Process Post #4

written and posted Oct 12 by Mallory Mariano

At this point in the set-up/preliminary beginning stages of my site, I wanted to take a moment to reflect a little on the presentation of the self within online spaces.

The presentation of the self, whether facilitated inter-personally or through the rectangular confines of a smartphone, begins with a deeply rooted sense of self. The act of being self-aware requires self-reflection, of unpacking one’s own insecurities, circumnavigating all the various pieces and cogs that make up the smaller pieces of the larger whole, is not easy.

I think that it is possible for an individual to live out their entire life having not known the full breadth, vastness, or potential of who they are, can, and or ought to be.

This presentation of the self, of course, extends to the online sphere. Publishing oneself, particularly on to that of an online space, can be jarring and scary. Figuring out the kind of content and space you wish to operate in, positioning your content to cater to an audience that may or may not care for what you have to say, configuring and scrutinizing the kind of artistic tone and voice in which you choose to convey your messaging, all of this is daunting and intimidating and suddenly I have an unprecedented amount of respect for the professionals who have to do this sort of thing for a living.

There comes an expectation that all the messiness, all the clutter and dysfunction that define the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of an individual’s life, is to be edited or sloughed off from the whole. This is especially prescient when considering that, there seems to be an unsaid but widely accepted expectation of Millennials and members of Generation-Z to be the pinnacle of media/technology literacy and user capability. Of, somehow, having an automatic and comprehensive understanding of the nuances, minutiae, and inner-workings of all things related to technology. That these preconceived notions would logically lead one to the conclusion that you – as a Millennial or member of Gen-Z, should already know this stuff. This expectation is exacerbated by a sense of portraying ingenuity. Of curating and maintaining a flawless online persona, remiss of any personal or professional failings.

In an Attention Economy, your singular voice only matters so much if there are countless others operating within the same space. Of throwing your hat in a ring that is comprised of millions of others just like yourself, vying for a smidgen of relevance, in a vast sea of vicious competition.

And yet, despite all these considerations, I would argue that finding your voice, especially when cultivated in solitude, is perhaps the singular most important thing to consider when “putting yourself out there” so to speak. It’s a rather pedestrian and obvious observation, but one that I believe is key in navigating a vast online world. I am of the belief that authenticity births connection and engagement, of bridging a gap with that audience that so desperately needs your voice. Your thoughts, opinions. I also am of the belief that community is birthed from individual authenticity.

Skip to content