Ah, the joys of anonymity on the internet. You can assume any superhero identity you want. You can make your ip untraceable or log it to someones server far, far away or use pseudonyms. You can partake in (mind boggling or mind numbing) debates on different subjects with people from all over the world in a plethora of fora. You can game away into the night with your virtual identity. You can spew your poisonous sarcasm without any fear of repercussion (chiefly because some people have no sense of humour, fail to read between the lines and some cannot even comprehend random banter, wit or puns).
I could be the bored looking, bubble gum chewing teenager working at the supermarket checkout.
I could be the smiling, helpful banking assistant accessing your account data.
Hell, I could even be the bald bloke who smells of wee watching you from across the street from behind those grizzly, torn curtains.
Why am I banging on about this John Doe-aspect of it all?
I have exposed myself to 'classic' media over the past weekend and I have appeared in national newspapers with picture. The articles written appeared in the regional section of the paper so it is not in there for all to see. Casual, Sunday morning, breakfast-eating readers will not know me. Someone who really wanted to find me could already have done so, or just per chance have stumbled across the page it was buried in.
But no problems there. Journalists asked permission, I knew it was going to be in there. The regional aspect of it all meant it had a fairly small reach, lets say geographical-wise.
Nowadays all papers have online versions too. And after all has been published in print, it now is on the web for all to see.
If I now google myself (yes, it does kind of sound dirty doesn't it?), my name shows up in a couple of hits. Not only in the original articles on the site of the newspaper, but sites linking to the article (or copying the text), on topic related forums,...
It makes it easier for people to find me now. Chance someone might find me before going online was just a fraction of what is is now. I was willing to run the risk of dispensing with the anonymity for once, on account of the printed, regional reach of the news. But putting it on the internet is a very, very different thing.
So my dilemma. Was I the ignorant sod for once? The journalist asked for publishing permission, I naively assumed she was only talking about the printed version. I know there is no point to making a thing out of this. It is very unnecessary. Kind of serves my temporary ignorance right. I just don't want certain people to be able to trace me. I have burned some bridges in the past, email communication certainly guarantees some anonymity but f I want someone to find me, I will dictate my own terms and guard my internet privacy as I have done before.
*Edit: I've just reread my blog entry and it sounds just way too paranoid.