by Niall Doherty

1. Use your real name

A no-brainer, but many people don’t do this. Be sure to use your full name, too, not just your first or your initials. Don’t worry, I’ve tested it out and can guarantee that the world won’t end as soon as you reveal your apellido.

2. Use a real picture of yourself

Don’t use some abstract image that’s supposed to sum up your personality or what you’re all about. When I meet you in person I don’t see a lighthouse at sunrise. I see your face. And don’t use some cartoon version of your face. I want to see the real you, not the Disney edition.

3. Don’t half-ass the profanities

Use them in their entirety or not at all. Some people write fuck as f*ck. I can never understand why. Is that asterisk supposed to save whatever fragile minds might take offense? I go by this rule: If I’m comfortable uttering the profanity among friends offline, I should be willing to write it on the internet with my name attached.

4. Share the bad along with the good

Tells us about your failures as well as your successes, your embarrassing moments as well as those times you were a rock-star. (That said, try to share mostly positive things. The right kind of people will stop paying attention if all you do is write about why you suck.)

5. Post some video of yourself

The real you exists in three dimensions, and video does a better job of capturing that than any other medium (at least until they get holograms working right). If you’re one of those people who hates seeing yourself on video, get over it. That’s how the rest of the world sees you all the time. Once you learn to accept that, you’ll have learned to accept a big part of yourself.

6. Don’t be perfect

A typo isn’t a big deal. Neither is stumbling over your words on video. And it’s okay to admit that you don’t know something, or that you need time to think about it. Authenticity beats perfection, every time.

7. Ask for help

Piggybacking on the last one, since I don’t have all the answers and would love to hear from you: What’s your best tip for being real on the Internet? Let me know in the comments. Or, better yet, leave a video response on YouTube 😉