Saturday, August 20, 2005

Are There Kooks in Blogland?

Have you met any real kooks in blogland? Some people in my family seem to think I am selling my soul to the devil by blogging, and opening up my computer (and perhaps my person) to all manner of horrible afflictions. I am frequently admonished not to post any photos of them, or use their real names or tell too many identifying tales, lest they be the victims of identity theft or something worse. Now, one of them thinks I might leave her father and go off to see someone I have "met" on the blog and end up a missing person (or worse) with my life story splashed all over TV and the tabloids.

As luck would have it, the one who is most concerned with my NOT writing about her, was "found out" on my blog by one of her co-workers. I had posted a story about my children and how proud I was of them all, and a person emailed me saying "I think I know your daughter" . Since my daughter lives a good many miles away from me, and I had not used her name or firm (only her career) it was sort of eerie to get that message, but it turns out that they both work for the same firm. The co-worker writes a blog and had read mine - and the rest is history. Of course now, my daughter uses this illustration to point out how easy it is for someone to discover who you are - even if you write anonymously.

Now, what you don't know is that this particular kid has what we call in our family her own personal "Six Degrees of Separation". She never goes anywhere that she doesn't meet someone she knew in school, or someone she worked with before, or someone who knows someone who knows her. Her trips all over the continent are legendary because of whom she meets on the trip. And it never fails, no matter where she goes, there will be a story to tell about it. For example, in 2001 we were standing in Pearl Harbor awaiting our time to enter the theater and tour the Arizona Memorial. I saw a man wearing a cap from her university. I spoke to him, mentioning that 2 of my children had graduated from there, and when she talked to him about his son who had attended that school - it turned out that they had graduated the same year - and we were all in the football stadium for the graduation on the same day! Now, here we were 9-10 years later standing in Pearl Harbor together. Blows my mind!

This same child is one who was told, as she boarded a plane for the Barcelona Olympics years ago, not to announce her destination to anyone on the plane. She was just out of school; young and vulnerable, and we wanted her to be careful not to divulge any information which might lead to a problem, especially not any that might result in the loss of her Passport. She had to travel to Chicago and then on to NY, London and Paris. Darned if she didn't get into a conversation with some passengers about their shared destinations, and by the time she arrived in Chicago, everyone on the plane knew where she was going! Luckily, none of them had any malice in mind, and her trip was completed easily and well.

I would like to dispel her fears here and now: I promise not to run off and set up housekeeping with any of my blog readers (sorry Hoss). I will do my best to prevent anyone finding out who you are or where you work or what your income is; I will not delve into my bank account and send off chunks of money to indigents on the streets or guys in foreign countries who are looking for places to launder their money or TV evangelists who promise eternal salvation for greasing their palms.

So you see, baby, Mama is not nearly as naive as you seem to think. Quit worrying about me and my blog. We will both be just fine!

Note: I have no idea why there is a color change in this post - I didn't mean for that to happen , and in the preview - the whole post is the same color. Go figure?!





27 comments:

Nancy said...

Hi, somehow I got confused at Michele's.

Here I am, Michele sent me!

I have only met nice people in the blogosphere.

That is so interesting about your daughter. SOme people are just like that, making connections wherever they go.

I will visit again.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I've met some nice ones and some crazy ones. But like they say, there's one in every crowd!

Stopping by via Michele's again :)

Mr. Bee said...

That color change is probably from some hacker who gained access to your computer and is messing with your mind.

Kooks!...You probably think I'm a Kook.
I'm sorry about getting off on the wrong foot with you.

Caution is a good thing when you Blog but I do believe some unknowing folk can become too possessed with fear about it. They will NEVER have the intestinal fortitude to become a Blogger.

Courtney said...

I have a relative who is a lot like that. She and her husband where touring a small bunker on an island off the east coast that had been used in some war. When she came out of the bathroom from there a man walked up to her and yelled out her name. It had been a client that she had worked with. She works with clients all over the world, and I swear everytime we go places with her, no matter where it is she runs into someone she knows.

Michelle said...

My family and friends are the same way about me blogging. I think they believe I have joined some sort of cult. It cracks me up!

Michele sent me, loved your story.

Jamie Dawn said...

Earlier I was unable to post my comment here, but now I'm back to try again.
My prevous comment was soooo good.
Now, I don't remember it.

Some people think that blogging is a waste of time, or that it's somehow a negative thing. I suppose they think reading a book or watching TV is better.
But, we bloggers know how stimulating it is to use our creative writing skills and wit to post, then use our reading skills to read others' posts, and then use our minds to post a decent comment. We do all this using our computer skills as well.
Long live blogging!!

