Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Most of us would be quick to acknowledge that the Internet has changed our lives forever, allowing us instant access to people and information that we didn’t have 15 years ago.  But (as I was reminded earlier today) for some that access brings with it a fear of the potential exposure or damage to our identities or the identities of our family and friends.  
I first became acutely aware of this after posting 20-year-old photos of the two young children of an old friend of mine.  He saw those photos and demanded that I immediately remove them, which I did with profuse apologies.  Today those same children are undoubtedly on Facebook and even have their own web sites.  But their baby pictures posed a threat to their father.
While my daughter was home recently we had a discussion about Blogging in which she  said she could never put herself out there for the world to see and hear the way I do.  I know for a fact that she doesn’t read my Blog and probably never will.
I have numerous readers who seldom if ever leave a comment.  They must find something here because they keep coming back, but there is a real fear of losing that anonymity.
I don’t judge others for their caution.  In fact that’s one reason I allow anonymous comments.  I am probably the only person who has any chance of knowing who these people are by virtue of their location, information I can get from my Statcounter.
I have been known to be too trusting about matters of personal security and I do acknowledge there are people out there with not such great motives.  But when I first began this Blog, I realized I could never write anonymously mostly because I simply can’t keep secrets very well.  For the most part I haven’t experienced any crazy people.  The usual Viagra sales reps show up from time to time.  But no one who wants to do me any harm.
Since there are no Internet police to enforce good behavior, I simply have to trust that most people will do the right thing.  I hope I’m right.


Blogger Terry said...

I'm like you. I can't imagine writing anonymously and find more good than ill in the relationships I have developed because of my blog. I suppose until I have a bad experience i will continue to be pretty trusting. My daughter asked me to stop posting pictures of her child and I did. I can respect other people's reservations, but refuse to be paranoid. There seems to be so much to be gained by making connections.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Terry -- That's pretty much my attitude. If and when my trust is significantly broken, I can always just quit Blogging. But until then, I'm sure I can find a few more things to say.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Merle Sneed said...

None of us are hard to find if someone wants to find us. Blogging or not.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Everybody has a different comfort level as far as internet privacy is concerned. I guess I'm one of those cautious/paranoid types in spite of the fact that I use my real first name. I don't want to be TOO paranoid! But I don't have my last name anywhere in connection with my blogs and my full name doesn't google there so I guess it's worked okay for me. I'm sure a really desperate creepy stalker type would probably be able to figure out who I am and where I live, but not when I'm planning to go on vacation. Vacation, yeah, right. Hopefully people have better things to do. If I had a TV I wouldn't know half of the stuff that I've learned from and I probably wouldn't be here right now, commenting on your blog!

2:57 AM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Here's a link, for your amusement, to some additional musings about privacy and your blog in particular which I wrote way back in my early days of blogging isolation and lurkdom.

3:06 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

People who comment anonymously on blogs often think nothing of banking online or signing up for catalogs or charging things via the internet. Even if you never go online, you can be found via internet sites.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Paul Maurice Martin said...

My sister had the exact same thing happen to her - a friend was upset when she posted photos of her children.

I'm thinking maybe people who'd get upset by this don't use the internet a lot? Maybe they underestimate the huge size and scope and think that somehow photos of their children will make them easier prey for criminals or identity theft??

In any case, guess it's best not to post photos of other people's kids without checking first!

Oh... but even stranger... an online friend recently alerted me to someone on Facebook - and at that, a woman - who was using my photo as her profile photo on Facebook! And I have no idea who this person is.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

PMM -- I think stealing your picture is a little over the top! I hope you reminded the Facebook woman that she was definitely not your identical twin.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Rayna said...

sigh...let's face it - there is no privacy anywhere, any more. If somebody wants to find you, they will -- blog or not, as Merle pointed out.

I will continue to post on groups, use my website, and blog to my heart's content till the cows come home from wherever they are.

1:26 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I'm definitely cautious about posting pictures of kids, myself, my family and friends, but other than that, I'm pretty much out there. Some things, I do keep to myself but my blog is definitely me.

It's strange when friends who don't keep in touch refer to things I have written, but not in a bad way. I don't mind if someone says "I hope you're feeling better" or "Jazz Fest sounds like fun" even though we haven't talked about it. A huge part of writing for me is allowing my grandmother with Alzheimers to keep up with my life at her own speed. Others are just along for the ride.

10:27 PM  

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