Saturday, 28 April 2007

anonymity

I've been thinking about anonymity. Why I'm not going by my full name. Why I protect D and my sisters and family. In the sites I used to have, I used my real name, and probably would have had more to lose - I wrote about how little I did in work, I wrote about my friends, I wrote about everything and anything. These days, I distort names. I protect myself. If you know me, you'd probably recognise me very fast (although some of the distortions would probably confuse you), but if you didn't know me, you'd find it hard to track me down.

Of course, it's unlikely that anything would ever happen that would make anyone care enough to work out who I am and out me, but a lot can happen in two weeks, six months, a year. I don't want to take that risk. I know that not that many people out there have been douced, but it's happened. I don't want it to happen to me.

But I'm thinking about it more and more. There are a couple of friends I have that I don't see very often that I've seriously thought about telling. They would obviously know my name, my address, my phone number. One knows where my family lives. Letting your worlds collide like that makes me nervous.

And there's something I really want to talk about on here. Something that my family don't know about. Something only three people in the world know about (and I think two of those have forgotten). It would be a relief to be able to write about it on here. But if my family ever came across this place? If my line manager, my head of team in work did? I don't want them knowing my private business. And I suppose that answers my question, right there.

But I'm curious. For those (few!) of you who are reading, you're mostly out there quite openly. anx has put up pics (or at least one). Loria goes by her real name and puts up photos. What are the pros and cons, to you, of letting people know who you really are?

I'm curious.

And I've just realised that I don't think I've ever put an email address in my profile. I'll add one, just in case anyone out there wants to email me at any point :)

2 comments:

Anxious said...

Yes, I put up a photo recently.

But I don't name the town I'm in, the company I work for, any real names of people I interact with.

I did get "found" by a colleague at my old blog, which is why I became more cautious. I'm not sure that a photo alone, without the other details, would allow someone to find me. They'd have to stumble across it - that would have to be one hell of a stumble, I think...

loria said...

Perhaps I'm just lucky, but I haven't had many problems by not being particularly anonymous on my blog. However, because I do have it on a site that allows for friends only and private posting, most of my sensitive words go there. Plus I have the option to go back and privitize everything, which is what I'm doing for most of the entries that are sensitive.

I knew going into blogging online back in 1999 that being too public about who I am was a possibility and may have reprecussions. I think that because of that I do have filters that allow me to post what I want people to see. I also don't post my last name and rarely refer to people by their real full names just because I don't think it's important to documenting events.

occasionally i google my name in its various incarnations to see what comes up, and so far very little of my blogging life has ever surfaced.