Saturday, June 18, 2005

The clone wars

I don't know why I found this amusing, but I was on MySpace and decided to get me a personalized URL. So, naturally, I put in "ryanmcreynolds." But no, that was already taken, by this guy. So now I'm stuck with "rmcreynolds" as I was when I signed up for Gmail. I wonder if he's got the Gmail address, too? Anyway, anybody whose profile begins with "Ryan McReynolds is a Christian . . ." is about as diametrically opposed from my personality as humanly possible.

Actually, he's like my opposite in a lot of ways, it seems. I have short hair, he has long hair. I am quite skinny, he's a big guy. I live in Texas (the South) he lives in Michigan (the North). I am an atheist, he is a believer. I am rabidly optimistic, he writes songs about "depression issues." I found school too easy, he has a learning disability. I'm mellow, he's hyperactive. Wait . . . is he from the Mirror Universe? Or am I?

I like using my real name online. I want people to be able to find me with as little difficulty as possible. I have nothing to hide.


  1. Hey, I know of the guy you're referring to. I've seen him on

  2. Internet identity and privacy is something I ponder often. Stuff like: How much info should I put online about myself? How could someone potentially use something against me later? Could a wacko find me using X piece of info? Could someone find this if they googled my name email address?

    My default mode so far has been to use my first name, if not a pseudonym, and low quality pictures (if at all).

    Yeah, maybe I'm paranoid. But *they are* out to get me...

  3. I treat the internet exactly as I treat the real world. The odds are astronomically remote that anyone would want to do me harm either way. I don't go around offline using pseudonyms when I'm in the company of strangers just because one of them might be dangerous.

    And if somebody I met offline somehow became obsessed with me and started looking up information about me online, it's not like it's anything they couldn't have gotten with a little more effort using a phone book, public records, or even a private detective.

    The only fear I would have would be that something I say on my blog could get me in trouble, but I make it a policy to simply not say anything I wouldn't want people to know. Problem solved.

  4. The Internet is not like the real world. Your conversation with your wife last night is not available to someone with a few research skills, but anything you've ever said online is archived somewhere (blogs, emails, usenet groups, etc.).

    I've worked at companies that google your name and email address (and this will become more common). Would I walk into an interview and start off by handing the interviewer a transcript of conversation I had in a bar three years ago about Clinton's impeachment? Nope. So why let some HR person who doesn't like what I said about about abortion on 8/4/2002 in a usenet group shred my resume for that reason?

    Now this would be different if I were cultivating a political image, promoting a book or something. But I'm not. I'm an average joe who shoots the shit online (like most people).

  5. I see your point. Though I'm the kind of sadist who would be inclined to say, "If they're going to discriminate against me because of my political views, I wouldn't want to work for/with them anyway." They could have just as well fired me after seeing me in an irreligious t-shirt at the grocery store. Weeding me out early saves both parties the trouble.

    The internet just makes it quicker and easier to hate people. I wouldn't go around broadcasting my views at the workplace, but if anybody asked, I'd tell them. By the same token, I wouldn't broadcast my views at a job interview, but if they want to Google me, they asked for it! Ce la vie.

    If I were worried about future employers Googling me, I would use my real name and just not say certain things online, rather than say everything I want and hide my identity. Or even do both and never link the two. But as I said, I want people to find me if they're looking.