(A)Nonymity on the Net
I’ll confess to being a bit of a privacy freak. Maybe it stems from being the first (cough, experimental!) child in my family … always being watched for the next developmental milestone, a harbinger of things to come with my younger siblings. Maybe it has to do with spending too many years in a YSA ward. Everyone knew everyone else’s business, or had at least heard a rumor of a rumor of a something-or-other. Or maybe it’s just that I feel a certain level of accomplishment at being able to keep a secret. Whatever the reason, this deep desire for privacy for myself, my family and my close friends impels me to blog under a pseudonym.
Yes, I understand that this is totally counter-intuitive … writing in a completely public space and yet hoping for privacy. I constantly have to negotiate the balance between telling a complete story, and omitting details to protect the story or identity of someone who has strongly impacted me. There are times when I do not tell the whole story, but I do blog honestly. Family and friends read the things I write, and would give me loads of something-or-other if I were untruthful.
I know some people who are fearlessly honest and raw in their blogging. For the most part, I admire people who can be so open, sharing their struggles as they experience them.
And yet, I sometimes wonder if it is wise. I’ve heard stories of people being turned down for jobs because of ill-advised details on myspace pages. I’ve talked with friends who contemplate turning off their blog while actively seeking jobs. I wonder at minors being able to post sensitive information on-line.
I take a modicum of comfort in knowing that I’m generally unfindable. After a series of on-line conversations with an ultimately mismatched guy, I did some searches to see if I could “find myself.” To my vast relief, I was just another miniscule drop in the internet ocean. And with everyone from employers, nemeses and old boyfriends able to google any old Dora’s info, I’m quite happy to keep it that way.
And then, there are the myriad commenters post under an absolute shadow of anonymity. With controversial topics, I can understand the rationale. Really, I do. But, after two or three Anon’s in a single discussion, it can become tedious, trying to sort out all of the Anonymouses from each other. Not that I don’t appreciate thoughtful and intelligent responses … I crave them! But sometimes I wish an Anon would just pick a random name and stick with it for a long discussion.
So, having come to the conclusion of my non-revelatory ranting of non-personal information, I’d like to hear from you. Do you write anonymously, under an alias, or with your own name? Have your experiences generally been positive or negative? Would you change your decision if you could?