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    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2008
    I realized a short while ago that it was way too easy to cross-reference my information, digging up all kinds of stuff that I wouldn't want a prospective employer to find, for instance. I've set about fixing it, but I have to wonder, is it really possible to divide up your life into little pieces this way? The waybackmachine and google will always yield too much information, but only to those who are fairly determined.

    I divide my life in other areas - my professional persona is not the same as my persona among friends or people of like interests. I don't use the same words with my family I would, say, here.

    How do other people split this up? Do you wear your skin everywhere you go, or don a coat and hat - or a latex bodysuit? Do you just hope that people won't look too hard, or don't know how to? Or do you just not care?
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2008
    I try to avoid putting anything REALLY incriminating online. Especially in places a future employer might look. My myspace page is pretty clean for the most part, and I refuse to approve any comments on it. I've heard of several employers checking myspace before hiring someone.

    If an employer is going to go so far as to google my online handles and really look into me, I don't think I want to work for them anyway. For the most part I'm the same online or offline.
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2008
    I've had various personas at various times. Most of them are independent enough that it would be very hard to connect them to me. (for which I am glad, many of them said things I'd be embarassed to have next to my name now).

    outlawpoet was originally an email I used to submit writing I wasn't sure about. (@juno for those who remember that old free email service who didn't always have internet). eventually I used it in more situations, until it was my main handle. As I get older, I find I mind people connecting all my stuff less.

    I didn't understand feminism until I tried being a G.I.R.L on IRC and some forums. I learned a lot about tribalism from joining communities as different people, for or against the prevailing opinion, young/old, picture/no picture.

    I still have a couple of sock puppets I use, but I've accepted being singular for now. There was a ferocious contraction when I joined Facebook, and suddenly all kinds of friends were indirectly connected to each other. old school mates were suddenly crawling links to fandom friends, and transhumanist sites, and all kinds of interesting drama. I lost some friends, but I think it was a good thing, mostly.

    There's still a bifurcation by service and forum and so on, but things are shrinking.

    My old poetry online is really really hard to find, though, for which I am very grateful.
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2008
    I've been thinking a lot about this as well, but from a slightly different angle.

    I'm usually so personally reserved, that with the exception of some political diatribes, I don't care what employer/potential employer/client/business partner, etc. may see. On the other hand, I'm very compartmentalized and rarely mix my professional life with my online persona. Maintaining this separation is getting more difficult all the time. At some point, I'm going to give up on managing it and just say "this is my name, this is my job, this is my employer, these are my hobbies..."

    That said, my professional life is all internet and leans toward the creative. The culture is a lot more socially liberal/progressive than it is in a lot of industries, so I can do this, while others may be better off with a little privacy.
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2008
    I change handles every once in a while. not in a few years now. having changed my legal name (through marriage) to one that's a lot more common, plus having moved to a country where for the most part they couldn't find or read English web pages about me, both make me feel a little more secure. I know I've been lucky, though.
  1.  (3400.6)
    There are some sites that I use my real name on, and some that I don’t. Sometimes I use an alias because, by convention, everyone does, and using a real name would just get me banned by mods assuming I’m impersonating someone. Other times it’s because I don’t want my full name associated with the site—I never use my full name on BME! I’ve also dumped handles over the years. I have one that I’ve been using for way too long, and I’m going to be ditching it soon.

    I also avoid putting much personal information about myself in any public forum. I never, EVER mention my employer or previous employers online. My resume is not on the web, does not get submitted to any resume databases, and I only send it out as a non-editable PDF. My cellular number is listed on my web site, but that’s probably going to change now that anyone who really needs it is a Facebook friend and can find it there.

