Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blogging and Internet Privacy

Image courtesy of SafetyWeb.com
In the age when facial recognition is incorporated into your driver's license picture and Facebook auto-tags you and your friends when you upload photos (though not always correctly), people worry about privacy on the net. The Man is spying on us all, looking for keywords in posts like terrorism and bomb and other threatening vocabulary

(Hello, Mr/Ms Fed Agent. Glad you came to read my blog!).

And yet we writers blog on a (semi-)regular basis. Not only that, but we put ourselves out there in a rather public sphere, some people even linking their blog of Facebook, Twitter, other co-authored blogs, some even going so far as to list their home address and phone number in case an agent would like to contact them. We create ourselves as public figures and hope we're not famous enough to attract real-life stalkers while also toning down the rants to avoid any government's spy radar from picking up our signals.

(Are you still with me, Mr/Ms Fed Agent? Or is this just chatter? Did you catch my use of the word "stalker"?)

What I find intriguing in all this are the people who have blogs, blogging profiles, and "aliases", but somehow those profiles are disconnected from the comments they leave on blogs. I personally like to respond to people's comments via email, because it may lead to a more personal discussion, or the person to whom I'm responding might not return to my blog to see my answer. And half the time, I hit reply, type a paragraph and click send before I realize that the response is going to "no-reply@blogger.com".

Image courtesy of Uproxx.com
I'm not sure what about it bothers me, but it seems paradoxical. Perhaps with "bloggers" who don't use blogger, i.e., people who use LiveJournal or WordPress, it makes sense, but still some of these people have Blogger profiles as they may use Google Reader or the Blogger Dashboard to read the latest and greatest. It's two clicks or so to connect an email address to an account. Why not do it?

I can only think of two reasons:
  1. The person doesn't know how (in which case, I say, go find a ten year old to show you); or
  2. S/he is worried about internet security and his/her email address being too accessible.
Yeah, you know, I kinda get it. I don't necessarily want my personal email available to anyone and everyone on the internet. So what did I do? In this booming technological age, I created another email address. Yes, folks, that makes three for me.
  1. A Google email address used exclusively for all things literary. I use it for contests, comments, site registration at places like LinkedIn, Narrative.com, etc. If you know me from my blog, it's probably the only email address of mine you'll ever see (except for Carol).
  2. My university email. You don't even need to be a tried and true hacker to figure out the address for this email account, but I'm not flaunting it around the net. I use it for work and some personal email. The end.
  3. My Yahoo account. While I'm unsure how one blogger has found this and uses it to email me the periodic announcement from her blog (and she may not even know who she is), it's really my catch-all email address. I use it to register at places that are likely to generate spam.
So given the potential for the separation of the net and the personal, I can't figure out why people don't connect an email address to their comments. We're all already online, and therefore have significantly forfeit a portion of our right to internet privacy. We want people to connect to us, read our blogs, and participate in the conversation, but to do that with such a limited means of connecting, to me, seems like cherry picking.

Am I wrong? Are you one of the people who doesn't have your email connected to your account? Tell me why. I honestly don't get it and would like to know.

Are you concerned about yourself being so public and your right to internet privacy? What do you do to protect yourself?


Theresa Milstein said...

You raise good points.

I have my e-mail connected to my account. Gmail has been good about filtering spam, so I haven't gotten much spam e-mail in my inbox.

Privacy is something I've lost a little with convenience. I'm careful about what I let show to non-friends on Facebook. But I know there are hackers out there, and I'm sure government and non-government entities know more about me than I'd like.

D. U. Okonkwo said...

It's definitely a good idea to have your email connected to your account. I use a separate email on my blog to my personal one. It makes it easier to distinguish what an email will relate to. But I see what you're saying, it's important to keep privacy in mind. It's about being professional at the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

I always hate responding to no-reply@blogger.com. I always want to comment back (I'm talkative) and then I realize that they don't have an email address connected to blogger. *sigh* I always love when bloggers respond to my comment. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

LOVE the Venn diagram!! :)

I don't understand why people don't connect their emails either - it's so easy to have more than one email address & it does make life so much easier!

Carol Riggs said...

Haha, are you talking about ME? (the "Carol" in question). Yep, I have a separate gmail account for my writerly stuff. It makes life easier, separated into compartments like that. I love responding to my commenters too! and I hardly ever have time to go back to a site that I've commented upon. So, sniff, I hardly see when someone responds to me ON their site.

I think some people THINK they have an email attached to their profile when in reality they don't. Friends can check if they can't tell from their profile. :)

Wanton Redhead Writing said...

I did have my email attached to my comments. I got some lovely hate mail about my beer loving Muslim husband, so it's not linked now. But, I think my big mouth may have caused some of it.

Glad to find your blog.

Rachael Harrie said...

I definitely agree it's annoying when people don't have their emails connected. I do, and have right from the start. Part of it (I believe) is that many people have created their blogs under pen names, and used their "real" email address to set up their blog. So they're worried that people will find those out (even though there is a fix for it).

There's also the fact many don't realize they can connect up their email, I think. And the privacy issue/concern about spam is a big one for many.

*shrugs* I guess posts like this one are all we can do :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails