So just what is an online self? The simple answer is that it’s a REpresentation of you, online.
Many of us already have an online self, we just don’t realise it and certainly aren’t conscious about creating it. If you’re on Facebook or any other social media platform, you already have one.
All of your online activities contribute to you online self, so that means:
- What you write, what you tweet, and what you post
- What you share, created by you
- What you share, created by others
- What you comment
- What you private message (note, even this isn’t private)
- The things you ‘like’
- What you retweet, and more.
If you really look and see, you can often build up a pretty accurate picture of who someone is, or certainly who they present themselves to be.
[Side note: How do you think Facebook, Google and other platforms know what adverts to show you, and sometimes manage to show you something spookily relevant to what’s going on in your life?]
Your online self is the self your online activities present you to be – consciously or not.
Why Does An Online Self Matter
If you’re aiming to work online – whether remotely for someone else or to start your own venture online – it makes sense to be more conscious about your online self and who you present yourself to be, doesn’t it?
For people to choose you, to hire you, to pay you, they need to know who you are; who you are matters. (It matters in real life too, doesn’t it? So why not online?).
And you’ll get the most benefit if you show up, as uniquely, authentically you.
Sure, you can ‘hide’, pretend to be someone or something you’re not but ultimately, you’ll be the one who suffers the most from this.
Using online tools to show up as you, to amplify and showcase you in all your glory (or weirdness, or uniqueness!), gives you access to a world you’ve never had access to before.
Online tools can be a hugely powerful tool to connect you with people and opportunities you’d never have access to otherwise…
- Remote jobs and global clients, where you’re no longer restricted by living in a rural community or having to stay at home because it’s not easy for you get out of the house to work or travel to client sites.
- Knowledge and skills, to learn almost anything you want/need to know, often for free.
- People and communities, to connect with, learn from, gain support from, give support to without ever having to leave your sofa.
How To Create Your Online Self
The easiest way to start building your online self if you’re starting with nothing is to start writing.
Share your opinions, what do you feel strongly about?
Where do you stand on the things that matter to you in life?
What have you done that you’re most proud of?
What have you done that you’re least proud of?
What are the most important life lessons you’ve learned?
What are the things that have made you ‘you’?
Which book has had the most impact on you, and why?
Employers of the future are going to be looking for folk who stand out – for folk who know who they are, who aren’t ‘vanilla’ or ‘sheeple’.
You don’t have to have a blog to do this (though I’d highly recommend one!) – you can start by writing posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, a Twitter Megathread or an Instagram carousel post or similar.
Effective written communication is THE most valuable skill to hone when you work online.
While you’ll have video and voice calls, the majority of your communication online will be written. Honing your ability to communicate your thoughts, beliefs, and opinions succinctly, compellingly and effectively is key.
Start writing. You’ll only get better at it the more you do.