Saturday, October 24, 2009

Our Identities

I am not a "hype" person. I don't buy designer, instead I buy Indie or Target. I don't own an iPod, instead I own a Zune. I refuse to get an iPhone on principle. It is just too hyped.

But this Twitter thing. It's getting a lot of hype, and much of it makes sense to me. I like the idea of getting software industry links and news updates pushed to me. I don't really care to hear about the various ramblings of people (that's why I have facebook). But I like the premise of sort 140 character thoughts being shared.

I was looking through some old "tweets" by Twitter's CEO, Evan Willams, and read a response of his to a user named BrokeDad.

@brokedad I like your spirit, but I'm concerned about your name. How can you ever be not-broke if it's part of your identity?

Intriguing. And true. And I am not just talking about our online handle, but our general identities. How much of who you are is who you think you are? Williams was referencing BrokeDad's inability to become not-broke, by his name, but what about forming an identity off of who we would like to be. I am not talking about having unrealistic expectations of our abilities. But what if BrokeDad was DimeAtaTimeDad or PiggyBankInflaterDad? We need to see ourselves as the journey and the destination while recognizing where we are.

So, how does this relate to me/you/etc? As a writer I think that it's fairly ingrained that we have a path with a destination so I am not as worried about that particular aspect. I am also not talking about Image, or how we try to project ourselves out into the world, but what we identify ourselves as, deep down in our core. Images lie and I don't find anything wrong with that. Images are for our acquaintances and those we work with but aren't that close to, but an identity is our core.

I guess one's identity needs to be where they want to be, but within reason of what he or she can obtain. It's about keeping on foot in your past and the other in the future, while thinking about how the present can bridge those two. If you define yourself by your past then how can the present be a bridge. A bridge must have two ends. So, if you ignore your past or do not take full assessment of the pieces that form you, how can you keep from falling over?

This sort of brings me back to my inherent dislike for trendy items. Sometimes I feel like people use these items to help form their identities rather than struggle to figure out what their identities are. Sometimes people use what they had been in the past to form it without thinking as much towards the future. Just because you are one thing now doesn't mean that you can't be another later on after growth.

As a writer I think that we identify with certain aspects of writing. Some of us are aspiring. Others are published within a genre. Some aren't published but have a genre that they define themselves by. For example, I am an aspring fantasy writer. Also, going back to @brokedad, a writer doesn't just write. We revise. We market. We do so many things more than just the act of writing.

As a side note, I do have a Twitter account ( While it's trendy, I do like it :)

What is your identity?

8 tidbits:

Charles Gramlich said...

I've about decided I need to get on facebook but I'm not sure I see a role for twitter. I know quite a few folks who are doing it but I probably won't get involved any time soon.

stu said...

The main function of Twitter seems to be to give David Lloyd something to do when he isn't commentating.

I like the idea that writers aren't just concerned with writing, though I suspect that being called "sitting around staring at the blank page waiting for inspiration to strike-ers" might be a touch long.

As for the link between names and identity, this raises the possibility that I am a mere three letter agglomeration, which doesn't exactly leave a lot of storage space.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I thought I'd go on Facebook some time ago, but haven't really done anything on there - I'm not really sure what to do with it!

With regard to identity I agree with you that how we see ourselves is vital - and surely our name does contribute to that.

Barrie said...

I struggled with the whole name thing when starting my blog. I ended up just called it by my first + last name. Not very creative. But I figured I wouldn't get sick of it and want to change it.

Anonymous said...

I know my "identity" of strugglingwriter isn't the best, but I'm meh about that. If I ever do queries and such it will be under my real name, so I'm not too worried.

Also, I'm not a "hype" person either.

Lauren said...

@Charles- Really I only like Twitter for getting info pushed to me. Facebook is too "cluttered" to do that well. Although it's that clutter that makes it nice if you know people on it.

@stu- Yes, I think that while writer doesn't sum it up, it's the best we can get to within a reasonable sylabul count!

@Raph- If your kids are on it it's good to be on it too so that you can keep tabs on them--not so much to make sure they are being good (they can always just put you in a separate group and not push it, anyways although your little giraffes sound too good to have anything to not show). But, it seems to be an interesting way to know about a different side of their lives.

@Barrie- For a published author I think that it's a very good idea to use your real name because of branding related needs.

@writer- I disagree. I think that your name is great. No matter how far we go in our craft we should always be struggling to make it better. No matter how good any of us gets in any aspect of our lives there is always more we could do :)

Robyn Campbell said...

Hype! Not my thing! I'm like you, I don't have an Iphone, I have a Net10.:) And an Ipod but it's a shuffle. So I get where you're coming from. My identity? Robyn Campbell. I write MG adventure and YA Mystery and I loooovvvveeee it. Hey, I shall look you up on twitter my friend. Super post! Thanks. :)

LoveRundle said...

The only thing designer that I am really liking at the moment are pets, but there is no way I'd ever make that kind of money to buy one. (puppy mills, blah!) They're cute to look at in Hollywood though. Everyone has their designer pets, and all the other designer things. I like Target too.

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