When searching my name on Google, the first item that shows up is my listing as a member of the 2010 Senior 100 Honorary at the U of I.  It directly followed by my professional profile on LinkedIn, my profile on Culturevulture.net and my Twitter account. Unfortunately, my personal website and my work for Dance Teacher magazine follow my Twitter account in the rankings, which is something that I would like to change.


I have made a conscious effort to build an online presence that is primarily professional; my Twitter and Facebook accounts are things that I use for more frivolous, social reasons, and I don’t necessarily want what I write on those sites to be directly tied to my name on the Internet. That in and of itself is somewhat of a conundrum – it seems as though the easy solution would be to make an effort to not act like an idiot on social media sites. But the reality is that for me, those sites are first and foremost social.  To do a “damage control” of sorts, I use “Limited Profile” settings and the like for professional correspondents with whom I interact on those sites.


A lot of my writing shows up on a Google search of my name – 10 O’s isn’t half bad at age 22!  I think one interesting thing about my Internet identity is that I am identifiable primarily as an intellectual – as a student and as a writer about dance – and though I spend the majority of my time playing those roles, I feel like the web minimizes my role and identity as a dancer.


I have been dancing since age 4, and it has always been the thing that has made my life exciting and manageable. The truth is, I don’t feel alive when dance is not a part of my life, and though I have made a living writing about dance (as both a reporter and a critic), the physical act of dancing is the thing that really defines me as a person (in my opinion). To exist and move in physical space – to negotiate my body through a series of movement with an added artistry and engagement, without a textbook in hand or a test looming in the future – is the opportunity that dance provides me in my now highly rigorous academic schedule.  The release I feel in physically dancing is something that no news article could ever provide me.


That being said, the art of the interview is the closest I thing I get in journalism to matching the high I feel when I am moving.  I try to convey the excitement I feel in my interview processes through my writing, so I hope that that character is conveyed in a web search of my work. Unfortunately, I somehow feel that the Internet paints me as somewhat static – especially in a photo search. Smiley photos of me are all over the place, but I don’t think I am always quite so cheeky in real life.


So I just have to find a place for my sarcasm to live online and I will be set. I guess Twitter may work to my advantage, after all.

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Comment by John Toenjes on January 30, 2011 at 4:47pm
Interesting to read about your conscious attempt already to control your image on the 'net. Is there a way to make this struggle part of the content of our performance?

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