I established my twitter handle years ago when I was exploring a new community while working for a different agency. I set it up as a place to interact without explicitly attaching it to my name, any identifiable imagery, or my agency. Now I’ve never lied and I don’t hide. But, in the world I was working in I felt it was necessary to mask some of the connections.
An interesting phenomenon has occurred recently. As I meet people in real life, who I’ve been interacting with on twitter, they assumed I am male.
I choose a generic avatar. I used a generic image of my mascot at the time- due to too much travel it was the Denver International Airport (crazy) Blue Horse. I choose an old high school nickname (which in my school was androgynous) as my screen name. And I identified my major interests… Emergency Management, Geographic Information Systems, and social media amongst others.
I tweet about the government life, emergency management, wildland fire, GIS and in general whatever strikes my fancy. This just so happens that this automatically created a perception that I am of the dominant group- male.
As I became aware of this tendency to classify me as a male I began to automatically choose more gender neutral terms. As I continue to get involved, I want to be more authentic. I work for a different agency. Social media is not part of my formal day job anymore.
So I’m coming out- as myself. With a photo that shows my gender. I hope it is decently received. I’m keeping my twitter handle and nickname. I’ve had many nicknames over the years in various venues of my life and I happen to like it.
So hello, this is me.