Tips to help you create that perfect digital persona

Daily Sundial

Being myself, an arrogant and ?ber-self-righteous individual, I deem it incredibly important to control how I appear to people, especially strangers.

Sadly, I don’t think I’m alone in my desire to imagine alternate, more interesting versions of myself interacting with alternate, more interesting versions of my friends, in some crazy place where the conversation is always witty and every relationship is unnecessarily complex.

That crazy place is the Internet, which now affords any willing simpleton with a little extra time in his or her schedule an opportunity to build a completely digital version of him or herself for the entire world to see. It’s fun to use the Internet and all its crazy goodness to build that hypothetically cool version of yourself. Here are some pointers incase you’re looking to spend two hours creating that online persona and don’t know where to start:

1) Before you do anything, create a CSUN e-mail account by going to www.csun.edu/account and signing up. It’s free, it flaunts your intellectual prowess, and it doesn’t carry with it the same amount of pornography-based e-mails that the other free services do.

2) Next, go to America Online’s website and download the free version of their Instant Messenger program. This potentially always-on service allows you to be in constant communication with as many people as you can fit on your limitless buddy list. Create that succinctly clever screenname — sweetluv69 or hotchick84 or something similarly descriptive — and use away messages to make sure that you can always have the option of talking to people with who your relationship should have ended years ago.

3) Go to Blogspot.com and start your web log (“blog”). This free online journal setup will allow all your deeply reflective inner-thoughts to be posted on the most public, unregulated place on earth. Rumor has it that the whinier and more contemplative the blog entry, the more attention it gets. So if you don’t mind feigning sadness for attention, give it a whirl! Come on, musicians do it!

4) Head over to MySpace.com or Facebook.com and setup a little entry for yourself on two of the hottest online communities out there. Upload your most mysterious headshot, e-mail address, AIM screenname, and blog link. List some really clever favorite bands that’ll allude to your depth as an artistic person, and start making buddies. If possible, try to get invited to the “I Really, Really, Really Like to Drink” Facebook group, because that’s probably where all the winners are.

5) Open up an account at Photobucket.com, Shutterfly.com or Yahoo! Photos and start uploading some of your favorite digital photos for all the world to see. These massive, free services allow you to upload as many pictures of you and your friends in the middle of a keg stand as you can find. But be careful, I’ve had friends that have lost jobs because of too many booze-related photos floating around of them on their online galleries.

6) Spend 20 minutes on Craigslist.com and just try not to get addicted. This online emporium has just about everything up for discussion: apartment listings, DVD collections for sale, personal ads, and jobs. Best part is that it’s not just California, but international. Because of this service, I was able to apply for (and get) a web developer gig in Bangalore, Karnataka. Score.

7) If all else fails, go to BestBuy.com and pick up a copy of The Sims — Online Edition. This role-playing computer game is essentially a digital recreation of real human interaction. Your virtual character could look just like you, theoretically have a husband or a wife, children, a job you hate, a mortgage, a minivan, or anything. This is the total escape from real life in that “this-is-real-life-vomited-back-at-you-with-really-cute-graphics” sort of way. Still lots of fun, though.