Sunday, May 30, 2010

anonymity

A lot of other bloggers have taken a turn with this, and now it's my turn. It was probably my turn a while ago - but now, I know for sure, and knowledge, well, it contains responsibilities.

The girlfriend I mentioned visited this weekend, and let me know that months ago, I had opened my blog through her laptop (I don't remember doing that - silly of me!) and she had found the URL by accident looking for something else. And been reading it the last several months, without telling me. (She also said she would no longer read it, so she may not be reading this. Or she may. Human nature is a funny thing.) It's not like that gives her access to information she didn't have - I had been very open with her about my IF, although, of course, I don't make any non-IFers listen to my totally insane ranting. I imagine I have that in common with most infertile women...

Now that I know this, of course, I have to think about whether I'm truly anonymous, and what implications that has for other people in my life, whom I periodically discuss on here. I mention people IRL only in passing, in general; or, sometimes, when some interaction with them is germane to IF or another topic I discuss here (home decor!). But I feel it appropriate to drop the odd fact about un-consenting third parties, because who here knows who I am? Or, rather, several people now do, but in the context of them being infertiles also...so there's sort of a relationship collateral of sorts. It doesn't feel like an undue risk.

And of course this is the first time I knew I had been outed. At least two other people that I know of have tripped over this URL - one a colleague, who knows I visited the site, but would have no way to know it's mine; and doesn't seem like the sort who would, or would want to, read about Women's Issues for fun. (I can only imagine what a headache an IF blog would be for a non-IFer! Good grief!) And then there's a law school classmate who, being I think rather devious, tracked back on my browser when I showed him an internet-linked JPEG. I could have tossed the URL in a new window and thereby hidden the trackback, but I am just not paranoid enough. He may have clicked back looking for something else, seen a blog that didn't interest him, supposed it was something I merely read, and ignored it - but I have no idea. So, Brad, William, if you guys are reading, hello! I hope the cervical mucus discussions entertain you thoroughly.

Anyway, all this being the case, and me having a perspective the details of which I am still working out in my head on the subject of other people knowing that they are reading your blog and not telling you that they are (obviously that's not something I can prevent them from doing and it's a risk I take being on the internet, and not being a computer security nut), I need to think about the future format of my blog. I don't think that it would be responsible of me to continue it in a totally public format. But, of course, I'm not any good at wordpress; and I have always been disinclined to go password-protected for the whole blog, because then, I feel, I'm not contributing to the marketplace of ideas any more; and people having to sign up to get a password has a sort of spectatorship quality that isn't quite the feel I was going for. But I do have to do something.

I suppose another option would be not revealing personal information on my blog, and while this may be laughable, that seems like a restraint I wouldn't like to have. Heaven knows there are plenty of people I know IRL whom I'd prefer to give zero information about my sex life. But I can't imagine finally getting our SA done and not posting about it! Probably no way out of that one other than some sort of restriction.

Anyway, I would appreciate any perspective you all have on the subject.

5 comments:

  1. I did the "private" thing for a bit but realized that when I posted...no one knew about it unless they "remembered" to look at my blog. They don't get any updates which is what I look for. So...I didn't get many comments, etc. I guess over time your followers would remember. I agree with you though...it's kind of a scary moment when you come to realize someone IRL has found your blog and knows it's you! Yikes! That is why I try to remember to not post picts and keep family names out of it. Hmmmmm...

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  2. I blog anonymously as well, or at least I hope that I'm being anonymous. Very few IRL people know about my blog (Mr. JB, his brother and that's about it really, I haven't even told my fertile bf about it!). I want to be able to lash out and be 100% honest about my feelings on my blog so I don't want people in my life to know about it. I don't even want my husband to read it and he's written updates for me post-surgery!

    I, however, also keep a diary, although since starting my blog I've practically ignored it. If there is anything (which is VERY rare) that I don't want to blog about, I write there, just so I can get it out.

    Maybe there are people that know me that are reading my blog without my knowledge. If they are, I don't think that I want to know.

    I have no idea if this is helpful or not!

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  3. When my family was here, my mom used my laptop a couple times, but she is so NOT computer-savvy, I don't think she would have even accidentally stumbled on my blog. I don't keep the link to my blog itself on my browser toolbar, but to the dashboard, so she'd have to sign in to even realize that it was for a blog.
    Still, I almost outed myself a couple times by commenting on a family members blog with my IF blog name instead of my blogger name. That would have sucked!
    I don't mention blogging to anyone but my older sister, but I wouldn't care if she searched for me and found my blog. She's been through the IF hell and wouldn't find anything I say on the blog hurtful or TMI, since we pretty much discuss everything I blog over the phone anyway. Of course, my hubby knows I blog, but he's never asked to read it, and I've never asked him if he wants to read it. He respects my privacy, but it's not a secret from him.
    I'm pretty sure none of our IRL friends know that I blog, and I wouldn't want any of them to read it. But in the end, it's not about them (even when I complain about their pregnancies, or their jerky comments, or how I don't get along with their friends). It's about me - and if they did find it...well, I'd still write.
    I love wordpress - LOVE IT. I used blogger for so many years for a family blog (and still do) and now find it kind of clunky. I love that if I wanted to one day, I could password protect posts without losing all of those lurkers and people who search and stumble onto my blog by accident. I know I can't follow most private blogs because I don't link them to my normal gmail address (to avoid accidentally using my blogger id), so in order to read a private blog, I have to sign out of google reader, which is a royal pain.
    Sorry this comment is so long, but basically, I'm sorry your friend found your blog, but in the end this is your blog, and it's not about your friend, even if they are casually mentioned here and there.

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  4. I blog very publicly and most of my family/friends follow the blog, which I take as a compliment. I've often considered starting a second one in which I discuss the down-n-dirty things in life that I don't put on my usual blog, but really...I don't know that I'd write about that stuff ANYWAY. That's just me...

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  5. I have only told a few IRL friends/family about my blog: my two sisters, my one great friend from college, and my friend K. There are at least a handful of others who I haven't told about it, and now (since I was friends with them before I started the blog), I sort of feel like it would be super awkward to tell them about it. Like, hello, I've had this blog for over a year and I haven't told you about it! Ha!!

    Sometimes I wonder what my other friends from college would do if they found it- i.e., if they would be able to connect it with me. I don't use names on my blog, but I have written about certain events after certain emails, so if they were smart they could connect the dots.

    What you do now depends on how much you trust your friend who just found the URL on her laptop. You could tell her you don't mind her reading as long as she doesn't share the info with your other family/friends, but that's a big "as long as" if you aren't 100% confident in her word. If you don't want her reading at all, you could create a new blog address and just copy all your template/blogroll over there and switch without leaving the link and just make sure you contact ME and tell me your new blog address! :) Hehe!

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