Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Coming Out (so to speak)

Yesterday was a big day for me. In my online buddy group with whom I've been a member for almost two years, I finally was able to gather the courage to come clean and disclose my real life-not online identity. *GASP* Yes, it is true, they now know my real name (first name anyway) and are now able to start stalking me.

Ok-all kidding aside, these are a great bunch of ladies who I've gotten to know well and have developed a true relationship with. We've had our ups and downs with many issues and they are a supportive, sweet, group of gals I'm glad I got to know. Lately everytime they referred to me by my "online identity" I felt as though I was being dishonest and after days of contemplating-decided to reveal the truth. Now that I'm not a member of that group anymore... just kidding! ...of course the girls totally understood and were totally ok with the whole thing. "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

I think I started using the Internet in 1995. At that time the big thing was "protect your identity". So I always chose online names/identities that had nothing to do with my real name. The first screen name I used was Sasha Foo. One evening as I was watching television, there was a commercial for a Canadien news show with a reporter whose name was Sasha Foo. It just seemed so fake and quirky that I decided to use it for my screen name. *My apologies to Sasha if you should ever come across this blog* After that, I've been some form of Jen/Jensen forever and lately... I don't like it anymore. In the age of identity theft, is it really a huge risk to put my real first name on a blog? I've come to read many of your blogs and have many conversations with some of you through e-mail and posting and I feel dishonest to you too (especially when I know some of your "real" names)...

The whole experience has been quite thought provoking but also liberating. It felt great! So great that I'm considering revealing my true name here too. At the same time, the thought makes me feel a little anxious, so I'll have to mull over it for a bit longer. Baby steps. I guess I still have a foot in the closet.

7 comments:

Sherri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica said...

What? You're name's not Jen? I had no idea.

I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel weird about having my real name out there. I do worry about identity theft. The last year or so I've tried to make sure I protect my birth date. If someone knows where and when you were born, they can get your birth certificate. With a birth certificate, they can do anything!

Jessica said...

Speaking of stolen identities, I had to delete my first comment because I was logged in as someone else. Completely by accident, I left my comment as if I were her.

That Blue Girl said...

I wondered what happened! I got the message that "Sherri" posted and then you right after and the comments were identical. I thoughtthat was totally bizarre and I thought who is Sherri and how does she know me as Jen? :-) Ha ha ha. Do I have to protect my identity from you? Signing in as other people, knowing a lot of info about identity theft and birth certificates...I don't know!?!

kelly said...

my real first name is out there for the world to see. i participate in two online forums, a music one and a personal finance one. i've met IRL people i know from both online sites. if anything, i'm embarrassed of my screen names! although i don't want my last name out there to be googled, i don't mind sharing my email with people should we need to take a conversation beyond a larger audience. i have even sent my budget to people!!

and actually, if you google my full name, it is only my professional endeavors that come up. i hope to always keep it that way!

Jessica said...

Hey, whadda ya know! I think I spy a real first name on your profile! Now I wish I'd been using a fake name all along so that I could come out, too. Seems like fun. :)

Jessica said...

BTW, the reason I was initially logged in as someone else was so I could add a baby countdown clock to her sidebar. She's HTML challenged, so I was helping out. I know that's terribly boring and it'd be much more exciting if I had an alter ego and two separate families. :)