constructing a narrative of self on the internet

The generally accepted theory goes like this: the Internet allows people to construct and mold their own story, their own narrative; further, the Internet is a space of creation in which people are not hindered by the restrictions of regular life, such as polite society, government, our jobs, or big business.

My Twitter and my blog serve a purpose beyond social media in the sense of communication with friends; what I choose to write is intentional. I share stories and write about topics about that legitimately interest me, of course, but I also mean to write in a way that opens conversation and perhaps even incites people to reconsider how they perceive a given issue. Ultimately, I am aware of what I post and completely conscious that I am trying to create a brand for myself–create a persona for Kasia Kovacs, writer. 

Of course, there is the problem of living. I’d love to monetize my online presence, not because I’m looking for riches, but because I prefer eating and sleeping in a relatively safe area under a relatively stable roof. This is easy for some people. They have trust funds or parents with money or whatever (at this point, I’m tired of being jealous). But at the same time that I spend hours every day attempting to build up a writer’s persona and spreading my work online, I also need to work from 8 to 5 to skate by with rent and bills. This ain’t Girls, Lena Dunham. And then there’s the tricky business of writing a version of myself which feels honest, while trying to follow my company’s policy of not posting anything “inappropriate,” insensitive,” or “offensive” online. These words seem incredibly subjective to me; does “inappropriate” include sex or gender fluidity or twerking or satirizing someone who has a love affair with cursing? Who decides? I’m not sure, but I know that today I had to further reconsider what I blog and tweet, and I decided to censor myself in order to not run the risk of getting fired.

I get it now. The notion of being able to assert control over one’s own narrative on the Internet is more complex than this assumption that Wild West of the cyberspace refuses to bend to traditional powers of capitalism and big media. Even online, money talks so others will keep quiet.

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