During this week’s series on Facebook life, I’ve tackled:

Twelve Philosophies of Facebook: Which One Are You?

Four Concepts That Will Change How you Use Facebook

Facebook: Like, Share, Comment… carefully (Facebook is a meritocracy, which impacts how we should handle it)

Today I’ll finish out the week by talking about:

Facebook Profiles

Most of us think of our “official profile” as the only one that matters. But in truth, your profile isn’t just your bio info. It’s everything you post, like, share, vent, display, and do online. You’re “putting yourself out there,” so to speak. No matter what your profile picture is about, people are constructing an online avatar for you in their minds. To them, you are what they see, read, and observe—even though what they see is limited, often inaccurate, and coloured by personal bias.

The lesson? I shouldn’t do or say anything online that I wouldn’t do or say in person. Why? Online, people are picturing me saying things and taking their internal snapshot as gospel truth—without the benefit of actually reading my tone and body language.

Now, if the real me died, my Facebook profile would still exist. This wouldn’t mean I was still alive. So my profile isn’t me. Or even really part of me—because if I deleted my entire profile I would still be fully myself.

So what, then, is an online profile? An artificial extension of myself. Emphasis on the word artificial. Online life is complex. I must simultaneously behave as though people see me and my profile as one, while never losing sight of the fact that my profile isn’t me at all. Whew. Trippy.