Stay clear of the kooks. Your daughter is right.

honestyrain said...

how weird is it that they knew who your daughter was from something very vague! gives you chills. i guess we're not really anonymous.

here via michele's m-n-g

Superhero Bob said...

Here I am!!!! via Michele's - sort of.

Let's see how much of what I can remember of what I had writ before ....

I love blogging...yeah, I post anon, and try to use cover names for my friends...but I also have run into a teen that lives in the same area that I do - and the best part is, we have no idea who the other person is!!

My biggest fears aren't about kooks....it's whether one of my friends will read it and decide to use my fears and insecurities and doubts against me [yeah - I have friends that would do that in a heart beat.]

and just like when I was on Cpt. Picard's blog, I just ramble on and on!! Sorry! [he had problems with spammers too]

J&J'sMom said...

Are you my mother? Your daughter sounds like my mother's description of me ;) I was at Thomas' Day Out two states away a couple of months ago and saw someone I knew from the gym. Go figure. I was in Canada a couple of years ago and saw someone I went to high school with..regardless.. I wrote about some of the idiosyncracies of the blogosphere today too..I don't think you can be too careful, but I don't think anyone is out to get me either. I just try to respect my family and friends feelings and privacy issues as well as those of my fellow bloggers. All will be fine ;0) Good post!..Oh and Hello, Michele sent me!

poopie said...

My family is the same paranoid way about blogging...drives me nuts. I've had my scrapes with the internet crazies and have learned from them.

Thumper said...

Didja know kooks have their own newsgroup? I think it's alt.kooks.net ... seriously!

I've always been fairly careful about posting info about neighbors and friends and most of my family. The Boy and the Spouse Thingy, they're fair targets :) I'm not sure my neighbors in OH appreciated being referred to as the Evil Ones, though...

Thumper said...

Oh...here via Michele's this time!

Heather said...

I have met many lovely people in the blogging community. But I am not about to run off and set up household with them, either!

Michele sent me this time.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

There definitely are kooks online, but take a look at your comments--I definitely think we "normals" outnumber the kooks. Besides, I have a feeling most of the kooks are frequenting porn sites, as opposed to the personal blogs of people they don't know. :-)

That being said, I still refrain from posting any identifying pictures on my blog, especially of my son.

MacManus said...

Hi There...Michele sent me.
99.9% of the people I have met online have been great. They are some of the funniest, most honest, interesting and supportive people I have ever met. Keep up the great work.

Laura GF said...

I wonder about being found out in my blog... as you describe, I try to leave out identifying details and names but anyone who knows me in real life would immediately recognize me from what's included in my blog. We'll see. Thanks for stopping by and commenting today -- I hope you will stop by again soon.

Pearl said...

It's funny. Do worriers like these live cautiously acorss the board or only when it comes to the internet? Do they have unlisted phone numbers, never pass around business cards, avoid surveillance cameras, leave no paper trail of credit cards, dealing only in cash? In the case of some of my family members who worry about me, yes but there has to be a limit to it. It's a loss of our lives barred up in fear of what might happen.

kenju said...

Pearl, your comment about my post is definitely something to think about. I will ask my daughter if she is as cautious in her daily life as she expects me to be.

Lynda said...

It's a shame that of the millions of people using the internet, the truly few that abuse it make it scary for those who don't. It is good advice to be careful with what we share "just in case" and, in my opinion, your online circle of friends usually tends to be people similar to yourself.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

This is just a test to see if I can get through your new comment dealie. If I can, then I want to say this:

Boy, what a bother...

Curator said...

I've come across the full gamut, it's amazing some of the blogcircles you can find.

Michele sent me.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

You mean I could actually get a new identity and be someone else for awhile? HECK YEAH!!!

Seriously though, everybody I write about gets an alias...except me. And work only gets mentioned only in passing.

I wish I could blog about work. Boy the stories I could tell! But there have been people to be fired from their jobs over blogs.

dena said...

I really don't worry too much about these things, but it is interesting that someone recognized your daughter. I've never stumbled across someone I knew. Someone in the same city is about as close as I've come to knowing someone...I live in a very populated city.

Visiting from Michele's.

E said...

That post cracks me up because I have the same conversations with folks in my family...not about me, because they don't know I do this...but in general terms, they don't understand how people can "put themselves out there like that"...I guess it takes a blogger to understanda blogger! :)

E said...

Oh, I forgot to say I was here from Michele's!

Kim said...

Hi! Michele did NOT send me! LOL! My family is not worried about my blog. My husband's comment was "What's a blog?" 'Nuff said.

colleen said...

I actually get hits to my blog by people googling my son's name. And I think my family got used to being out there online because I already had a website (related to my book) and their photos were posted. Some family members actually wish I would write about them more. Others don't really understand that anyone can come to my blog and read (and that the whole thing is being saved and recorded).