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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Anonymity, Celebrity and "The Future"

I read an interesting article over on Get In, Hang On. Go ahead--give it a read.



What's interesting is that I started out my life online paranoid as the next guy. I had pseudonyms for my alter egos. I didn't post images, even sketches I had drawn. I tried to encrypt everything. And I turned off my modem at night.

...okay, all that is a tad of an exaggeration. I had pseudonym. Image hosting wasn't exactly viable. Encryption wasn't even a word yet. And we paid for the internet by the minute. But that's not the point.

The point is: I have since changed.

I used to worry about my identity being stolen. I was concerned that people would "find me" ...or something. But now I blog for a living. I spend quite a bit of time each day creating content so people will get to know my name. I post pictures of myself. I write articles and posts detailing my personal issues and struggles. I even give away my Social Security number and bank account information. ...not really.

What has changed in my mind? Why don't I worry about Facebook?

1. I do my best to be wise about what I post, but more than that, I do my best to live in such a way so as to be acceptable. So, since I don't go to parties and get drunk or shoot up, I have nothing to hide there. What things that others may hide I write about, and so "coming clean" makes it possible for me to talk about the subjects openly without fear of people smearing my reputation. I already threw it out there for the wolves to devour.

2. Everyone (especially employers) need to realize that there are many aspects of a person and their life. If they can't separate those and only address these issues when one area negatively bleeds into the other, they won't be as successful as they could be.

3. I'm actively trying to become a celebrity, of sorts. I want to be a "trusted voice" in the media and homeschooling communities. I don't mind being a public figure. I don't mind people knowing who I am or what I'm up to. ...that tune may change when paparazzi start snapping pictures of me cuddling my kids, but until that day...

I'd love to be your friend on Facebook.

And if something shifts in the future, I may be the first to go. But that will give you plenty of warning so you can get a new identity and run for the hills.

~Luke Holzmann
Celebrity, Star, Prolific Blogger


Craig and Heather said...

Speaking of "celebrity status", I've been wanting to let you know my kids enjoy the Mathtacular series.

Lately, they really get a kick out of the Commutative Man segment. There's something about that guy in tights and a cape that they think is hilarious...

When I found your site, I had to show them, and they thought it was pretty exciting that you are so accessible :)

Perhaps I shall request that you add me to your Facebook friend list.


Melonie said...

Interesting concepts. As a writer I tried to build up my online persona, but when I married back into the military, I asked how they wanted to handle the issue. We were told by the security officer of my husband's unit then that I could a) use my married name and not write/blog about ANYTHING military-related (not their first choice due to still naming names, and not my first choice as it limited my marketing options); b) I could use a different last name or pseudonym and discuss military issues (to a certain extent - we still have family-imposed limits my husband and I agreed upon) or c) I could stop writing. Entirely. End of career - or potential career, as it were.

I chose option B. I definitely wanted to STOP using my last name from my first marriage, for the obvious reasons. And I had already been using my middle initial to differentiate myself from a woman in a - ah, um - more "visual" business..... so I decided to use my first name and middle initial or middle name (which is actually my maiden last name - I had it legally changed to my middle name when I married the first time).

It keeps OPSEC intact, keeps me recognizable, and frankly if anybody wants to find me that badly, they'll end up at my mom's house. And THAT could get interesting. ;-)

Kimmie said...

No Facebook...not sure God has released me to it...not sure He will. Can we still be friends ;-)

bless you Luke!

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Meg_L said...

you know, I limit my exposure, but not the same on everything.

On my blog I use my first name and people do get to my regular email if I end up corresponding with them (and learn my last name), but I don't talk about where my husband works. (and it often has bearing on things I might talk about). On that totally open space, I do limit things, including not posting pics of the kids (though if you know what to look for you can often find them in the group shots.)or us.

But on Facebook and on some Yahoo lists, I'm much more open.

I found the article worth noting because so many of my kids' friends have pages and they need to realize that their choices about their pages could have lasting effects.

LOL - with my son, it won't be a problem...but my daughter LOVES pushing limits.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

My husband is a hit man and has cautioned me not to discuss his business.

Ok, not really. But he tells me not to blog about his job. So ok. He's a programmer (I think I can say that much!).

But I use a pseudonym for a few reasons:

When I started blogging I had an infant and another on the way. I like to KEEP my kids and don't want to wind up like that lady that sold little dogs...

If I get to "know" someone online like you or other friends, we'll exchange emails and maybe eventually addresses. I'm "cautious" but not "paranoid." I post my kids' pics online and say I'm in Missouri, just not what city.

I can't imagine going onto Facebook, but if I do, I'll "friend" you ok?

PS You might get lots of new hits if you host the Homeschool Carnival, have you considered it? Just a thought. It looks like a lot of work, though.

Luke Holzmann said...

Heather, I'm glad you enjoy "Commutative Man." He's certainly my favorite. ...and, yes, I've worn that costume in public for costume parties.

Inhibitions? Shame?

I have little. <smile>

Melonie, those all sound like perfectly legitimate reasons (especially when you are required by law to be more discrete and don't want to be mixed up with a less than savory--er... too "savory"?--character <smile>).

Kimmie, no pressure to join Facebook. Do you as you feel you should. But if you join up, I'd love to be your official friend there. I'm glad to know you as a friend here <smile>.

Meg, I agree the article is worth noting. In fact, I did! <laughing> Kids do need to become ever more aware of this stuff, it is true.

Mrs. C, you crack me up! ...wait, can saying that get me killed?! If so, my address is, umm... I live in Pretendistan, South of the boarder between Bermuda and Atlantis.

I've seen the Homeschool Carnival around, but I haven't serious considered it. That's a good tip, I'll think about. Thanks!


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Luke, you know I know your address! Don't make me get out of this chair...

Anonymous said...

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mary grace said...

As you now know, I blog under a pseudonym. Unfortunately, my family suffered some pretty major trauma after an angry reader decided to show my journalist husband just how angry he really was. This involved a move--middle of the night-style--to another town, police involvement and more hassle than you can imagine.

Two other incidents followed, as if that wasn't enough. Broken car windows. Spray painting on our house. And, oh yeah ... a rock through our bedroom window.

These weren't related, wither. Different pshychos perpetrated each crime.

So you can say I'm a little gun shy. Dh is still very much in the public eye, but the rest of the crew travels incognito for the time being. I blog under a pen name, and do most of my reviews and whathaveyou under the same. My fiction is published under my real name, but tracking me down through that would be quite a feat. I never underestimate the determined mind, however. Anyone who really wants to find me wouldn't have to look that hard. I just take the approach of not handing the destination to them on a sliver platter. :-)

Luke Holzmann said...

Mrs. C, I knew I shouldn't have sent you that information... [snicker]

Lisa, glad to be your friend, both here and in Facebook [smile].

Mary Grace, I hadn't heard that side of things. That's crazy intense. May your undercover life continue to provide your protection and safety for you and your family. And I hope I don't get any psychos on me... yikes.



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