Social media provide a wide open space for social exchange and personal expression. This openness is both its strength and its weakness. Anything is possible, and in practice nearly everything does indeed take place online. For anyone entering into this space, you have to choose your online persona. Now that I’ve been posting on this site for six months or so, I thought it would be useful to explain the kind of persona I have chosen to adopt in my blog. Since I like binaries, I have come to think about the alternatives as a choice between two strikingly different personas. It’s easiest to depict them visually, so here they are:
Original oil painting, 8″ x 8″ of a brown rooster head with red comb and wattle. Angry look in his eye.
We are all familiar with the many roosters we encounter online. They like to strut and crow and pick fights. That’s what I want to avoid, both because that’s not who I am and also because it’s not who I want to be. Instead of the rooster, I see myself in the other image above: the contemplative monkey, sitting on a wall with his legs crossed, thinking deep thoughts. It’s good to be a thinker, but it’s also good not to take yourself too seriously — which happens all too often with professors. It’s useful to remind myself from time to time: OK, I’m still just a monkey sitting on the wall. So lighten up.