    And because I occasionally have manic episodes and post really crazy shit, there are a few sites I have configured my computer to simply not access (/etc/hosts entries pointed at because I just don’t want to end up posting anything too crazy where it might be seen by people I know.
    • CommentAuthorchris g
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2008
    Kinda have felt like i'm going through an identity crisis at times. I use "Chris G" as my creator-whatever-pen-name for my comics, but now it's spilled over to real life and the people at the comic shop know me as Chris G. It's not that big a deal, if they ask what the G means, it doesn't mean anything. Or it's an opportunity to make something up to eff with people. nah.
    Been attempting to kick-start my double life. this time working during the day, and coming home to work on my comics crap all night. I say my drawing is my real life, the day jawb is where I go mind my own business until i get paid. Soon as I'm out of there my id wants to come out and play a little.

    And I can't remember, but something Warren said a long time ago about privacy/whatnot - that not caring if people know who/what/where you are is true freedom. just not caring the world knows you exist. He didn't say that last part, but the gist of it is there somewhere.
  2.  (3400.8)
    I've decided I don't care. And I don't really separate the two out. I've actually got jobs BECAUSE of random things they've found about me on the internet. I'm transgender as well, and depending on which state in the US I'm living in at the time, I can be fired for that fact. But what can I do? I am who I am, and I'm not going to hide myself and be miserable and paranoid for some over scrutinious employer. I would hope though that eventually we'll get legislation to the effect that you can't be fired for out of work activities. In especially internet ones. I think it's ridiculous how they are forcing so many people to run around and hide in their own private time. It's so creepy and big brothery. And it makes for a more stupid and vanilla populace.
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2008
    i don't think i have anything to worry about. i doubt retail employers are so thorough in selecting counter-jockeys as to so much as google my name. in the future... i don't know. i don't typically do objectionable things, and i know better than to write about some things online.

    though i did kinda reboot my online identity, once. right after i broke up with my ex about a year and a half ago. closed all the accounts i had open, started new ones, kept stuff friends only on myspace and such for a while. i'm sure he could have got all stalker-y on me if given a chance. i don't like talking about him, but let's just say i never ever ever ever want to see him again.

    anyway, i'm only brittanica on the internet now. i honestly don't have much of a life, so the internet is the only place where i can really be social. when i'm offline, well... the thoughts don't come together as easily as they do when i have a keyboard in front of me.
  3.  (3400.10)
    I was moderately concerned about this until I tried finding myself through Google, and it wasn't that easy. You'd have to be fairly dedicated to sift through the other namesakes and find something incriminating, which I don't think exists. Besides, I've not done anything really nefarious using my real name. I have made a point, though of NEVER talking about my employer online, and I think that's reasonable. Whilst I think 'snooping' on somebody's online persona is unethical, I wouldn't want to hire someone who has say, created a Facebook group slagging off their former employer and customers using their real name - it just advertises a lack of judgement.

    It is actually pretty hard for a company to do a great deal about online activity on social networking sites though unless it's incredibly blatant - proving that somebody really posted material and that it wasn't someone else fitting them up is nigh-on impossible.
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2008
    There's a fair amount I wouldn't particularly want my family to see, but it's not stuff they'd stumble upon, and I'm damned if I'm going to take great pains covering it up for paranoia's sake. Besides, it's nothing I'm ashamed or embarassed about, so much as stuff that nobody would benefit from knowing. I wouldn't want to work for any employer who might trawl the net for dirt on me, so it's a moot point what they might find.
    • CommentAuthorWiseEyes
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2008
    I had someone duplicate my persona once. The made a gmail account using my full name and sent some degrading emails to one of my teachers. I never found out who did it or why, but it prompted me to remove my last name from a few things. These days, I don't worry about it so much. I never figured out who did that or why. I didn't really interact with anyone else in the class that that happened in and I wasn't aware of having gotten on anyone's bad side. Someone also duplicated my name on Facebook and started flaming me with it. I contacted the facebook people and they took it down. I redid my password after that, and nothing new seems to have come out. Looking on Facebook now, there is another Josh Cripe listed, but that appears to be a legitimate profile with the coincidental name. Googeling my name gets a pretty convoluted mix of stuff with other Cripes I've never heard of. Apparently I'm leading a double life as a 17yr old Manchester pilot...

