Okay, I love this. It's so of-the-moment, it's practically tailor-written for a little piece in the New York Times. The Times, not Salon, because Salon is a little more aware of the how the internet works, and not so inclined to describe the normal in terms of fancy condescending psycho-sociology. What am I talking about? A woman I met at La Leche in Connecticut found my blog via Tertia. I made internet contact with someone I haven't spoken to in two years because I commented on a blog written by a South African woman. Come on, admit you think this is wild.
So, in case this episode doesn't make it painfully obvious, I'm not writing to disguise myself from those who've met me. I think it would take any of my friends or family or passing acquaintances about three seconds to figure out that this is my blog. For one thing, they would recognize the kids in the photo that accompanies my profile. For another, I'm using my real name. And for the last, I use WEG in the title, even though it has yet to appear in the text, and WEG is a dead giveaway in my circle.
No, I'm not pursuing total anonymity. With a little deductive logic and a little internet investigation, I'm reasonably certain all of you could find me in two or three searches. No, I'm disguising the names and precise current locations and other extraneous details mostly to keep myself flying below the google radar. I don't want anyone to find this website while looking for me. Oh, also, I don't want my kids' future prom dates to learn all these intimate details about their lives. HAHAHAHAHA.* Ahem. No. I'm disguising the kids' names in particular because they haven't given consent to use them, and because I'm still not quite certain how the internet aids or abets child abduction (most of which is done by folks the child and the parents would describe as known), and because it just seems like the right thing to do. Everyone has to go with their gut on this one, and this is my gut: don't use the kids' names. Don't announce their exact birthdates. Don't post identifying photos. Don't give people enough information to lead them to your door, at least not without e-mail exchange.
Some of my wariness about the photos arises from imaginary triplet families. There have been a few websites and forum identities created with the use of borrowed photos of triplets. (Apparently this happens to parents of singletons, too.) I have more of a "whatever" attitude to imaginary online identities than many people, but I'm not going to let someone else claim my kids. I suppose the trade-off might be that the lack of explicit details (especially on the Triplet Connection) might lead some folks to doubt me. An especially paranoid survivor of the TC might even suspect I invented Erika, Audrey, and Isabel, just to lend myself some credence.
I know that people being hired in my once and future employment field should expect to be googled. I would prefer that my blog habits not be part of the results. I don't suppose being a semi-literate mom to many would count against me, but it doesn't need to be part of the hiring profile. (If you google my real name, you'll find an article about Calder and me and our kids in the archives of a certain university publication anyway.) Also, I don't want Calder or my mother or my mother-in-law to find this site by accident. Luckily, they're all indifferent to blogs, to a greater or lesser extent, and they're not that handy with internet search engines, so I'm not especially worried. Maybe I should be, though, now that Erika's found me. It is pretty wild.
But if you're out there lurking, not telling me you've found me because you're worried I'll be weirded out, well, I might be. But come on out and say hello anyway, because honestly, is anyone surprised? I'm so self-involved and chatty that I bombarded poor Erika with my birth story when she was, indeed, pregnant with Isabel. And really, what sort of egotist doesn't remember the first rule of vaguely menacing birth stories: don't inflict 'em on pregnant women!
[I'm trying to play that lightly, but the truth is, I went home from La Leche that day convinced that Erika thought I was a jerk. Then again, I worry that about most people I meet and talk to: convinced of my own public persona's likeability, I am not.]
*How many Mommy blogs have existed for as long as Dooce's? How many of them are hosted on Blogger or a another free site? How many of them are likely to exist two years from now, let alone six or ten or sixteen? Apparently the folks at the Times have never heard of the word ephemera.