Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Bloganonymity

NRT over at the Ministry of Information has an interesting post about anonymity when blogging, and how his online persona is somewhat different to how he is in real life. It’s something I can relate to to some extent.


The difference between how I appear through this site and how I really am is considerably narrower than in NRT’s case – while I don’t include my face in every post like Dave does you don’t have to look too far to find a few photos of me. Finding photos of my friends or housemates, however, is more difficult; while I have mentioned them in the third person a few times, I rarely post their names or photos of them. This mostly out of respect for their privacy; a number of them know about this site and I’m unsure what their reaction would be if they saw that I’d been saying things about them without them knowing or without their permission.
It’s certainly true to say you could find out a lot more about me from this site than you could for other bloggers. I don’t share my home address or my phone numbers since I do value having some level of privacy, but you all know my name (heck, it’s in the weblog title and the URL) and a few other basic facts about me.
I’m also less techy in real life. Funnily enough, I don’t spend all of my time sat in the pub chatting about how to write efficient regular expressions and whether PHP is better than Perl. Sure, discussion topics do enter geek territory from time to time when I’m with people who share my interests but, while this surprise you, there is more to my life than computers, the internet and blogging. Older entries in here went into more detail about what was going on in my life but nowadays it’s less about me and more about what I’m interested in. That’s just the way things have happened.
That said, my style of writing here probably isn’t a million miles away from how I speak with friends.
All in all, I’d like to think this site shows me up for who I am, but at the same time there’s a line to be drawn somewhere. I’m all for making information freely available, but sometimes you can give away too much information.
incidentally, The Scottish Parliament has just been advised about blogging and paedophilia.

6 Comments

  1. Actually, you have published your home address in a rather public place – but we won’t mention where here.
    I actually want people to feel like they know me when reading my blog – it helps clients/employers feel confident in me. And yes, what I blog about is usually what I talk about.
    I don’t talk about my personal life much on my blog, but thats because I feel people care more about my techy/politics posts. The only times I aim for true anonymity (online and off) is when I’m doing stuff I really don’t want traced back to me – and you can’t really do that on a blog.

  2. Actually, just realised it’s on my CV. Still, one of those addresses is out of date anyway.

  3. That’s not what I was thinking of, but yes ok.

  4. I think I was thinking of the same place as Lordrich, but I won’t mention it either. Wasn’t there some discussion if addresses should really be published, especially for individuals? I also have a vague memory of an opt-out provision being mentioned, but can’t find anything on the site at first glance.

  5. Yes, Richard just reminded me over email. I did originally opt out of having my details there, but there’s been a letter addressed to me about that hanging around at my parents house for a while. Should probably act on it at some point…

  6. “…write efficient regular expressions and whether PHP is better than Perl.”
    Well, I can hope so!