Aspiring or becoming?

I stumbled across this interesting blog entry by Lea Woodward the other day, which comments on how we describe ourselves in those 160 characters of ‘Bio’ information on Twitter profiles. Apparently, there is a tendency towards describing ourselves as ‘aspiring X’, indicating who we would like to become (X), rather than who we are. Such statements are reminiscent of the lady in the photo above; they use the Twitter Bio as viewpoint from which to gaze wistfully into the far distance. A popular one is ‘aspiring location independent’, indicating the desire to be able to roam the world unfettered and do our thing wherever, which seems very romantic… in principle.

I haven’t noticed this, but I am new to Twitter and am there as a professional scientist, relating to others in a similar line of work or the relevant professional bodies. The people I’m connected to are more than happy to list their actual credentials and – on the whole – wouldn’t dare blag it. In many cases, myself included, we tweet as a form of personal marketing. I can’t speak for everyone in my corner of the Twittersphere, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be accused of false advertising.

It did get me thinking, though, about how we over-inflate ourselves in these settings to look bigger than we are… like a territorial cat with its fur on end. Does our present condition and status look so mean and small compared to the other occupants of Twitter’s celebrity-studded sphere that we are coerced into defining ourselves by some distant pipe-dream? Surely, if you get to doing that, you have to ask… what’s so wrong with being who you are and doing what you do?

If you don’t like it – please, please, get working towards changing it. Life’s too short not to. At least then, when you tell the world about where you are, you can also tell us about the journey you are on and the destination you are heading for. Tell me who you are, and who you are becoming; but don’t tell me you’re an empty wish – someone you’re not.


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