Identity issues

At the March meeting of the Seattle Weblogger Meetup Group, we talked about online identity issues as they pertain to blogging. At least half of the people at the table said they were blogging anonymously. Some of them were convinced their identities were completely secure; others suspected they were vulnerable to being outed.

The issue of blogging and online identity comes up quite often in my work. Last year I was asked to copy edit text for a corporate website and was concerned when I saw bios for the company’s multi-millionaire executives that included the names of their young children, and way too much information about the families’ neighborhoods and hobbies.

More recently, a writer friend of mine found out that a reader had complained to his publisher about a political opinion he’d expressed in a photo caption. It turned out that the reader had found the captioned photo not in his published work, but fairly deep in the author’s personal website.

As an arts critic and essayist long before I’d ever heard of blogging, I’ve written a number of pieces that refer to my personal life. I suppose that some of the things I’ve revealed could offend some potential client and, in that sense, come back to bite me. But I don’t think it would be much more than a gentle nibble.

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