A little over a year ago I committed suicide. Not the real thing, mind you. It was cyber suicide. For some petty reason related to a real-life spat, I spitefully deleted my on-line Scribophile account. It was as if I had died. From the point-of-view of my on-line friends and acquaintances, I suddenly was no more. The on-line persona that I had created, and that my fellow Scrib friends and members had nurtured, had abruptly ceased to exist.
Now some of you might be thinking “Well, so what? Big deal. It’s not like you really died.” Yes, that certainly is true. My on-line friends still had other ways to contact and interact with the real me. However, that’s not the point. The on-line persona that had sprung to life was now gone. Erased. A few keystrokes and mouse clicks and then nothing. Karma points: gone. Reputation: gone. Even my on-line name was gone.
After awhile regret set in. Anger. Grief. Bargaining. I contacted and pleaded with [site administrator] Alex to see if I could be restored. No chance. The deed was done.
If I wanted to rejoin the community, I would have to start over. From scratch. Not a resurrection, though. I could not simply pop back into existence and continue from where I had destroyed myself. It was going to be more like reincarnation. I had all the memories and experiences, but I had a new moniker. Reputation and karma had to be re-earned. Friends and connections had to be rebuilt. An on-line persona had to grow again.
The point of this is that the on-line persona is not trivial. A good deal of work and effort and time goes into creating that virtual being that others see and interact with. It’s an investment, not just from you, but also for the folks that spent time interacting with you, helping to create what you become on-line. Don’t take it lightly.