Friday, February 08, 2008

Private, right out in the open

Jess asked, in essence, why I camouflage names around here. Yes, I find it annoying, too. The main reason is because I blog anonymously and do not want to be found.

When I first started blogging, I was about a year into my relationship with P. I began using first letters of names as identifiers, but came to find that unsatisfying, so I started making up real names to substitute instead. I have many times thought to make J into Jay, but it just hasn't felt right to change it.

Sometimes if I am dating a Fred, I will call him Dan, using the last letter, D, as my motivation.

Although his name isn't derived in that manner, Richard's name is something equally formal.

There are other exceptions, like Norma, for her being Mormon and it sounding a little like Mormon, but nothing like her name.

Using Dan, Richard, and Norma won't reveal me.

For the pets, I want to use their real names, but I don't want to be searchable. I will mutilate, but not Memph, because I think someone would search specifically for, not Memph.

Oh, yes. I have been and will again be searched for. It is not mere paranoia.

With P, I never let on I was blogging and I feel like it was a wall between us. I definitely needed the blog as an outlet because he and his daughter made life so crazy. Yet I felt that it was a barrier.

I decided that I would tell subsequent men I date that I have a blog, but make light of it. They don't take it lightly, however. One, a military/government spy-ish guy named something like Luke, was so curious he began looking, would even talk about looking, fitting it into his schedule, and I found evidence of him looking when he asked me to look up movie times on his computer. I warned him that I have a counter and he said they have ways around it at the office. I don't know how much he worked the concept at work, but I sure someone there would have known more than Luke.

Another guy, not Ted, but something close, was equally as curious and, given the chance, I think he would have dived in my computer. He was a sneaky cad.

Neither of these guys knew about blog search engines and I surely did not inform them. Just because, they also had in common child-sized dicks. Poor men.

My friend, Richard, is fascinated by the idea of my blog and will casually ask, "So what is your blog's address?," just craving me to bite and slip up. For him, however, my blog would not be a big revelation. He hears it all already.

I have been aware of using terms like butterfly exhibit, a specific movie, or some other activity/situation makes me searchable, but it is a risk I've taken. With pictures, I let them speak for themselves and hope people don't get too specific about locations in their comments. (And I hope they will respect the naming thing, too.)I don't hide where I live; I just don't mention it.

In fact, there are blogger IF or mom or writer meet ups all the time around here; I just choose not to participate, although sometimes it hurts to feel secluded this way. Also, I don't think I could go and refer to myself as Cricket, too strange. I would hate to appear in a bunch of other blogger's site's pictures and lose control that way. With the large mother's organization I was a member of and held leadership positions for years, I know entirely too many moms around here and I DO NOT want a lack of anonymity to inhibit how I blog. And it would. Me being free here is my primary goal.

So the basic answer is privacy, as I reveal my innermost thoughts to the rest of the Internet. I guard my privacy very closely IRL, too. In fact, I was recently asked to be interviewed for Time Magazine, but I had to turn down being revealed. It was just too close.

So, how do you prefer your blogging? Do people you know read it? Does that make it less from the gut? How does that work, to be a known blogger? Are my fears realistic?

PS - When I was included on the wreckers of trains site a year and a half ago, I felt personally threatened, not just bloggidity threatened. Just one example was that my Google ads started saying things like, "Kill Cricket." It was entirely too scary and I did fear for my anonymity, while I valued it very much as well. That's when I sanitized my blog and took over half down.


Anonymous said...

Here's my funny quirk: I will use nicknames or initials, but I throw up photos. Silly or not, it's what I do. Most people are usually flattered that I posted them and found them worthy of making a post. I always ask before throwing up the photos, though.

jess said...

ah...i wondered if that is what it was, but as a new reader, i wasn't sure why you would protect your pet's names.

does that make sense?

i am semi-private on the blog. if someone wants to find me, they will. i don't use last names, but honestly, a person who was smart and could follow the dots could really dig deep and find it if they wanted to. if it helps them sleep at night, whatever.

i don't relish the idea of sharing with my family, but it doesn't change what i write much.

thanks for clearing that up. :)

Anonymous said...

Most people who know me know I blog. Only some of them have the URL. If someone who knew me wanted to find it and they got creative they could find it. But I use no real names. In fact I don't even use names---I say a friend, my husband, my mom, my sister etc. Even the animals go nameless---once I made up a name for an animal.

