Monday, 27 February 2012

Another Monday, and concerns about privacy (unrelated to Monday)

Another Monday has had the audacity to interrupt a perfectly good weekend. I'm sensing a trend. It's almost as though this blight happens... weekly... *shifty, suspicious eyes*


Other than facing the horror that is waking up early on Monday morning in order to arrive at work on time, it's not too shabby of a day. I discovered I still had almond milk in the work fridge and so didn't have to adulterate my coffee with cow's milk or, shudder to think, drink it black. I checked my bank account and it's still in the black, despite going out with my sister this weekend and spending a silly amount of money on wine and cheese (Literally. That's not a euphemism. Lots of wine and cheese were purchased this weekend.) I had a cold but am over it and am looking forward to going to the gym this week to work off the couple pounds the wine and cheese have added to my frame (no, seriously, my pants are tight again). And, since there's much less stress to be had because the finances and job, etc, are in order, there's much harmony and happiness.

On the end of things that are troubling me, I'm wondering about online privacy and the benefits of transparency via using my real name on public social media forums vs. the risks. When I was originally online in the late-90's, the conventional wisdom was that you never used your real name or provided your personal information for anything ever. Unless you were ordering something online that required it, but even then you'd only offer up whatever information you needed to, nothing more. Then Myspace and Facebook popped up, and conventional wisdom was tossed out the window in the interest of connecting with people you knew and making sure they could find you.

Well, a couple years ago I reached the limit of wanting anyone to find me (if they weren't already my Facebook friend, I didn't want them to be), and so I've been using an alias. Yes, there are a lot of security and privacy measures one can use to keep information private, but who really trusts Facebook at all in this regard when they change privacy settings more often than I change my socks?

Now, after keeping things more private for a couple years, I'm wondering if my activism would be better served by being more transparent and using my real name? If I do, then people can easily Google me and find my history of working in the non-profit industry, my letters to the editor during election campaigns, my newspaper interviews for various causes I've supported, my old website set up when I was still doing marketing, etc. I've Googled myself and gotten others to, as well, so I know what's out there and it's pretty positive.

Given that, it seems that one definite positive would be that it lends an air of credibility to my statements since I can backup my previous experience.

What about the negatives? Well, that's where I'm not sure any more. The biggest concern that comes to my mind are trolls bullying my family. But, they'd have to find them, first. I don't post family trees on Facebook, because I find that level of information deeply invasive and entirely unneccessary.

So, what are your thoughts? Stick with the alias, or put it all out there?

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