Edited Versions of Ourselves

I was watching a TED Talks segment about online editing of our personas and how many people will become anxious in "real life" conversation because of the inability to modify a thought once spoken.

I can't understand the anxiety but I understand as well as anyone the alterations made to the self gone digital.  Everyone trying to build a business through social media knows it, and does it.  We must.  If we spoke of our disgusting habits, quirky obsessions, every bad day imaginable, (and then some) we would alienate consumers/readers.

How, then, do you tailor yourself without coming off fake?  It's not always easy, especially for those of us who are the brand we promote, like writers.  But the main thing to focus on is subtraction, not addition.

Do not make things up, people will find out.
Do not embellish, you won't know (or remember) the truth.
Do not step on others for gain, things come back around.
Do not drag in friends/family into your brand, unless they want to help.
Do not share every negative day (once in awhile is fine).
Do not use unprofessional language, unless it is part of your image.

See?  Subtraction.  Of course, I could go on and (of course) there are things you should/could do and say.  But never do anything totally out of character unless for a good reason.  The reason addition is something I don't really recommend is simply because it is too easy to come off as a phony or liar, not good.

Bottom line:  Omit and alter only when necessary but try to let in as much of the "real" you in as possible.  Everyone likes the genuine article, even when a few lines are whited-out as per government instruction.

How do you edit yourself?  How much editing should a person do?


  1. Very helpful guide for everyone!

    1. It's just my take on it.
      If you want to add anything, go ahead.

  2. This is very wise advice with good points to follow. I try to be careful with what appears in print, but I probably slip up more often than I should. I'm much worse in conversation if I start getting comfortable with whomever I am talking to. Sometimes I'll let things slip that I shouldn't have said. Mostly though I think I do a pretty good job of self-editing.

    Excellent post well worth remembering.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Thank you.
      I'm certain we've all had mistakes sent out somewhere in the Cyberverse. I suppose we can only move forward and hope the spots on our digital record become more buried than my poetry submission in the New Yorker slush pile.