I have my own website and my own e-mail address. However, a few months ago, I began exploring some adult-oriented interests of mine, interests that I have had for a long long time but never had the willingness to explore more fully for myself. Knowing the nature of the internet and the web and the ability for just about anybody to track you down anywhere, I decided it would be prudent of me to explore these adult interests under a pseudonym and a different e-mail address. So I created one and use it regularly for that purpose. One community I have joined online, I have a blog which I started with that pseudonym, and I regularly contribute to forums and chat on that community with the same pseudonym.
However, most people who know me online know me from my regular e-mail address. I've become rather like a celebrity over the last 11 years or so in my own corner of the internet with regard to my impact on certain elements of the field of cognitive science. (Check out my website which you can find in my profile if you want the gory details on that. Mine was the very first personal website on the topic of my specific disability. It turns out there are a lot more people who share my disability than I thought at the time I created my website.)
For my own personal reasons, I work very hard to keep these two identities seperate. Although I have shared my cognitive quirks with the adult community I've decided to take part in, and received some very helpful and useful feedback with regard to some of my specific concerns with regard to the nature of social interaction in such adult communities, I'm still rather reluctant to share too much information about myself in that kind of place.
So anyway, I wanted to ask you all: Do you have a double life, perhaps even a triple or quadruple life or more, in your interactions online? Do you feel more comfortable keeping certain aspects of your online life separate from certain other aspects, or do you simply clump everything together and let people find out as much as possible about you by learning about your singular-use online identity? Also, I wanted to ask this too: How much of your online identity is true to your off-line identity? Its been very rare that I have ever contradicted my offline identity with my online one. Regardless of where I go, I always write and speak from my heart. Am I unique in this, or do others tend to approach this online/offline social life stuff the same way I do?
This post was originally published on thisisby.us on Aug. 18, 2007 at 01:36am.