HeatherMangan is a girl on the Internet.

Google her name and you’ll find links to various social media sites as well articles she wrote when not crafting perfectly clever updates.

She’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +1, WordPress, YouTube, Blogger, Flicker, About Me, Spotify, Foursquare, Pinterest, Vimeo, LastFm, Instagram and any other social media site that was popular for a hot second prior to 2012. She knows her way around key words and tagging. She has a solid base of friends and followers and uses the cyber written word just like she talks: excessively.

For a long time, I thought HeatherMangan and Heather Mangan were the same person. The same set of hands used to post a photo were also the ones who made veggie omelets and gave friends high fives. The same brain was used to construct a message of 140 characters as to process an article in The New Yorker.  Heather Mangan had just moved on to the Internet and dropped the space between the first and sur name.

Or so I thought until HeatherMangan slowly vanished from the Internet. Sure, she is still posting diary-like entries here, but her time around the rest of the World Wide Web is reduced to the occasional moment of good connection. Instead of checking Facebook once every hour, it’s once every couple of days and she only reads her messages instead of trying to find justification in her own world based on whom from the past life is now fat. She can’t tell you what hilarious thing some Twitterer overheard while hanging out with “real” friends and her last check-in was two years ago at the Philadelphia International Airport.

HeatherMangan is just a persona on the Internet. She only shares with you the highlights of life, hoping you judge her based on those and not on what she is hiding. She tried to pull you in with charm and cleverness, thinking it’s what you want to see. She is not real.

Heather Mangan is. Without the constant updates of a life going on just fine without her, Heather Mangan has done something nearly unprecedented – she is living in the world right in front of her. She doesn’t let unanswered Facebook post or passive aggressive Tweet bother her because her emotions are not attached to HeatherMangan as they were a year ago. She prefers to watch life unfold, even if slowly and uneventful, than to analyze one through a screen.

The Internet and social media are remarkable and without them Heather Mangan would be entirely disconnected to the people who use HeatherMangan as way to stay in touch with the real-life version. She is OK with that part. Yet, she has come to enjoy a life that is not centered on the next update, but rather the next person she’ll bump into on the street. She is content with Internet time scattered and not guaranteed. She is happy that HeatherMangan is quiet these days.

She may return in 2014, but till then HeatherMangan will learn to be more like Heather Mangan – real.  




4 thoughts on “HeatherMangan

  1. It’s never too early to think about the Third Goal. Check out Peace Corps Experience: Write & Publish Your Memoir. Oh! If you want a good laugh about what PC service was like in a Spanish-speaking country back in the 1970’s, read South of the Frontera: A Peace Corps Memoir.

  2. Heather,

    I came across your website will reading about Lesotho on Peace Corps Wiki because a friend of mine will be in PST there sometime in October.

    Anyway, I’m currently finishing up my service in Ukraine (four months left as of tomorrow) and I completely understand everything you wrote here. I get it. I wish other people would get it too. Part of me is afraid to go back to society because maybe, after these 27 months, I’m not going to fit in with society. But it’s comforting to know that other Peace Corps volunteers, at least, have figured it all out.


    • Hi, Danny,

      Thanks for reading my blog and it is always nice to hear from a fellow volunteer. I too am worried about the day I will go home and feel like a foriegner there. However, I am blessed to get to experience that, though. Good luck with the last few months of your service and transitioning home. I am eager to meet your friend in October!

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