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December 17, 2008

More on Personas

Filed under: General,Perspective — Tags: , , , — Bryan @ 9:40 pm

So… who did you pick? Why did you pick that person?

What assumptions did you make about these people based simply on appearances? Even if you elected to talk to neither and walked to the next bus stop, you have just stereotyped two people and modified your behavior based on those stereotypes.

If you spent any time thinking about this you may have come to realize that there is no good answer here.

My point here is that a persona may or may not have anything to do with who a person really is. In fact, who a person really is is a wholly subjective exercise even when conducted by internal reflection (eg, “finding yourself”).

When you interact with anyone, you are marketing your persona, or in other words your personal brand. You may want people to like you so you put on makeup. You may want to be ignored by people so you wear dingy clothes when you go shopping. All of this applies to the online world as well.

Almost every teenager at some point explores this in high school by adopting the fashion common among their peer group. You know… goth kids, preps, etc…

In the off-line world (or as cyberpunk fans call it, Meatspace), people are often limited to what personas they can adopt purely by their physical appearance. But, given enough guile, money, education and peer group affiliations (not necessarily in that order) people can sometimes transcend stereotypes.

So what does this mean in the on-line world? Oh my… You’ll have to come back to find out.

[read the other parts of this series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

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