Monday, June 12, 2006

Why I took down all those nekkid pictures of myself

So, employers are getting blog-savvy and checking up on job candidates.

People who write on their Web sites about their fondness for blunts, binge drinking, and blowing things up are idiots who don't deserve jobs.

That said, the subject of Web anonymity and the lack of same makes me a little uneasy. When I started this blog two years ago, I identified myself as "Jim D." After about six or eight months, I decided to use my real name. I figured, what the heck? Maybe an old college friend will track me down.

But as time has gone on, I realize that outing myself like that could have unintended consequences. I took down one post about a certain culty religion after I started getting antagonistic comments when another blog linked to it--I really don't want to find a snake in my mailbox, and given the use of my real name and the fact that I've mentioned my geographic area more than a few times, it would be very easy to find me.

I also took down an early post about Boss Appreciation Day. It was, um, not terribly appreciative. There are a few people at work who know I keep this blog, though only one visits regularly that I know of. But that particular post probably would not have endeared me to those above me in the hierarchy here if it had been spread. So down it came.

Topic for discussion, should you care to chime in: Do you use your real name on your blog--and why or why not? Have you ever taken down something because of possible repercussions?


trinamick said...

I use my first name occasionally, but I don't give out my last name. So far, when I Google myself (dirty!), I get nothing. That's the way I like it.

Gina said...

Last summer, someone at a temp job (which I always referred to as The Worse Temp Job Ever) must have found a link to my blog in the cache of the web browser because there was an anonymous comment left a month or so after the gig ended quickly and uncerimoniously (which was probably a result of all of the above) that clearly indicated that this person knew the name of the institution where I temped. I'd never mentioned it, so it sort of tipped it that I'd been discovered. I wouldn't be surprised if my current boss reads my blog. A link to it comes up in Google, and he's a computer savvy guy. Lesson learned? Don't lie at work and then blog about the lie; keep the lie going on the blog.

Alan said...

I use my real name on my blog. I also use my image and the image of people I know.
I have even put up a short video the apartment I'm in.
I'm careful not to mention the company I work for back home.

I have not removed anything becasue of reprecussions. I put up a picture of my girlfriend in a poncho and had to suffer the repercussions!

punkinsmom said...

I do not use my real name or image, but that is not because of anything I might or might not say on my little blog. It's just that when people see how gorgeous I am, they have a hard time taking me seriously. And then I get all the admirers tracking me down and it just takes up a lot of time.

And I'm guessing there is more than one Jim Donahue in your neck of the woods, sir.

pablo said...

I don't use my real name on my blog, but some persistent regulars have tracked me down, so I suppose some persistent employers could too. But my blog is all about natural history -- hardly anything controversial in it.

When in doubt, I think, go for anonymity.

fanatic cook said...

I am a real person. I write about real things, things that matter to me. The name I go by is a pen name, kind of like how Ms. Dupin referred to herself as George Sand, and, well, yes, sometimes I do wear men's clothes too, if you count jeans and a tee shirt, although I have never smoked a pipe, or been courted by a famous composer.

It's always better to leave a little to the imagination :)

Peter said...

I just checked again 20 seconds ago, and I am still ungoogleable, and intend to stay that way as long as possible - I don't want anybody whom I haven't told to know about the blog. I've never mentioned an employer on my blog - though I have mentioned my grad school. Emloyees who stumbled on my blog accidentally might not know it was me by reading it, though the picture might tip them off, since I'm the only ceramic blue piggie I know of at my job.

unclewilly said...

I use a pseudonym because I post cute pictures of nieces and nephews from time to time (hence "unclewilly") and consider the online pen name a buffer of sorts. I'm sure smart folks could crack my ID.

John said...

I use my real name. And it's going to get me in a lot of trouble evenually, since I also use the real first name of a certain co-worker whom I may have written a few posts and angry haikus about...

MsYvone said...

i use my fake and real first names, and both of my husband. I try to avoid using my last name, since I don't need any korean spammers. (Like I get Korean telemarketers). Talk about Racial profiling! I did accidently leave a "signature" from a work email post once... oops. that disappeared quickly.

I avoid blogging about work, unless necessary. I read to many stories about being fired for that, and I've been fired for less before (even unemployment dept thought it was unfair!)

I have removed one post, because I was hormonally enraged when I posted it, and when i reached sanity again, it wasnt as funny.

NYPinTA said...

I use a fake name. I use it on all the BBs I belong too as well. Go ahead and google NYPinTA. I'm everywhere. A freaking post whore! In real life, I hardly talk. Wierd.
I don't post about work very often because it's boring here. And I never mention anyone in my life by their real names since I didn't ask their permission to tell stories about them. Except my mother. Her name really is Mom. And she really does know a guy who was once a radical revolutionary in Burhma and lost a friend after he fell out of a Mango tree. I couldn't make that up.
I've only taken one post down and that was because it was too stupid for even me.

Doug Hoffman said...

Doug Hoffman is my real name. I'm self-employed, so I only need to be careful (1) not to talk dirt about my hospital (not too much, anyway) and (2) not violate patient confidentiality. If established patients or potential patients get offended at what I've written, screw 'em. They can find another doctor. It hasn't happened yet, by the way.

Why don't I use a pseudonym? I don't know. No shame, maybe? A craving for infamy?