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(Thesis: 58 pages. Doggedly trying to clean up the theoretical end… 
30th-Apr-2008 04:51 pm
sociology, interviews
(Thesis: 58 pages. Doggedly trying to clean up the theoretical end of my lit review. Bad at theory, my theory teacher's good opinion of me to the contrary. Tired, mid-afternoon slump).

A friend and I were having an interesting conversation with [chair] yesterday about what we put out online for viewing and what we don't. Some people go for not having any sort of online footprint; some people go for putting way too much out there, and most of us go for controlling what's out there, though some are more paranoid than others. I don't mind having my picture out there, and I don't mind this LJ being findable - I generally keep my last name off of it, but it's findable because of my Flickr, which does have my last name on it. Which is fine - look at my Flickr account, and you'll see, um, cats, friends, knitting, me in a swim suit. Oooh boogie. You can Google my Amazon wishlist. Hey, I like sci-fi, knitting, and cooking. Gee.

In other words, there's nothing here that I'm worried about a potential employer finding, partially because it's a pretty quiet life these days and partly because I lock up everything to do with family, work, and school. (One of the reasons I like LJ over a blog blog, the fact that I can do that.) I'm picky about who I add, so I'm not worried about anything getting back to someone it shouldn't (and really, the worst that's here is the occasional bitching about stupid students, sans names.) It's easy enough to figure out where I go to school - there aren't that many "mid-sized universities" in NC that have masters degrees in soc - but there's nothing much here to worry about, either. I'm out about my sexuality and politics at school/work (and really, I'm in the right industry to be a mostly-flaming liberal) and I'm out but not vocal about my past mental health issues (I'll tell anyone who wants to know that I went crazy and took 11 years to finish my undergrad. Whether they take me seriously or not is their issue).

Which is my (very) meandering way of saying, what do you guys mind having online that's identifiable back to you, what do you try to avoid, and do you much care if people can find your online lives?

[eta]: I'd forgotten about this... my boundaries are a little weird sometimes. I don't particularly care if students stumble across my LJ and hear about Lucy escaping or my playing video games and eating pasta last night - heck, I tell them about that stuff - but when someone couldn't find my school email address, needed to make an appointment, and finally just googled me and emailed me at my gmail address? Seeing an email from a student in my gmail inbox was like a physical punch in the stomach. I hadn't realized how much I separated control of communications until then. That was a little weird.
30th-Apr-2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
I don't put my last name out anywhere, and someone else doing so without my consent is one of the fastest ways to piss me off. I just googled myself, first and last name in quotes, and only one hit out of the two pages of results was me (sort of) rather than someone else - and that one hit was a caption of a picture that, um, wasn't actually me. (That said, it was in a PDF of a newsletter for a non-profit that I worked with briefly, so it *could* have been. They just put the name for the wrong volunteer on the picture.) My first and maiden name in quotes doesn't turn up anything either.

I lock anything I wouldn't want my mom reading. Beyond those two things, I'm not hugely secretive.
30th-Apr-2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
If you google the real life version of "Red Zils," all but one hit is me (the one which just started showing up? A Spanish-language trashy romance novel with a protagonist who shares my name. I cannot make this stuff up).

This means that people know that I ran a 5 K in NearbySmallCity last year, put up a silly one page website on paramecium in my college biology class, work at X, etc. I am okay with all that, but I am not okay tying it to my flicker account (which is under my first and middle names, so not terribly hard to trace) or my LJ. And I like the LJ locking function too, since I live someplace where I dont have much of a community, but still want to differentiate between sharing my life with friends-elsewhere and sharing my life with the-internet-at-large.
30th-Apr-2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
I used to be way more open about personal details online. Part of it is weird behaviour on the part of certain people who are no longer a part of my life, part of it is sensitivity to my place in Corporate America. The space that I work in, and my position at my company, is such that I have to consider what would happen with anything I say should the tech press get ahold of it. I don't just get to be Me anymore; now I'm Me, Title at Company.

My default behaviour on LJ now is that I don't mention anything in a public post that could be used to identify me. I only leave my public posts visible for one week, and I've been going back and making my older posts private. I try to make sure that, if someone stumbled across my LJ, they couldn't figure out who is responsible for it. If someone who knows me, but who I don't want to let into my personal life (tech press and customers are a great example here), stumbles across it, they won't find anything there that they wouldn't be able to learn from me if I were to have coffee with them. Which is to say that my public LJ is pretty bland. :)

I participate in some social networking. I'm on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; I've also got a blog that focuses on my corporate life. For all of those, I carefully manage what I make available. In general, the question that lurks in the back of my mind is, what would the press do with this? So I'm willing to Twitter about the movie that I watched last night, but not that I had a fight with my boyfriend this morning. And not that the tech press would care that I had a fight with my boyfriend, not in general, but in six months someone might say "maybe this would have gone better if [Me, Title at Company] weren't fighting with her boyfriend all the time".

It has occurred to me that I could well be oversensitive to all of this. But ... well, I'm okay with that. Better safe than sorry.
30th-Apr-2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
I think, given the position you're in, that better safe than sorry is a good policy.

I have a bad night, and my class might be a little bland the next day. If it turns into a continual problem, then sure, it's an issue, but my day to day working life is a lot less sensitive than yours.
30th-Apr-2008 11:43 pm (UTC)
I've never concerned myself with how I'm perceived via net presence, as I've always had problems with people perceiving me accurately overall. Journalwise, it's moment and specious ( as well as typically VERY time sensitive) in jokes, plus thoughts at the time.
Anyone who decides to judge me solely based on what my lj or facebook or amazon list is someone I'd rather decide I wasn't worth looking into anyway- it saves ME the effort of having to discard them later for being so obtuse.
I 'stalk' people via search engines and such all the time as a mental exercise. It's fun to find all the different ways people's identities are out there, long lost links to things they did once, or thought forever ago, etc...

30th-Apr-2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
Seeing as one of my current co-workers got demoted and sent to counseling for something he wrote in his blog, I'm pretty careful about that now, too. My girl scout and science fair life were out for all to see... except for the parts where I bad-mouth participants, parents, and other people. ;)
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