Virtual Anonymity

A couple of months ago I had occasion to read the blog of a woman seeking employment with my sister company. It’s a foodie blog and I’m all about some food. On my first visit, her home page featured the old-school cover of a Nancy Drew hardback: The Mystery of the Hardboiled Egg. I was smitten:) I enjoyed her posts and and I decided a little mystery would be fun, so when I joined the conversation at La Aguacate I did so as Pot Luck Mama.

This virtual world we have here is interesting. This opportunity to pop in and out of “places”; observing behaviors, joining conversations and building relationships. We are not hampered by space or time. I put a thought out into the cloud and you are able to pluck it out if and when you see fit. We are also afforded a voyeuristic opportunity more blatant than I have seen in my lifetime. A growing segment of humankind has, in fact, embraced this opportunity for self-expression. All those inclined to share thoughts and ideas, stories and questions may do so – for many to see.

What’s more, we may do so on our own terms. We can enter a space, decide we don’t like the scene, and depart without exposure. We can share our thoughts without sharing our names, much like a stranger on the bus with whom we had such a lovely chat. We can choose a pen name, freeing ourselves from exposure or characterizing ourselves for the environment. We can share our professional profile, tailored individually to our taste and in the forum most comfortable (and convenient) to us. On that note, we may do so in our pajamas or between chores…

Today, a virtual friend is visiting my physical world:) Annakate, whom I am thrilled has joined our corporate team, will be in town for the week visiting with the team down here. Fortunately, my role has changed recently to involve me in her little circle of work, and she and I will get to play together often:) Our first brainstorming session, in fact, will be held as we take a cooking class together at The Viking Store in Atlanta (see footnote, below).

Our jobs include building virtual and physical communities around these stores (cooking school/unique event facility/appliance & culinary toy stores – all under one brick and mortar roof!) in Atlanta and Nashville. We are going to do this by supplementing the brick and mortar bliss with a virtual space where our team and brand’s friends can join together and share culinary adventures, recipes and advice. We will invite our brick and mortar guests to continue the friendships they forge in our classes in flexible virtuosity.

“We want you to experience the care, attention and inspiration we dish up at all of our cooking classes and private events – whether you can find the time to stop by a showroom or not. We are passionate professionals who want to expose you to our knowledge, our tools and our friends. Viking ToGo – culinary creativity in a doggie bag.” {That’s some draft verbiage for the site…what do you think? Too cheesy?}

Seriously…how much fun are we about to have? 🙂

I realize my work project only relates to virtual anonymity in the sense that I used it to begin what will now become a professional relationship. Still, I find myself making identity decisions regularly now as I play in my virtual pools, and  I wonder who does the same. Are you as excited as I to build new relationships on various levels of openness? How have you balanced anonymity while growing relationships?

The whole scenario reminds me of how good it always felt to move to a new city. In each new place we can begin again, that much closer to being the people we want to be. And that newness can be experienced online without concern for the financial or obligatory restrictions one may have while navigating the physical word.  The virtual world is our oyster:)

FYI, I’ll post photos from the cooking class to Twitter today as we do our thing. If any of you witty followers tweet me with a clever caption for one of the photos in the next 24 hours I’ll hook you up with discount from The Viking Store ~a discount on a class for an ATL or NASH resident, a culinary toy discount for a US resident, a surprise for South African residents (to be delivered in May) and sorry for the rest of the world but I’ll just have to give you guys kudos for wit:)

FOOTNOTE
1. I definitely classify this first brainstorming session as a perk. I also classify the culinary toys I am bringing home with me to (ahem) test out for the blog series I want to do on the subject as PERKS!

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3 responses to “Virtual Anonymity

  1. Hey,
    Any news about what’s happening with the other blog? x

    • I’m going to start by posting that evaluation I took in group. I think others would be interested in taking it for themselves. Maybe from there I seek out other good resources. Still haven’t had an epiphany on that one but am working on a good post for PLM this week- gastrointestinal health.

      Hope you’re well! Can’t wait to get some time to visit with you again:)

  2. I’m great! Going to visit Effie in 3 weeks, I’ll say ‘hi’ for you. I think that evaluation would get a lot of people thinking, and hopefully contributing.

    Happy typing :0)

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