Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Comfort in Sharing

In the real world, as my husband will joke, in 5 minutes of meeting a new person, I tell him/her my life story. Of course, that's not true, however, I am a friendly person and "open" myself up in order to connect with people. I'm one of those people that you can put in a room full of people who I don't know, and within minutes, I'll be talking with someone as if I've known that person all along.

Am I that same person when it comes to online communication? I like to think that I'm not. I thought I was trying to "enclose" my identity as much as possible when I was online. However, I just Googled my name, and boy, I was wrong! My name (and pictures of me) showed up on three pages!  I clicked on each link and found that by just knowing my name, anyone can find out how old I am, where I live and what my home phone number is. They would enough information to know that that I'm a teacher and how long I've been teaching. Because of Geni, they would even know the names of my family members. Knowing all of this, I now have to say that I definitely am the same person in an online environment without knowing that I was!

The difference is when I speak to a person face to face, I make a conscious choice of what I share with them. I choose what I want to share and what I want to keep private.  I was shocked to see what someone could find out about me just by Googling my name. I may not have been consciously choosing to share this information, but really, do I have a choice? It seems that any account I set up with  my name will show up. This could be an easy fix; set up an alias! However, I even found my Healthy Living paper that I wrote for a class. I realize, I would not be able to "enclose" myself totally.

So, to address Dr. Bert's question, I am somewhat comfortable in sharing my information online. I'm not going to go crazy trying to change things. I will, however, be more aware of where I'm using my name. I've come to realize that some of the information about me is going to be out there as long as I'm using the internet.

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