Yesterday, my work colleague threatened to google me. I say threatened, quite loosely. She actually said, ‘Hey, we should try googling your name!’ and then laughed a proper warm-hearted, non-malicious laugh. Which isn’t a threat at all, but something quite innocent and unremarkable.
I laughed too. I told her I once googled myself and found pictures from a work function (they’ve long since been deleted). In an elegant segue, I spoke of how easy it is these days for people to post your photograph onto the internet without your permission. Stories were shared and the initial comment was nicely deflected.
And I went home and changed my public profile.
While I disclose very little personal information about myself to protect my family’s privacy, if someone I knew were to stumble upon my little blogosphere they would (at the very least), wonder if this was me. With ‘Wally’ in the title, my family would simply know it could be no one else.
I don’t mind having my name here. It’s common. Perhaps not common like Smith, but when I make a doctor’s appointment, I have to give other details to ensure they don’t pull up the wrong records. In the world of the internet, although not ungoogleable, I believed myself invisible – who’d even want to google me?
The prospect of my friend finding me here suddenly terrified me. But why? It’s true I don’t tell people I write to write better – that part is a secret of sorts but mostly this blog is me and my ramblings – it hardly constitutes as a shameful or dishonest second life.
I am here as I am in reality yet I still hide. I don’t know what this fear is called, but I know it’ll be something I need to face.
Where do you hide?