But like I said---there is enough info for someone who knows me to find me but I don't think anyone cares to. Most of my friends that I've actually told the URL to don't bother reading it either. Never know what to make of that, but I don't take it personally.

I don't believe I have a single friend who is a regular reader---a couple check in now and then. And my best friend of 24 years hasn't even looked at it even though I've emailed her lists of favorite posts to look at---go figure!

the biggest reason I keep anonymous is for my families sake. My husband does know the site, but usually only reads it when I tell him too. I don't talk much about our relationship---not sure that I would in any case.

brite69 said...

Originally, I started blogging with this account to be able to bitch about the situation I was in with my old roommate and a guy I was dating and not have to read comments from my other friends about how I was being the unreasonable one. (The old roommate didn't like him for whatever reason and would make me feel like shit about it.) The friends have since discovered that it wasn't me who was being the unreasonable one (it wasn't until the middle of last year that they realized this. Took them long enough!) and I've continued to use this blog as an outlet for things I don't feel like putting in my other blogs. I will use names sometimes and I try to take down pictures of my son after a while. I have no problem putting them up, but I tend to get a little squicked out after a while. (There's a LOT of pervs that live around me and it just creeps me out.)

I don't think anyone I know IRL reads this blog. I've told Greg about it, but he thinks blogging is a waste of time. He's never read anything I've written (as far as I know) and even if he did, it wouldn't come as a surprise since I tell him off when I get pissy and I've been relatively open with him about a lot of things. The IRL friends read my other blogs/journals that have privacy settings that allow me to filter out who gets to read.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows I blog...but only one of my friends knows the address, and I'm not even sure he remembers what it is. I use pseuds as well, but prefer not to use actual names for fear of confusing myself.

As for pictures, well, I throw them up on the occasion, but am still undecided as to whether or not to put up any of The Chieftan upon his arrival. If I do, I'll make those posts password protected.

Anonymous said...

I use initials and don't name companies. But I'm sure, if someone really wanted to find me, they could and would.

I've met one local blogger in person and I don't know how I feel about that yet.

It's something that is very much on my mind lately though and mostly I feel like you do. Although I put up pictures of the boys.

Thalia said...

I will go to meets, but have asked ppl not to use my photo. I have used nicknames for everything on my blog, but have put up pictures of my daughter as at least there is no way to search via photo similarities for someone. I don't want to be found, either.

Aunt Becky said...

Most of my friends in real life read my blog, which is a good thing as it keeps me honest (but is a bad thing when I want to gripe). My husband also reads it, so I cannot discuss more personal matters on it.


Oh well.

dmarks said...

evil-e: "throw-up photos".

Remind me not to check your blog on that day :)

I've got two RL friends reading my blog. One blogs and comments, the other only comments and does not have a blog.

laura b. said...

A couple of my friends know about my blog, but no one in my family does. I like being semi-anonymous, so I give everyone nicknames, although I do sometimes slip in weirdly personal and traceable information. I guess I haven't had the experience of anyone actively seeking out my blog, so I tend not to worry too much.

Val said...

I think I'm w/Jess: "semi-private".
I don't broadcast the fact that I have a blog, but I have emailed posts to several RL friends, and I know of one or two who keep tabs on me that way ;-)!
My carelessness may cost me dearly one day -- actually to archive Ancient History on my blog & then take it down...

Ron Southern said...

What! You mean all the good stuff I remember is no longer there? Would a new reader "picture" an entirely differnt insect than I would as Cricket? Well, fuck 'em, they're probably too shallow for you, anyway! When you move to Texas, we'll sit around and drink Sprite Zeros and see who can CHURP best.

Cricket said...

I really appreciate you reacting that way. It bothers me to not have all my blog reflect all of me, but it was a decision I made at the time to remove personal references. That left a very few posts a month, because we all know how personal it is around here.

They're all in draft and I've considered reviving some. We'll see.

Nikki Neurotic said...

For a few weeks last year I was paranoid that my dad was reading my several times in the course of a week he said something that could possibly be interpreted as something he had read on my blog. I kind of got off that idea though, when I realized he's not that computer literate.

I have only told a few RL friends about my blog, though, nearly everyone that knows me online knows my blog. That can be a mixed blessing I suppose as sometimes it feels as though online friends know more about my "real life" than even I do.

I'm really careful about names...I nickname everyone I know and mention and I don't put up pictures. I know there's still a risk for someone figuring out who I am...especially if they figure out where I live but oh well. It hasn't happened yet.