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You vs. Your Online Self

3 minutes read

- Written by Yubo Team

User on Yubo, the Social Discovery app

Presenting Yourself Online

In today's digital age, presenting yourself online has become just as important as presenting yourself in person. With the widespread use of social media platforms, online job applications, and virtual meetings, it is crucial to understand the differences between the two.

Firstly, when presenting yourself online, it is important to pay attention to your digital presence and footprint. This includes the content that you might post on social media, as well as the way you communicate through emails and messaging apps. You might have heard stories about people who left unkind or insensitive comments when they were younger that ended up costing them a job later in life. With the significant role the internet plays in modern society, this is entirely possible and could happen to anyone. Potential employers and business partners often do research on individuals before meeting them, and a negative online presence can harm one's chances of being hired or securing partnerships or collaborations. Because of this, it is crucial to maintain a positive online presence by posting appropriate and non-offensive content. However, this is not only about your future employment. The internet has become a great way to make new friends, so having a positive internet presence is important. Whether you realize it or not, you are representing yourself constantly, even when you are not physically present. 

Presenting Yourself In Person

On the flip side, some of the biggest differences when presenting yourself in person involves physical appearance, body language, and verbal communication. In a face-to-face interaction, first impressions are often formed within the first few seconds of meeting someone. It is important to be aware of your body language, as these nonverbal cues can convey a lot about your personality and intentions. Additionally, verbal communication plays a crucial role in presenting yourself in person. It is important to speak clearly and confidently while also being aware of the tone and volume of your voice – something you don't have to worry about when communicating or sharing content online.

Comparing the Two

You have more control over your online presence than your in-person presence. If you are shy or somewhat introverted, or maybe even have social anxiety, you likely feel safer and more confident online. This is a great reason to take your internet presence more seriously. It can help you break the ice with in-person interactions and conversations.

Another difference between presenting yourself online versus in person is the level of control you have over the presentation. When presenting yourself online, you have more control over the content you choose to share and how you present yourself. You can carefully curate your online presence, choosing what to share and what to keep private. However, in a face-to-face interaction, people have less control over how they are perceived. Your physical appearance, body language, and verbal communication are all subject to interpretation and can be influenced by factors outside of your control, such as the environment or the other person's mood. While it might sound nice to have total control over your online presence, life is not meant to be controlled. Life can be messy, but that also makes it exciting and should be embraced. Hopefully, you can learn to laugh about how you got all properly dressed for a hangout, but just before you arrived, the sprinklers turned on and you're soaking wet and have mascara running down your face. Pretty funny when you think about it.

Of course, we can't forget to mention that presenting yourself online allows for a wider audience and a greater reach. Social media platforms and online networking events provide opportunities to connect with other people from all over the world. This can lead to exciting collaborations and opportunities. However, it is important to be aware of the potential for misunderstandings and miscommunication when interacting with individuals from different cultural backgrounds or when using language translation tools.

In contrast, presenting yourself in person can often allow for a deeper level of connection and intimacy. Face-to-face interactions provide opportunities for individuals to build trust and establish rapport with others. This is particularly important in business settings, where personal relationships and trust are often key factors. Additionally, in-person interactions can provide a more holistic view of a person, allowing individuals to see beyond their online persona and get a better sense of their personality and values.

Finally, presenting yourself online versus in person can have different implications for authenticity. Online, individuals have the ability to present a curated version of themselves, highlighting their best qualities and achievements while hiding their flaws and imperfections. While this can be useful in certain contexts, it can also lead to a lack of authenticity and a sense of disconnection between one's online persona and their true self. Conversely, presenting yourself in person requires a higher degree of authenticity, as it is more difficult to hide flaws or put on a false persona in face-to-face interactions.

Presenting yourself online and in person each have their own unique set of challenges and benefits. While online interactions offer greater control and wider reach, face-to-face interactions provide opportunities for deeper connections and authenticity. It is important to be aware of these differences and to tailor your presentation to the specific context and audience. Ultimately, the key to successfully presenting yourself, whether online or in person, is to be authentic, professional, and aware of the impression you are making on others.

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