you follow any social media etiquette? Do you ever feel like an online adolescent?

5 Responses to Online Zen 5: Online Adolescence and the Two Selves

  1. JoAnn Jordan March 12, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    The things that jumped out at me were:
    1. We still have a need for self reflection time. Many (especially youth) aren’t taking this time.
    2. The internet is allowing us to be more human – connected to others. The internet image was amazingly beautiful.

    Best of luck with your presentation. I know you will rock it out.

    • Kat Fulton March 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

      The reflection time comments struck me as well. Thanks for reading JoAnn… We’re all in this together =)

  2. CJ Diachenko March 12, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Wow these concepts are so funny and so true! Thanks muchly for passing this along, I can totally relate. When I first discovered I could set my laptop on the piano’s music stand, with a webcam – I truly felt like an awkward 13 yr old again. I’m grateful to have gone through much of my cyborg adolescence *before* plunging head-first into my future career as a music therapist! And I’m thankful to have gained at least a few “cyber chops”, in time for my upcoming blog launch! (april 1st! 😉

    Have fun at the conference – it will be interesting to see how many new blogs are “born” from you presentation. :^)

  3. wendy March 14, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    Hi Kat, I really has such a wonderful time reading this article as I came across familiar lines only spoken inside my hear. I agree that we do get to move on from caring about how: many people, do what, with what we write. The one thing I still find consistent is that I still am two people and I’m not sure if its lack of authenticity that’s the problem. If it is I’m very worried because then it means I only met the real me in cyber space recently. LOL
    This is a much needed conversation, thank you once again and I really appreciate the links, off to them next.

Leave a Reply