Online Persona: Is It The Real You?

online persona

How does your online persona match up to the “real” you?

When you meet someone who you’ve watched from afar online… how likely is it that their online persona is really how they are in person?

I’ve seen both cases: people who are exactly how they are online, offline… and people who seem to have different personalities entirely.

Why Your Online Persona Matters

What Is An Online Persona?

Your online person or personal brand is how the world perceives you on the web. Since it is the web, you could technically create an all new personality for yourself… but I don’t recommend it, and here’s why.

People need to be able to see you in 3-D, before they ever buy into you or buy from you.

Trying to be someone else online is going to be hard to sustain, and people can usually smell it when you’re not being true to yourself.

Now, when I say 3-dimensional, I don’t mean just video.

You can totally paint a picture and show your three-dimensional self through writing, audio content, or images.

The medium is not the message, but you need to know how to distill your essence through the web.

When people feel like they really know you, you know you’ve achieved 3 dimensions.

So how do you it? By showing that you’re a real human being, you have a family, you share personal stories, and allow people to see your unpolished sides, too.

It also means being comfortable sharing the uncomfortable, being a little bit vulnerable and allowing yourself to let that show.

It’s not just about being unpolished though, it’s also about the fact that you are allowing yourself to be seen. Truly seen.

How can you be more three-dimensional in your marketing in your writing and your video content? Tell stories. Share your inner thoughts. Be your goofy self. Develop and cultivate your own style.

All of these are ways for you to be a more three-dimensional person online.

Why Being 3 Dimensional Helps You Sell More

When I think of someone who is three-dimensional, I think of someone that I’ve shared a meal with. Someone that I’ve opened up to you. Who also shares things with me.

Now you might not think that the Internet is an ideal place for you to open up and be vulnerable like the three-dimensional person you are. You might be what worried about your privacy.

We all feel scared when we open up and show our true selves. Trust that the right people will see you for the unique genius that you are, and love you for it. And those that don’t will find someone else to play with.

Those of us who are able to show our true three-dimensional self are the ones who are going to dominate the market, close the deals, and really make the world a safer “more real” place.

Did This Video Bring Up Some Questions?

I know this online persona thing can be tricky… leave your questions about the topic in the comments below and I’ll do my best to address your concerns. We’re all navigating this world wide web together.


  1. Shahid on June 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Great article Nathalie! I totally agree with what you said about being a three-dimensional person online so people get a chance to know us on a personal level. Keep up the good work!!

  2. The Uncaged Life on June 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Oh my gosh, you're just the cutest! It's interesting, because I have been told by so many people that who I am online matches who I am in person, but I once had a client tell me otherwise – that I didn't match what he expected (not in a bad way… just different that what he assumed). Which kind of goes to show that people will always assumptions about who you based on your online presence, and that even when you feel like you're totally in line, people's expectations might not always match with who you are. I think we all have multifaceted personalities, and it's important to show all those sides online, instead of trying to play one up and totally ignore the others. Great post Nathalie!

  3. Niamh on June 19, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Thank you so much for addressing this Nathalie. My biggest concern is privacy. Am I over-reacting? Where is the line between being vulnerable by sharing your personal stories and going into dangerous territory {I think that I’ve heard one too many scary internet horror stories!}

    Thanks so much.

    • Melinda on December 28, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      I don’t think you are over reacting at all, Niamh. The problem is most people don’t understand what a persona actually is. This is why so many people take the share yourself online thing way too far.

      A persona is the way you present yourself to portray a particular image. In other words, it is a controlled or managed aspect of yourself. Look at Nathalie. Her image is controlled. She always has her hair and makeup done when you see her. Her vidoes and photos are highly produced. The style, ‘voice’ and tone she uses in all her videos, email and social media is consistent. These are all aspects of a managed persona.

      Look closely at all the big names out there on the Internet. They all do it. What they share is always done within a context. It’s not open slather. This is not a criticism of them. It’s just the way it is done.

      This is not new. The entertainment industry has been doing it for years. Many famous people try to control how they were perceived.

      You probably also do it already without even realizing it. Think about what you reveal about yourself to your family as opposed to your work colleagues. Or how you interact with strangers as opposed to friends.

      It doesn’t mean you share your life warts and all. It’s ok to be discerning about what you share as part of your business persona and what you keep for yourself and those closest to you. It’s your business, your life and your choice.

      I know it appears that latest marketing trend is to show people the ‘real’ you, but if you think about it you have many different versions of your ‘real’ self.

      I think there is so much TMI (too much information) because some people promoting this way of marketing and some of the people doing it just don’t get it.

      And as history shows trends come and they go. The question you should be asking yourself before you post that personal tit bit is: What will I be leaving behind about myself when this one has runs course?

  4. Linda Eaves on June 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Get it Guuurl. Love the chair dancing moves. Useful article and worth viewing repeatedly because I tend to forget now to be 3D and turn into the paper doll version of myself. I've noticed days where it's easier to "write like I speak" and the playful irreverence flows. When I'm out and about or next to my bed there's a journal so when a divine download hits I can catch those puppies. Turning off the computer and Facebook app on my phone at specific times and tuning into myself makes it so those inspired times come more frequently.

  5. Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady on June 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    BRILLIANT advice! I love this quote: “Trying to be someone else online is going to be hard to sustain, and people can usually smell it when you’re not being true to yourself.” <-this is so true.

  6. Liz Brazier on June 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks Nathalie. Great advice to keep it real! And I just know when I get to meet you in August you will be exactly who I expect to meet!

  7. Keri on June 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Hi Nathalie – this video is so timely thank you! I’ve been grappling with this recently and find it hard to know what to share with the world, what not to share, and how to weave personal stories in to business!

  8. Cate on June 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    I hid for a long time, not because of myself but because the entire rest of my family is freaked out about privacy, irrationally so. It is super hard to build a business without putting yourself into it.

  9. Marta Costa on June 20, 2013 at 9:34 am

    This is something I really struggle with. Recently I met someone at a live event and afterward she told me how much warmer I was in person, then she thought I would be. I’m definitely more formal in my writing. Thanks for the tips!

  10. webly on June 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I think I am the same person online and offline. My only block now is that I want to use my personal stories to inspire others and eventually launch my motivational speaking business. I am hesitant to do it like I really want to and cannot get pass that block. What is the best way to use your personal story to blog and inspire without it sounding like a sob story?

  11. Nesha of Betty Red Design on July 2, 2013 at 3:06 am

    ‘People need to be able to see you in 3-D, before they ever buy into you or buy from you.’ I LOVE that!

    I’m always frantic about my online community being able to see who I really am. I appreciate it when businesses are totally transparent- like yours- because it makes readers and clients feel so much more at home.