The Names We Give Ourselves

I gave into the Facebook craze, back when using it was new and pretty necessary.  When you friended people you never even met before going to college, because they were from your state. Or who can forget the time you were friends online with someone but failed to speak to them in real life? Awkward!  Social media underwent some refinement, and more focused forums were born.  I discovered Tweeting and Pinning much later in the game and am still getting acquainted. Personally, I am more fond of Pinterest because it is visually appealing, customizable, and a catalyst for fun projects. Twitter more than fills its niche, though; I just have a problem with brevity perhaps.

Both forums allot the user a limited amount of characters to explain his or herself, like a pitch of sorts. To condense your whole person into a partial paragraph, or a collection of fragments is tricky. Most people want to share as much information as possible, because in essence social media accounts are components of your personal brand. What you post and how you post shape how you're perceived whether you like it or not. And the people/entities you follow comprise the content you are bombarded with day in and out, so choose wisely. Ideally, there will be people that find you just exceptional enough to follow back.

Part of navigating the social media space means wading through users to find what and whom are relevant to your taste. Most intriguing to me is how people describe themselves. A great deal of blurbs I have seen look something like this: I am a motivational speaker, juggler, painter, photographer, dog walker, illusionist, cheese expert, poker player, and firefighter. In my spare time, I catch crocodiles, drink pickle juice, and recite the decimals of pi in reverse.  Ok, not exactly this extreme... but close.

More realistically, people still list off four or five professions in one sentence. And I think, "Wow, what an accomplished human. What have I done!?" But, are we actully all of these things? Likely not, because there are not enough hours in the day to accommodate the exhaustive dedication to each of these fields required to gain proficiency. Unless you have a personal assistant. Then anything is possible, I bet.  

I also ask myself, what are the metrics we use in determining what we are? Is it subjective, based on how we look at ourselves and what traits we most value? For example, if one time I went on a camping trip, have I earned the badge of avid outdoorsman? If one uses Instagram, does that make him or her miraculously a photographer? Or, is it more declarative and indisputable like I am B negative, Diabetic, or Sicilian? You publish a book or get paid to write things; you're a writer. When do we earn the right to say that we are something?

Take this blog for example. I call myself a foodie because I love to eat, not because I know everything there is to know about food or have impeccable taste. The simpler the food the better for me, actually. Good bread and some cheese will suffice. Don't know much about wine. I prefer coffee watered down. Fond of fake sushi (the kind with cooked elements like tempura shrimp). If James takes me to Sonic for a date night, I'm a happy girl. I also just really enjoy the sensory experience of making/eating food. By someone else's assessment, the title may be totally off. Foodie just sounded less gluttonous than eater so I went with it.  

Regardless, we all identify with traits or skills that make us feel worth. If what gives you a feeling of value is also your occupation, then more power to you! Oftentimes home life, hobbies, and volunteer pursuits are where feelings of worth really flourish. Either way, it is clear that people want to contribute, and find their niche. A space all their own in this ellaborate universe.  I for one would like to find the one or two things I can get good enough at to say I am a insert title here. But, there is also something appealing about dabbling. Being well rounded and knowing a little bit about a lot of things. 

In the spirit of social media here are the names I would give myself - Francesca: a contributer, lyric-messer upper, card maker, semi-professional food taster, sticker collector, mystery aficionado, adequate speller, aspiring maker, domestic dabbler, old soul, cookbook hoarder, during-the-movie-question-asker. Most importantly: a grandaughter, daughter, sister, partner, and friend. 

What are yours?