I love connecting virtually, but there are limits to how well someone can know you when they only see your life displayed online.

Sometimes, that’s because we only choose to show the pretty parts, the shiny ones, the happy ones.

We pick and choose what to share. We brand ourselves and craft our updates to reinforce the choices we’ve made about branding and positioning.

Even when we let people get a bit deeper with us, through phone conversations or by sharing a bit more openly, they are still limited to seeing what we choose to share with them.

And though I tend to be an 0ver-sharer at times, I still think there is no way to really see another person’s life until you live with them, walk with them.

This week, I invited Susan Mazza into my life for a few intense days of infrastructure building and planning for my company.

She arrived late on Tuesday night, at a time not-that-late for most people but long past the hour during which I typically crash out on the couch.

She’s now seen me at the end of an 18 hour day and seen me this morning, beginning another. She’s seen my kids at their cutest and their crankiest. She’s had the complete tour of my house and even seen the mess in my master bath cupboards. She’s gotten to know my spouse, the folks who help out around my home and office, and my favorite baristas at Starbucks.

We’ve known each other for years and I’ve cried on the phone to her during some of the lowest moments on my journey. She’s rejoiced with me in the happy ones as well.

In the quiet of this new day, I am wondering, and wanting to ask these questions to Susan:

Now do you see? Do you see who I am?

Does sharing my space help you know me better? Or did you see me, truly, before?

Is face-to-face required for genuine relationships or can we effectively and authentically share our lives through virtual channels?

Face-to-face matters, more than I’d like to admit, especially since most of my life and business is built around virtual relationships with clients, colleagues, and team members.

We can see each other and understand each other much more effectively in real time, sharing space. And the more we share, the more we can see and be seen.

But until that day when I can meet you face to face, I’ll keep trying, through words scratched here and posts shared there, to let you see me. Do you see me?

Tell me something! How successful are you at building authentic relationships through virtual channels? How much do you allow people to see through your updates online?