Thursday, April 05, 2012

Which is which?

I've slowed down on this blog, and here's why.

I have two different identities. I have my own name, my own identity, online. I'm on Twitter and on Facebook and on myriad other websites, using my given name. I have hundreds of friends IRL - in real life - and hundreds of online connections.

And then there's this identity. This version of me: this identity that I have constructed over eight years, before I had a son. Before Facebook. Before Twitter. Waaaay before Pinterest. My online identity has existed since 2004. I've written about politics, about music, about my family, about popular culture, and a bunch of other things.

And now, I write on Twitter and Facebook and in other places about pop culture, and music, and my family.

See the problem?

So I've had to reassess, constantly, which version of me will exist on this blog. The more I share under my name, the less material I have left for the blog. It sounds odd, but there it is. And the other thing is that I find it somewhat comforting to be able to write under my actual name. I enjoy seeing that there are people who have known me (and met me, and worked with me) who stay in touch with me online.

Every person is a brand now. Every person markets himself and herself with everything they say, everything they tweet, every comment they leave on a blog. And so now I have two brands. It can be a bit confusing at times.

Some people know me on both sides, under both names. A few people. I say things here that I can't say under my own name. Mostly about my employers. (And interestingly, I find that my Twitter stream is mostly used for profane messages about Seattle traffic.)

So there will be things I talk about on both sides. Here, I'm going to talk about my son. My son has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, and I'm going to talk more about in the months and years to come. It's important. And I can be more candid on this blog than I can under my own identity.

It's important for me to talk about it here because some of you have known me for years and years. I know a few of you used to read this blog back when it was a Salon blog. I have longtime readers - I suppose I could say you're friends, at this point.

I'm still going to talk about my son's diagnosis under my real name. But I can be more honest here, more unguarded. I can talk more about my own challenges, my doubts, the struggles.

In both of my identities, I am a political animal. I am a writer. I am a dedicated husband. And I am the father of a boy who has Asperger's Syndrome. Whoever I am, these are the things that will never change.

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