Thursday, June 23, 2011

You Are What You Tweet

Anthony Weiner’s Twitter sexting scandal is disturbing and instructive on several levels. Many feel disgust at the content, betrayed by the lies and amazed at the stupidity of sending the messages as public Tweets. However, if all we learn is to be careful about how we send our Tweets, we are missing the bigger lesson.

Initially our online persona is only a reflection of who we are. We begin by crafting our online character to share. We build our profiles and identify our favorite books, movies, television shows and other interests to proclaim who we are and build affinity with others who share those interests.

We refine our online character each time we “like” a post or choose to share or retweet content. Each mouse click changes the persona we project to the world. Each mouse click also changes us. We become one with the medium.

Our brains have evolved to store information through the flow of neurotransmitters from one synapse to the next. The path that the signals take through our brain is reinforced each time we repeat a similar experience. Each individual experience has a small influence on us, but the cumulative effect of those experiences define us.

Since many of us spend hours each week reading, writing, liking and sharing content on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, those sites feed our minds and shape our neural patterns a little more each day. We become what we Tweet.

Do your social networking interactions reflect the person you want to be?

Rep. Anthony Weiner leaves a press conference after admitting to sending a lewd Twitter photo of himself to a woman and then lying about it on June 6, 2011 in New York City. Image by Andrew Burton of Getty Images published at ABC News