Privacy Is a Pain in the Ass

16 09 2010

An Uppity Post In Which I Argue Myself in Circles

Of the blogs I read regularly, all but one of them use their family members’ real names.  Many other blogs I used to follow have gone private.  Those blogs also used their family members’ real names.  And I know that some of them went private specifically because of the reactions of some people they know irl, a cautionary tale to be sure.

When I started to blog I couldn’t decide – use my kids’ real names? use their nicknames? conceal identifying information about our family?  And a huge part of me was thinking, what is the point of not using names if you are going to use images.  I knew I would be posting pictures of my kids – who am I to keep that kind of beauty from the world?  But another more cautious part of me was saying, “But once the cat is out of the bag, there is no putting him back in.”  I worked in animal shelters for years and have learned the lessons of keeping the cat in the bag more than once.  And there I go again, telling you a little bit more about who I really am, making it easier to identify me and my children irl.

If someone wants to find me and disturb my peace by using something I wrote on the internet, fine…..but what if they want to find my children and disturb their peace?, NOT fine.  And it is a choice I will have made for them, REALLY, NOT fine.

While I don’t think my blog should equal my journal, I also don’t think it should be a collection of short, fiction pieces.  My favorite blogs, the ones that engage me, energize me, get me thinking, are the ones where I connect with the author. A connection created because I related to the person as a real human being.  And I am not talking about sharing dirty, little secrets here.  I am just talking about the simplicity of keeping it real and not having to spend tons of time and energy disguising our identities.  For example, I’m working on a blog entry where I collect all of my Facebook posts about adoption since we started the process.  I thought it would be interesting, entertaining, possibly thought provoking, maybe a little funny.  I also thought it would be quick.  But on Facebook I use my kids’ real names.  Should I go back and change all of the posts to just use their nicknames?  Why no, because that would be a pain-in-the ass.  Why should the way I conduct my life be edited because of a few potentially creepy or mean-spirited people?

In the end I have a better idea, if all the jackasses of the world would just find something better to do with their lives (a Tea Party Rally perhaps?) then the rest of us, the vast majority of us, would be able to have real conversations, use real pictures, tell the truth, the whole truth, as we see it.

I honestly don’t know what I will do yet.  Either way, I hope my kids will forgive me – for this and other transgressions.

PS  I have not started my goal of not cursing yet (surprise) and I have friends’ irl who support the Tea Party.  I applaud their initiative to be involved with the political process, really I do.

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One response

16 09 2010
claudia

Yeah, this one is SO TOUGH!!!

My rule is that I don’t keep anything secret, but I do’nt want anything to be searchable. So, I have said what my children’s real names are, but I posted a photo of their names rather than text of their names. As for my own name, I changed it about a year into blogging (my real name isn’t Claudia – hoepfully you already knew that and it won’t freak you out!!!) I did search +replace to get rid of all the instances of my old name.

My feeling is that if someone is DETERMINED to find me, they will, but the risk is worth it. What I really, really do’nt want is someone casually googling my name (or my children’s names – especially my children’s names) and finding my blog. That would be so not okay. This is why I always just refer to the babies as baby L and baby I – I think I need nicknames for them, because it’s getting a bit annoying.

So yeah – my feeling is that my personal comfort level is: not private, but not searchable. Hope that makes sense!

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