Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vacationing in public

I mentioned recently that Laura and I went on vacation. But I didn't mention it until after we were back. I suspect this is pure paranoia on my part, but it's pretty easy to connect my online presence with my location in the real world. And it doesn't seem smart to leave a searchable note telling people when I'll be gone.

This line of thinking never occurred to me until recently, when I mentioned in passing that my wife doesn't care for Howard Stern and got 200 or so (obscene, unpunctuated, grammar-free) hateful comments from the Stern Fan Network. Some of them were downright threatening; if they would've come in the mail or by phone call, instead of anonymous blog comment, I would've called the police. As it is, I wasn't too worried; there's a yawning gulf between firing off a quick, anonymous threat to someone who dislikes your hobby, and actually following through on the threats. Still, it made me realize exactly how easy I am to find; I blog under my own name, I list my employer by name, and I'm in no way anonymous or hiding. And it's at least possible that anyone obsessive enough that they're making 80 posts a day on the SFN might also be obsessive enough to find me in person....

Out of curiosity, I did a Google blogs search and found quite a few people in Indy who've got future vacation plans on their blogs, who are also pretty easy to find from their online footprint. I'm easier to find than most (being the only person with my name in the entire midwest, as far as I know), but even if you're Joe Smith or Mark Douglas, it's not hard to pin you down in the real world. It just seems unwise....

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