Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Second thoughts

Today marked a first for this blog: Someone found it by googling my name.

I don't know who and I don't know why. What I do know is that it worries me.

When I've checked Google before, the blog didn't show up until at least the second page of results. And I was comfortable with that -- since you never go past the first page unless you're very very motivated -- or looking for a specific result.

Today, the blog showed up as #3, right under my old law firm bio and right before a three-year-old court decision.

I shouldn't be that worried, right? I mean, I don't write anything here that I wouldn't say to people's faces, especially since so many people that know me in real life -- including family members -- occasionally stop by and read. And I don't really write about work, or anything too personal. Still, it's a little weird thinking that someone -- like opposing counsel or a judge -- might accidentally happen upon one of my inane little diatribes.

And it's a little scary in light of the fact that other bloggers have had their personal (& private) information posted on the internet as a result of having a blog -- and in this particular circumstance, a blog that they purposefully chose to write using an alias.

To me, the anonymity of the internet is one of the things that makes it so great. You should be free to speak your mind, to disclose what you want -- to communicate -- without feeling threatened. And if you don't use your name -- or your address, where you work, etc. -- that should be your choice, too.

It's a covenant of sorts. Or maybe it's just the golden rule taken to another level.


squirrel said...

I had this happen to me last year. A person I did not like found my blog by Googling my name. I had to delete the blog and then contact Google to get the cashed pages off Google. Thats why I have this anon blog with this ridiculous name of Squirrel! LOL. It sucked at the time but the freedom to speak my mind without fear of being found is so much better. I don't put my name or the city or state I live in. Even my kids have fake names. I could be that someone was looking for someone else witrh your same name. Just watch your sitemeter to see if they keep coming back. Sorry to take up so much space in your comments, this post just struck a chord with me. :)

dara said...

Squirrel: I'd dismiss it as coincidence, but I have a very unusual first and last name. There is no doubt that whomever it was was looking for me.

On the most part, I don't really care that people I know are reading the blog. Most of my friends, a lot of my current and former coworkers, and my family all know about it. Heck, my ex-boyfriend reads it (although I'm not really sure if he knows that I know), and while I think it's none of his business, I don't really care that much.

What bothers me is that now, even though I don't use my last name, someone that I know in a solely professional capacity can happen upon it and know my political ideology, my birthday, and that my dog died last month. Couple that with what is going on in the DC blogging community with people's personal information being published on the internet, and it's a little menacing.

Beakerz said...

oh please. your face is up there, and do you Truly believe somebody is gonna come and kill you? No? Good!

Because you don't say anything on here about screwing horses or Congressman so you have nothing to be ashamed about.

I love your blog!

This weekend, when I'm finally free of total bullcrap, I have a lot of posts to make.

my second or third will be about how people can know where I live and I don't care.

dara said...

As long as I'm not writing anything really personal or embarrassing or controversial, I think I'm okay. But I still like that my professional universe and my writing/personal universe have some distance between them.

Evil Spock said...

In this day and age, confidentiality is an illusion, lest you want to live off of the grid.

I wouldn't worry too much. You're not too controversial, and perhaps someone googled you from like high school or college, kinda like people and their myspace or facebook.

Anyway, I live for the day to get hatemail! Actually, I probably wouldn't like it. Oh well, delusions of grandeur . . .

e.b. said...

I get where you are coming from and totally understand the fear and paranoia that comes with doing this.
But at the same time I totally google peoples names from my past to see if I can find them - say if they are married or committed some horrific crime. You know the basics. So it could be entirely innocent - an ex boyfriend or a long lost best friend from 3rd grade.

mad said...

Well, I just hope this doesn't freak you out to the point where you delete and start all over. That would be a major shame.

dara said...

Evil Spock: I know that people could find this -- completely innocently -- the same way that they find me on myspace. But I don't write anything there -- I just use it as a tool to find old friends. Here, I write my thoughts -- admittedly for others to peruse.

But then again, there's a reason I don't use my last name. It's sort-of the same reason that I don't go to court in jeans and a monkey t-shirt. There's a world of difference between professional me and the "just hanging out with my friends" version -- and we talk about different things in different ways for different purposes.

e.b.: Paranoia is a little strong. But you know what I mean.

Mad: I'm not freaking out completely, and I am not even thinking about quitting. The most drastic thing I might do is choose a new name, just to add some distance between this blog and my professional career.