I have a secret…



I have a secret…

When I wrote in a recent post about how a couple of old friends found me through my blog I was surprised by some of the reactions. I know that part of the fun of blogging is the mystery of it all, the intrigue of perhaps creating an alter ego or finally letting your true self emerge, but I was unprepared for how closely some of you want to guard your true identity.

Of the two friends who showed up on my blog doorstep: 1) I initiated contact, leaving my blog URL on his MySpace comments. I had just given up on getting any response when he finally showed up in my comments. 2) The post that led my cousin to my blog was very specific and would have applied to only me. Anyone unrelated to me would not have made the connection. So, these weren’t like some random stalkings.

I have only recently begun posting photos of my older kid… something her dad does not like at all. Pictures I’ve put up of my son are such that his face is obscured by his hair… big surprise there. Aside from a tiny avatar photo that showed only my left eye behind my outstretched hand and a badly out of focus head shot with me wearing ‘Roy Orbison’ glasses, you haven’t seen my face either. I use only their initials, and have never used Hubs first name in a post.

I do use my real first name, but didn’t always. I still haven’t actively publicized my last name. I think only a few people know it, but I have no idea how many really do. I did mention my maiden name once. It’s not that common, but I haven’t had any backlash from that. If someone from my distant past were going to hunt me down, it would have been with that name.

One thing I don’t hide is that I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida – it’s a big state, that’s not too narrowed down.

For some of you, your true identity is a closely guarded secret ~ a special ops, ‘I’d-tell-ya-but-have-to-kill-you secret ~ but post photos of your children and yourselves, making no effort to disquise or filter, still all the while using only aliases.

A few use their blogs to rant about the stupidity of friends, co-workers, and family ~ immediate and otherwise. In those cases I can certainly appreciate why you want to remain anonymous.

There are bloggers who had to resort to shutting down their pages because some wackos vehementally object to something they wrote – then taking it to the extreme of stalking and threatening them and their families. This can happen despite all efforts to protect yourself by withholding photos and real names.

My question here is, when is it too much… where do you draw the line regarding what personal information you put out there? Are full face photos verboten? Do you use first names only or just nicknames? Do you cringe when another blogger uses your real name when you go to the trouble of using a pseudonym? How do you decide what you’re comfortable sharing… what’s safe?

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