Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wrestling with Reality

As of today, I have been online for fourteen years. During virtually all of that time, I have been known as Typ0 and I have always tried to be careful about revealing too much of the real me. That said, I have met people from the Internet and occasionally revealed fairly personal things about myself. The only thing is that I didn’t really realize how much I did of the latter until an old friend from my Library days pointed it out to me the other day.

When I started this blog, I made a promise to myself and Hubby that I would not use our real names or post photos of our faces. I further committed to giving the same degree of privacy to our friends and family. I have taken that commitment to various organizations with whom I work by asking that they not post photos of me online. I thought I was being safe – paranoid but safe.

About a year or two ago, I joined Facebook and didn’t think twice about logging in with my real name although I continued my camera phobia by not posting an actual photo of myself. (Surprisingly, I don’t actually look like a giraffe.) I posted certain bits of information about myself but never enough, I thought, to let anyone track me down or steal my identity. Of course, I post updates about my location and what is going on in my life but, I told myself, I kept enough back to remain anonymous except to those who knew better. After all, no one could see my Facebook profile except people I had designated as my “friends.”

But my Library friend has forced me to think twice about my decision to even be on Facebook. More than that, he has made me question the existence of this blog. Am I giving too much away? Despite the paranoia I have cultivated about anonymity, am I really out there for everyone to find and track down? I don’t know.

This internal, and now blogged, debate also has me wondering if I can actually live without Facebook and all the camaraderie it brings with it. More importantly, I’d have to live without games like Scramble and Word Twist and that would leave dozens of hours each day that I’d be forced to fill with actual work or productivity.

So what do you think, Devoted Readers? Should I pack it in here and on Facebook and live with the anonymity I claim to desire? Or should I simply tone it all down a few notches? While I’m not sure how to be more vague here about who I am, I do know that I am incapable of not blogging as it gives me a wonderful outlet for my the parts of me that might otherwise run rampant and free like Godzilla in Tokyo. That said, this weekend my Facebook self will be taking a savage beating as I delete information and try to blur the lines between who I am online and who I am in reality. I just hope I can still find that line through the haze.


jack said...

Stay on facebook so I can continue to kick you *ss at word twister :-)

The Noles Family: USA to Egypt said...

I too struggle with how much to share. We are new at this being in a new country and want to share every detail with family and friends at home. Your friend is great for bringing it to your attention. Thanks for sharing. I do enjoy reading your blog

Ms. Four said...

Lots of people can follow me from Facebook to my blog, but it'd be harder to do the other way... unless of course you meet me in person (ahem), since we're a conspicuous family.

I'm all about internet privacy for my kids and me, but on Facebook, I ratchet down my privacy settings and share a lot. But only with people I actually know. I tend to think of my blog and Facebook as different places, for different purposes.

Is this because of concerns about identity theft? What brought this on? Why the concern about Facebook?

Anonymous said...

Your father has always had concerns about Facebook, as you know.
I was at Mary's today and lynn enjoys the laughs that you give her so...keep up the blog!

Greetekees said...

Hmmm, I have never thought/worried too much about this subject, but maybe I should! Writing a BLOG about Egypt, I did start to be aware - a little bit - about my writing in the sense of not being too critical about the government etc. Anyhow, please don't stop this BLOG!

Connie said...

I think I've given up on stealth. I lie all the time about important details. Dates and things. I have to share photos and what-not. Too many people are too far away. I don't talk about, by name, anyone else who isn't already out on the net.

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani said...

I had to make some of these decisions about 5 years ago when I began blogging here. I don't talk that much about my kids because they are adults and have their own lives. But I decided that if I was going to be out there, I might as well be OUT there. I do pick and choose what I share and I do censor comments about local government...since it is a bit touchy and the kids don't want to have to try to visit me in jail.

When I moved to the country and built my farm, a number of friends commented on the fact that I didn't build a wall around my house like so many people out here do. After all, the house is right along a footpath that is used by the villagers next to me. I told them that if I built a wall and my neighbours couldn't see how boring my life is, they would be imagining all sorts of weird and wonderful events inside the wall. But this way I would only be interesting for a very short time until they realised that I'm totally ordinary. It has, in fact, happened as I predicted. Sometimes privacy can be achieved in full view by simply being boring.