Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al
2011-07-30 12:04 pm (UTC)
Very much so. Under my so-called real name: a few months of Usenet posts, mostly to
from the tail end of the 90s when I was trying to keep my French up to date. (I never discovered the good bits of Usenet because my school told me that the
hierarchy was where all the predators and axe-murderers and skeevy bogemen hung out, so I didn't venture there.) A really bland pro website that contains my CV and a couple of bits of pop science writing and that's it.
Under my net handle: 8 years and a million words worth of blog posts. (I deliberately chose to expose the continuity between my LJ and here.) I also have a secondary nickname that I use for commenting at more public blogs; you can get from there to my offline name fairly easily, but it's not a direct connection, a straightforward Google search on my name doesn't find those comments. And in some ways I think it might be better if I just commented as Liv@DW, because then people could get a clear impression of who I am and what I stand for by clicking through to my DW. Certainly if I started calling myself "Rachel B____" in blog discussions, the only thing that it would add to my reputation would be to expose the name of the university where I work. Surely knowing my net history over the last decade is a more meaningful way of establishing that I'm a "real" person than that.
Like you, I don't rigidly separate my professional identity from my online identity. There are quite a lot of people I friend both on FB and here, for starters. And once I have a relationship with someone of the sort that I would normally discuss eg my political opinions with them, then I tell them that Rachel B____ and Liv are the same person. I've also linked to real name stuff from locked posts here. I'm not trying to hide from a determined stalker or a hostile government, I'm just making sure that when my students Google my name, they find my CV and my published papers, not details of how I spent Saturday night. And when my congregants look me up on Facebook, they find me talking about the weather, not about my struggling with Queer identity or my sarcastic comments about bad interfaith events.
My feeling is that if people who see me as a teacher really put effort into tracking me down, they can probably work out who I am. But then it's their fault for snooping, not my fault for behaving unprofessionally. Apart from anything else, with the medical students I'm trying to model the professional standards expected of them. The rules are that they can get permanently barred from the medical register before they're even on it, if they're careless about what they say online. So let them see their lecturers managing their online presence and behaving appropriately too; for an 18-year-old it's a pretty abrupt transition from "let it all hang out" to "be extremely careful, because you could jeopardize your career."
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