Hiding in Plain Sight

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?


4 thoughts on “Hiding in Plain Sight

  1. I totally understand your impulse – it feels weird and scary and not nice, sometimes, to feel ‘out there’ on the web. I don’t hide (mainly because I can’t hide – ain’t nobody else got my name!) but that’s not to say it doesn’t freak me out sometimes to be so ‘visible’. I actually think it’s quite a reasonable fear. The internet is a big place, and not always a nice place. You shouldn’t be afraid of your desire to write better, or your desire to write at all, or indeed anything you’ve posted on this blog (because it’s all awesome), but I don’t think it’s weird to feel scared about being Googleable.

    And yes. I, too, have Googled myself. *hangs head in shame*

    • Geez. Who *hasn’t* googled themselves? (Actually, my parents probably haven’t, but that’s a generational thing…) You have *nothing* to be ashamed of!

      Unfortunately, it’s not just about being ‘visible’ with me. The bottom line is, I’m more worried about my own friends and family seeing this than I am strangers. Happily, some of those strangers are now my friends 😉 but surely that’s back to front?

      This rounds itself back to my irrational fear of failure and disappointing those I love. I am protecting myself from something I need not fear but it runs deep, and as I said, it is completely irrational. I shall rise above it, I’m sure.

      • It might be irrational – but it makes sense to me. Knowing that my friends and family read my blog (on occasion, at least!) makes me feel like a bug under a microscope. They don’t mean it like that, but that’s how it feels. I don’t think it’s back to front – surely, the people who mean more to you and who you love are those whose approval you crave the most, and exposing your thoughts to them is a scary thing to do.

        But they love you. (I have a feeling most everyone loves you. :)) I’m sure they’re so proud of everything you do. So, you need not fear. And you couldn’t possibly disappoint them.

        Bon courage, cherie. xx

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