Friday, October 12, 2007

public personae

When I joined Facebook earlier this week I had every intention of keeping my activity to a minimum. No picture. No personal details. Minimal professional details. No groups. Why would I share my personal life online? That's personal, that's private!

Then folks started pointing out to me that I was being silly. My email address and information about my job is all over our Library's web site. Presentations that I've given are online everywhere. Old email listserv postings are available through list archives. I use flickr, and while some images are kept restricted to friends and family, most aren't (but with a Creative Commons license). My LibraryThing catalog is public. I have this blog.

Basically, I was told to get over it. I already have a public persona, even if it's not one that interests more than a few close friends and colleagues and folks interested in arcane digital library topics.

But, but, what about privacy? I know better than to share too much about myself online. I have friends who have been the subject of identity theft. One hears cautionary (but possible apocryphal) tales every day about middle schoolers getting stalked online through their MySpace pages. How did my life get so public? Gradually, without my even consciously noticing it. There's no going back.

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