Recent Cases of Mistaken Identity:
- Those of you who don't know me will find the following amusing, those of you who do know me will find it hilarious. I was sitting next to the pool the other day, watching the kid swimming. I was wearing a pirate bandanna, a light long sleeved top, blue jeans, and cowboy boots. I am sipping a Icy Cold Pint of Heinekin. A woman comes over and says, "Wouldn't you rather be in the pool? aren't you hot?" and I'm all, " I'm not really much of a swimmer, and anyway, I don't want to get cold" We chatted about this and that, the kids, etc... and as she walked away, she said "I don't know you Muslim women do it. Being all covered up like that" I think she had me confused for someone else... someone far more pious than I am.
- Three times in the last week, someone has called me by the name of my former boss, or assigned her last name to me. Like "Suburban Al Zubair" for Example. We look a lot alike, and when we were working together, we were really inseparable.... But, I don't think she wants to be affiliated with me, and I'm perfectly happy being a Non-Wastafarian, and using my Non-Wastafarian Husband's Last name. Any advice on how to extricate myself from this particular association is welcomed. Likewise, and advice on how to have a lot of fun with this increasingly common mistake is welcomed as well.
On the Subject of My former boss... Despite all the insane shit in the company, and the total Friendship shut-down when I resigned, I miss her, and miss whatever questionable friendship we shared. How pathetic am I, Seriously?
On the subject of Social Media, I attended another Tweet-Up over the Weekend, and had a great time talking to (Talking At?) everyone there. You can Add road Safety and the 1979 Siege of the Grand Mosque in Makkah to the already comprehensive list of issues which I seem to be able to discuss at length with virtual strangers. Everyone was really polite, despite the no doubt crazed look in my eyes. It was a great event, overall, but I came away having learned a really important lesson in the reality of maintaining Semi Anonymity and a separation between my online or public persona, and my private, or real persona.
I Blog Semi-Anonymously not because I'm unwilling to stand behind the things I write. I blog Semi-anonymously because I need to protect my family from the sort of Wackos who send hate-mail and death threats, and the sort of Religious Nut-Jobs at Stone's work who would like to get him in trouble for the things I choose to write.
Having received One death threat, and the occasional threatening Nasty-Gram, I am selective about to whom I reveal my name, contact details, and identity, even more so where my family is concerned. I, (and now Stone) have unfortunately been outed, through my own carelessness, or via misunderstood implied consent, three times in the last few months. Stone is Absolutely Fucking Livid, and rightly so. Even the neighbors could hear him shouting this morning. He's pissed, because my dorky blogging and twitter habit shouldn't effect him.
You guys don't know the Kid's real names, and you don't know Stone's Real name. This is important to me because it's their privacy, and their safety. If I wanted them referred to by their real names online or in public, I would call them by their real names. So, Internet and social media Whiz-Kids out there, If I don't refer to myself or my family by their real names online, NEITHER SHOULD YOU. That is totally basic, elementary level Internet blogging and Twitter Etiquette.
It's fair to point out that I should be more careful about whom I share any identifying details with, and that I should, obviously, spell out my expectations regarding how my information is shared when the online and offline worlds collide. As a result, I'm tidying up my twitter stream, and editing down some blog posts which give away more information than I feel comfortable having in the public sphere at this time. Something I should have done a long time ago.
Guys, How do you balance the amount of personal information available about you online. Were is your risk/ reward bar set for being personally identifiable online?