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    Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time. I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.

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This is a really important discussion. As people, we all definitely 'perform' different identities that are appropriate to how we want to be seen by different audiences. Blogs for example are always very carefully considered and scrutinized before they are posted, probably because us professionals are acutely aware of how quick we are to judge any online presence. I know I do this - within 60 seconds I have already decided what I think of that person's work or capabilities - which although unfair - is just human nature.


Interesting points Ray. I think that online people do have a greater degree of control. Construction of the ‘virtual self’ is much more considered than the identity we present in traditional areas. Anonymity, less immediate social ‘traction’ such as embarrassment, confusion, judgment etc. may lead to a more measured projection of ‘self’ online.


All discourse is social. Who can disagree? But as researchers our job is to dig deep and figure out not what people say but what they do and why they do it. We know from the survey methods literature that people answer differently when allowed to fill out a questionnaire themselves with a promise of anonymity than they do when a human being asks the same question. And we know across a variety of topics that the answers they give in self administration are more truthful than those they give to an interviewer. They invent a new self for that moment in time. On social media the moments are much longer and more sustained. It is more performance art than honest communication.

Patt AtHome

I heartily agree, and suspect that this derives, at least in part, from a need for attention; and for contact in lives that are becoming increasingly disconnected, for a variety of reasons, from the "human touch".
A generation, whose brains were hard-wired in bites of information; beginning with Sesame Street and continuing with video games and gaming are naturally comfortable with this as a social environment; for those of us who are a bit older it is more an acquired but no less desirable and even needed outlet for connection and more importantly creativity.
My own current pet peeve is with facebook; where each new improvement reduces the ability for personalization, homogenizing content and reducing the opportunity to "perform".

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