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How open are you ?

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How open are you ?

Postby damber on Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:08 pm

We live in precarious times and a world driven by information. Information which is invariably lost, sold or just plain given away... but paradoxically we live in an online digital world where identity and personal information is often thought to be somewhat anonymous, yet in reality our information is everywhere, just a click or two away from someone with a little persistence, allowing us to enjoy the many facets of the inter-webs.

With this in mind I was thinking the last couple of days about how much is too much information to publish online. Should we just be open and put almost everything out there, or should we hide everything that we possibly can ? What can we realistically hide?

I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on what artefacts of information should and should not be made publicly available - and what risks there are of doing so.. and of course, counter arguments, different geography points of view, etc.

So what do you think? what would you "like" to publish and what do you think you "should" publish? Why?
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby onpnt on Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:30 pm

Unfortunately this world is driven by how others view us and that is how we portray our lives. We go through our days concerned about how others will react to our actions. I don't care how many say they don’t do this and insist the way they serve themselves to the public holds no concern to them because it's just true. Even if you say you have no concerns at all of how the world thinks of you in reality you are doing it just as much as the person that goes through the day thinking hard about how everything they write or say will affect how the next thinks of them. You're thinking just as hard to make the people around you think you don't care.
So it's a game. You post to the world you opinions and are hated or loved for it or you post nothing and are hated or loved for it. I devoted years to the punk scene and I'm not talking about the color your hair green and call me cool because I can slam dance. Or to the idiots that think "mash" is the same as slam dancing. I was heavy into the political standing the true originating punk scene spawned from. I became to understand the world really doesn't care and fighting how the world is was futile. My actions will not be heard due to the overwhelming popularity of what the norm is in the world. I didn't conform but instead I found my place. I found posting my knowledge and making people aware of my existence was good for me to call my life meaningful.
So is that it? Is it to come down to the answer to this really being who is more paranoid or is it to be whom is just shy and going to die alone with nothing of themselves remaining?
In that to answer the question directly anything can be found. We all know that and as much as you try to hide yourselves to the world the information is there to the intellectual to find. It just matters how easy you want to make it for the others to find.
What the hell am I talking about?? :-)
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby chrissie1 on Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:41 pm

For the people with honest intentions I don't have much things to hide. Ok, I don't want to share every little detail in my life but who cares anyway. I'm not a celebrity like Ted.

But on the other hand I think those same details are and will be misused by the people with less good intentions. So I tend to limit the information I give away about myself. But I don't fight it if they do come available unless we reach a point where it is going to cost me money.

So I try but I know it is futile.

I made this a not so coherent post because Ted did the same.
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby SQLDenis on Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:48 pm

That is why they invented handles


Look maybe you are a NPR fanatic but don't want your boss to find out because he is anti guns and might not give you a raise. In that case do NOT use your real name

However if you have good ideas and want to let people know about them then first get the domain for your name and post it all there, this will always be the first google hit
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby tarwn on Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:02 am

Hmm, my handle is on my license plate...

Um, yeah...I'm going to need you to come in on Saturday -- Bill Lumbergh, Office Space
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby onpnt on Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:31 pm

yea we kind of forfeit the right to privacy when we do that don't we ;-)
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby damber on Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:04 pm

Interesting responses - I hadn't thought quite so much about the 'personality' aspect of this, mostly about the identity details - e.g. full name, address, contact details, cv, friends, family, etc. But the personality aspect is also quite an important one.

Remember when you first came to the web, to a forum, etc ? I remember my hesitance to use my real name anywhere, or to share anything of a personal nature. But over time that reluctance has died away and now I'm not so bothered about a lot of that stuff - I know this might seem like a security no-no, but I figure that there is already so much information out there, whether online or not, that for certain information you may as well give up on trying to keep it private.

Although I am very protective about some details, I think that if everyone were to publish a standard set of identity details onto the web, then security would actually get a lot better - identity theft is relatively easy to do because existing systems check trivial information that is available to wrong-doers in one form or another (just look at Palin's yahoo mail hack), regardless of what you do to protect it. But people not publishing that stuff officially kinda creates an illusion of security, when really there is none if someone really wants to find things out about you. I suppose I'm saying that in a time of abundant supply, the value placed by the relatively minimal demand becomes negligible.

On the personality side of identity, I think this is a more difficult thing to resolve as it requires more than just a resolution of openness on the part of the individual, but also a reservation of premature judgement from everyone else. For example, a lot of people use facebook and put all sorts of crazy stuff on there from their nights out etc... great for your friends, but lousy for your prospective boss - but why should it be ? Your boss has no doubt had 'fun' in their time, so why should they be so judgemental ? Difficult to change this kind of nature overnight.

On the other side of things, why should you hide who you are ? Outside of the more oppressive societies, this boils down to pressure from prejudice and discrimination from different social groups.. e.g. Democrats vs REpublicans - I expect numerous difficulties have cropped up between people when they have alternative views of this kind of thing, which then boils down to tolerance. And I don't think people are really there yet - the thing is it's ok to have different views and to debate those views - but allowing people to be who they are is a principle that very few people actually adhere to, even if they profess to. But in a world where nobody judges others wouldn't we end up in a free for all society where social norms are barely defined let alone enforced?

And are multiple online personalities that effective ? Can you really keep them separate ? If you just use different handles or even just a single handle, then it is likely your profiles could be implicitly linked if someone spent enough time researching your online activity. e.g. English vs American spelling, colloqualisms, login times/usage patterns, cultural references, terminology, spelling mistakes, etc.. that's before you even get to the more tangible stuff.

But, does anyone really care ? Would I spend the time to find out loads of info about a particular user ? Would it pay me as an identity thief to do so ?

