I had an interesting discussion with a friend. At some point, the chat went in the direction of my person. I used the opportunity to ask the question: How do I come across on Twitter? I asked about Twitter because that is where most of my social interactions take place.
The answer came to me as something of a shock. Here is how I was described:
Standoffish, imposing figure. No nonsense person. Say-it-as-it-is person. A little bit of humour but with selected few.
Here are the dictionary definitions of two key words in that profile:
- Standoffish: distant and cold in manner. Unfriendly. Aloof or reserved. Unapproachable.
- Imposing: grand and impressive in appearance.
In my mind, I am the guy who fools around too much on Twitter and should probably pull back a bit and get more serious, and I responded with this to my friend. The response I got was that the impression is probably because of the respect that I have earned and command on the streets of Twitter.
I am still wondering though, What respect? On Twitter, apart from trying to be the court jester, all I ever do is talk about phones…and maybe women.
I don’t run a high-flying business or some great humanitarian organisation that is saving lives around the world. All I do is play with mobile phones and then blog about my experiences (and some other stuff). I have had a mostly crappy year and have several unmet obligations, which in my books means that my credibility is on the line. I suspect too that Mrs. Mo thinks that I am a lousy husband, but has been too polite to say so :-). And if my suspicion is right, she might very well be correct. That doesn’t mean she thinks that I am a bad person (being a good person and a good spouse are not necessarily directly proportional). Some people are just better suited to the single, independent life. The kids do think that I am a great dad, but even about that, what do they know?
So, some people have been respecting…what exactly? No; I don’t have low self esteem issues. I carry myself well enough, thank you. But I believe that like most people, I am smart in some ways and absolutely dumb in others. I just like to say things as they are (at least my friend was on point about that). For example, I agree that I can seem quite imposing. I am blessed with good looks and a physique that many others have to work to attain. I got mine without any effort, and maintaining it has been largely a breeze. I also think that I am a great person in some other ways, but not in the ways that the world regards greatness.
Anyway, the standoffish part really threw me. It is just totally not in sync with the self-portrait in my head. The one thing that our discussion underscored to me is that what one thinks of oneself is not necessarily the impression that other people have of one. And, chances are that if you are the only one who thinks that you are something, then you are wrong and others are right. It is what they see, after all. Crazy world; yeah.
Then, there is the question of how sitting behind a keyboard affects how we interact with others and the impressions passed across. What are the chances that our virtual interactions do not really portray who and how we are accurately, no matter how sincere we are in such interactions? I’m no sociologist or psychologist, so….dunno. But there might be something to that angle, really.
In the meantime, I shall keep trying to attain to that image of the amiable, happy-go-lucky clown that I have in my head. That’s the person that I really want to be in real life and when interacting behind a display and keyboard: friendly, approachable and fun-to-be-with. A goal and resolution for 2014?