    As far as separate personas, well, I'll come up with a new name and it sort of splinters off. There's some tie between them, such as my link to my xanga blog on here using a ridiculously old screen name of mine (ufbad). WiseEyes is my newest one, that I'll probably keep using for a while. You may be able to get around, but I think Facebook is pretty separate from the rest of my online activities and I don't list my class schedule or employer on it anymore. That's mostly out of sloth though. I don't really use a lot of social networking sites normally. That's something that's really picked up with me being out here.

    As far as content goes, well, I made a big admission about my views on everything I could think of just the other day. It opened with my personal views on sexuality, which some may take as damaging, but the whole point of it was to get it out there and make it clear. It did make me nervous to be so honest online, but I'm really not worried and it's prompted further honesty with those I personally know.
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2008
    my dear old nan reads my personal blog, so I've stopped swearing on there.. and I never post anything, anywhere that's self-incriminating.. apart from that i prolly overshare if anything ;) .. and the worst thing any "prospective employer" could find out about me is that i spend too much on Twitter et al.. but then, I work in IT, where techno-literacy is valued.. google my real-name, and you get nothing.. google my 'net-name, and you get everything.. so be it
  4.  (3400.14)
    I am actually someone else entirely.
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2008
    I am actually someone else entirely.

    Aren't you that violin player?
  5.  (3400.16)
    I am actually someone else entirely.

    *paranoid regarding anyone who says "eels" from now on.*
    • CommentAuthorJo
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2008
    If you know my full name you can find me on Facebook and on MySpace, but my identity in both those arenas is pretty innocuous, and I'm nowhere near the top of a Google search for any of my names. I'm not a very important or noisy person, and I like it that way. In order to get to anything damning, a searcher would have to correlate several tenuously connected normal-sounding handles and go picking through a lot of comments. Probably not worth the trouble. The only place my employer is mentioned by name is on Facebook, as a matter of record.

    I save all the really juicy stuff for real life.
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2008
    I don't really talk about anything REALLY personal or illicit or possibily illegal--I'd have to have an actual life to do that.

    The worst things that someone could pick up from me online is probably my political leanings, my opinions on books/movies/comics, and my sexual orientation, and if an possible employeer turns me down or an actual employeer fires me for that, I wouldn't want to work with them anyway.
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2008
    I have three identities online - my actual name, which is as much as an identity as a product, this name, which is where I feel safest talking and that makes no reference to my actual self and a third, which I use for secondary art projects that let's me be a cartoon, exaggerated version of myself. I'm generally very careful about how I separate everything.

    I'm worried about potential employers, my parents (who actually have yet to know my real sexual identity), and crazy stalker ex boyfriends.

    But, I've always been a person of multiple sides, where two people who know me would have conflicting images of who I am.
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2008
    Wow, I will confess I'm really surprised by how many people don't care... Maybe it's working in the IT industry, where people are extremely nosy, very resourceful and have too much time on their hands. It could also be my tendency to rant and run my mouth... which I reel in for the most part at work, but I let run rampant in other venues.

    I've worked in offices where your politics can get you fired. Sure, I left as soon as I could, but I don't rule out the possibility that I might run into that again. I wish I had the financial fortitude to be ideological in my employment - sadly, no.

    I recently had a recruiter I was on the phone with google me while I was on the phone with her - she found an old Deviant Art page I had up, which was under one of my common online names as well as my real name. I realized it was linked to my blog, among other places - not really where I want a recruiter to end up. That's how I started thinking about this more.

    It's not a matter of being ashamed - I don't really post anything *incriminating*, just things that might be considered odd, immature, cynical, sarcastic.. it's a matter of being cautious, because most people are idiots. Were I in a different industry, particularly a creative one, I might care less?