There's nothing to fear, but fear itself


I bet most of us would tell more to a complete stranger on the street than we would to the web, yet it's as risky to do so. In fact, some would give up their passwords for chocolate...

One thing I find interesting is how other people think to themselves - it's hard to tell unless you really look beneath the covers, but most people have the same fears of the world and secret thoughts about things as others do. I bet most people would love to be able to read minds for a day (or more ;-) ), but the reality of that is it would be quite painful - people think hurtful things - not intentionally, but there#s no social filter in your head, so thinking that someone has really put on some weight or is a bit dim is probably a perfectly acceptable thought... saying it is a completely different matter! But this applies to a lot of things, and especially what Ted mentions in his post - it's scary to share yourself with other people - they might reject you ! And nobody wants that, whatever they say. Learning to be a bit thick skinned can help, but unless you have true faith in yourself, it's difficult for people to be proud to be themselves.. which reflects in what we publish to the world (e.g. online). This is why some people come across as confident and others don't - it's about being comfortable in your own skin - and also depends on the situation too - even famous people become nervous outside of their environment, just as most of us would become nervous in the spotlight of a camera. Being open about your personality online is really just an extension of that.. at least from your own perspective.

But still, the nature of society at the moment is that having those rowdy beer pictures linked to your professional resume/cv in some way could lose you a job or at least damage your credibility.

What if everyone published everything about themselves? All affiliations, interests, sexual orientation, political interests, etc, etc ? Sure, it would be absolute mayhem initially as everyone 'found out' etc. But how long did it take for you to get bored of endless pointless status updates on your facebook or twitter stream? Who cares that you're making a cup of tea? Or eating cake, or writing a letter ? Novelty factor wears thin very quickly when the supply becomes abundant. What if every rock in the world contained 80% gold? Do you think gold would be as expensive as it is today ? It would be hard to reject 9 out of 10 candidates for a job just because they had dodgy pictures on the web, or if 8 out of 10 were avid gun supporters.

Being open is hard. Accepting people for who they are, whilst respecting social norms that drive acceptable behaviour, is very hard. We are approaching a new epoch of human existence - where we will become more and more interconnected, and sharing and openness will play a huge part in the foundations of our world - getting there though, I fear, will be a tricky and messy business.
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby Chopstik on Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:07 pm

Interesting topic and one that has come up recently in non-virtual discussions. I have to admit, as in many other things, I'm of two minds on this subject. Go figure... :lol:

I will admit that I am, both in reality and in the virtual world, a rather private individual. But I am much more circumspect online than I am in person - as I'm sure Chrissie would attest to. ;) I would go so far as to say that I tend to be more formal when online, as could be deduced by viewing my posts in the open forums. I may be more relaxed in groups where I am more familiar with the other members, but there is a barrier in the virtual world that I don't see in the real world. Perhaps it is just me but that is my observation, anyway.

As for sharing data and personal information online, I am typically rather loathe to do so. I rarely do online shopping - much to my wife's dismay as she feels I am a troglodyte in disguise - and typically only use the 'net for technical research, reading up on the news and current events or for email. While there is a sense among the general public of anonymity, there really isn't. I accept that fact and do what I need to do online but not much more than I have to do. I know that people can find out who I am and whatever other personal info is available online so I don't trust in my anonymity. I have very few pictures available online and do not maintain any accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. I am considering an account at a writer's site but even that will be limited as to how I use it and what I post there... In summary, the less I put out, the less can be used against me. Perhaps it's a negative viewpoint but I subscribe to the theory of better safe than sorry.

Of course, I have one associate who is convinced that the government is watching him and therefore wipes his cookies each time and cleans up as much as he can after each online session. I haven't had the heart to tell him that won't necessarily protect him in the manner he thinks, especially considering his browsing habits and his online profile in general. Not that he is a reckless web cruiser but he participates in a number of different forums and has a wide web presence within his particular areas of choice. He may figure it out one day but why make him any more paranoid than he already is? (And no, I doubt the government is specifically watching him...)

Just my $.02...
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby chrissie1 on Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:55 pm

And this becomes so much more believable when you tell people that you travelled 7000 miles to meet some people that you met on the net. :lol:
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby Chopstik on Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:57 pm

Touche! Or, even better, when you met your spouse on the net...

Fortunately, it was only a few hundred... :lol:
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby Emtucifor on Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:36 pm

I decided some time ago that I would stop using my last name online and would be very vague about where I live and the name of the company I work for.

There's already enough out there about me by doing a search on my full name.

And whether I am doing anything wrong or not, I don't really want prospective employers to be apprised of my political, religious, or philosophical views. People can and do make hiring and promotion decisions based on things like this.
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby AlexCuse on Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:56 pm

I'm probably too open online. Anyone reading this site can find out my real name, and I use the same handle in most sites that I frequet (though there a few alexcusii out there that are not me). I figure any company that does make decisions based on things like that is not a place that I would like to work, so no harm.
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby chrissie1 on Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:25 pm

I have to agre with Alex on this.

BtW if some employer wants to check what I did online then they would have a big job.

and if you click this link

http://www.google.be/search?hl=nl&clien ... eken&meta=

you will see that google has a sense of humor. And around 10,000,000 hits.

looking for chrissie1 gives only around 5000 hits. But not many have anything to do with me.

On the other hand, it is very unlickely that I will ever change jobs, 1 I'm to old. 2 I have a good job. 3. I work for the government and loosing my job is very difficult. 4. I just realized I'm nearly halfway into my career. I started when I was 18 and I will stop at 60 I am 37 now so you do the math.
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Re: How open are you ?

Postby Emtucifor on Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:37 pm

Is the joke "Christian Babes" :lol:
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