Anonymity and online identity, yet again.

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AuthorTopic: Anonymity and online identity, yet again.
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #0
There is an interesting article on NYT about employers looking up job applicants on social networks to see if they have a questionable background.

quote:
... At Facebook, a popular social networking site, the executive found the candidate's Web page with this description of his interests: "smokin' blunts" (cigars hollowed out and stuffed with marijuana), shooting people and obsessive sex, all described in vivid slang.

It did not matter that the student was clearly posturing. He was done.
Now, I make a point not saying things online that may cause trouble for me in real life - even in fun - but there are definitely some things that I might not want a potential employer to find before an interview. Things that would not be firing offences, but which could give a bad first impression. For example, posting here from my workplace on occasion. Or even just my outspoken political views (though I hope I won't have to work in a place where this matters).

How do any of you feel about it? I know that some of you have some pretty strange gimmicks that insiders know to be nonsense, but that would look strange to outsiders. Say, Alo's "sniping". TM's tentacle thing. Someone (forget who) wasn't making a big deal of his habit of free-riding on WLAN access points. Others have told of drinking binges or recreational drugs.

I wonder if everyone here is relying on an illusion of anonymity. In some cases, it definitely is an illusion - I can connect my last name to this forum within 15 minutes on Google...

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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Warrior
Member # 7002
Profile #1
You hit the nail on the head. For example, a guy at my dad's workplace was recently fired because they found out he didn't agree with their political beliefs.
Besides, I don't really care if you know what my name is. The only thing I really try to keep a secret is where I live.
EDIT: Once, I Googled my name for fun. Not a single thing on me.

[ Monday, June 12, 2006 05:10: Message edited by: Mr.Bookworm ]

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Polaris
Posts: 193 | Registered: Thursday, April 6 2006 07:00
Agent
Member # 618
Profile Homepage #2
Google's got nothing on me. Well, at least, I'm not going to search through all 6,240,000 results to check. >.>
Posts: 1487 | Registered: Sunday, February 10 2002 08:00
Agent
Member # 6581
Profile Homepage #3
I agree with Bookworm. Everyone that had recevied a mail from me know my name. The important is not let know where you live.
quote:
Originally written by Mr.Bookworm:


EDIT: Once, I Googled my name for fun. Not a single thing on me.

Both my name and my PDN have interesting results.

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Posts: 1310 | Registered: Tuesday, December 20 2005 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #4
I have an, um, very interesting story on this subject. But I'm not about to post it on a googleable forum. :P

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Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Warrior
Member # 6401
Profile #5
quote:
Originally written by Hastur ^ 3:

How do any of you feel about it? I know that some of you have some pretty strange gimmicks that insiders know to be nonsense, but that would look strange to outsiders. Say, Alo's "sniping". TM's tentacle thing. Someone (forget who) wasn't making a big deal of his habit of free-riding on WLAN access points. Others have told of drinking binges or recreational drugs.

I wonder if everyone here is relying on an illusion of anonymity. In some cases, it definitely is an illusion - I can connect my last name to this forum within 15 minutes on Google...

I think part of the big appeal of the internet and forums like these is that you can be anybody, and say (almost) anything, without it having a big impact on your life. (Depending how big a part of your life the forum is, ahem.)

In a sane world, this anonymity is pretty good, because not only do most people online not see who you are at first glance, most of them don't care either. People and relationships online are much cheaper than they are in real life, because there are just so many damn people out there, and it's never been easier to interact extensively with someone who you know more or less nothing about.

Having said that, I'm betting that it wouldn't be too hard to find out all sorts of stuff about me or any other random surfver using the internet, even though I'm quite careful about keeping my name and details private. In a sense, it's probably not even worthwhile trying to remain anonymous, seeing as someone who really wants to find out who you are will almost certainly find a way.

Employers looking into their employees private lives is out of line to me. Who hasn't visited a website that they'd be embarrassed to tell everyone about?

Edit: Google has NOTHING on me. Mwah ha haaa

[ Monday, June 12, 2006 07:14: Message edited by: Thin Air ]

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I think this is really wonderful.
Posts: 147 | Registered: Tuesday, October 18 2005 07:00
Agent
Member # 3364
Profile Homepage #6
MySpace is evil.

That is all.

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"Even the worst Terror from Hell can be transformed to a testimony from Heaven!" - Rev. David Wood 6\23\05

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Posts: 1001 | Registered: Tuesday, August 19 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #7
Nothing private about what you post on a public forum or blog. Once it can be found with Google, any remaining shred of privacy is gone. The only alternative is to separate your real name completely from your moniker, and never mention the real name.

--

I just looked again and saw that my last name actually does bring up a Spiderweb-related site very far down in the results. Which would be TM's Geocities site...

[ Monday, June 12, 2006 07:03: Message edited by: Hastur ^ 3 ]

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Encyclopaedia ErmarianaForum ArchivesForum StatisticsRSS [Topic / Forum]
My BlogPolarisI eat novels for breakfast.
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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Warrior
Member # 6401
Profile #8
Edit: Dammit.

[ Monday, June 12, 2006 07:14: Message edited by: Thin Air ]

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I think this is really wonderful.
Posts: 147 | Registered: Tuesday, October 18 2005 07:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #9
The good news is that searching Google for my first and last name together brings up only two results, both of which present more of a postive impression than a negative one. Also, my real name and "Dikiyoba" haven't been put together online yet.

The bad news is that my real name is easy to trace should it ever get out. And it's not difficult at all for anyone who knows me in person to discover that "Dikiyoba" is my online identity, and have problems result from that.

Dikiyoba wonders what impression Dikiyoba's fan-fanfic would have on potential employers. After all, Dikiyoba is looking at a career in creative writing.
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 6821
Profile #10
I tried googling Imban's real name, and the only search result was a Spiderweb thread titled "THE WORST MAN EVER : Round 1". :P

I also tried googling Vince Fizz's real name, and it seems he was one of the top students in 1999-2000 for the 'New Jersey Mathematics League'. Then again, maybe it was someone else. You never know for sure.
Posts: 363 | Registered: Wednesday, February 22 2006 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 6902
Profile #11
Probably about the only benefit of having a very common name is that a simple google search for it turns up millions of results, and as far as I can tell, none are about me. There are probably other methods people could use to find out what I say on the internet, but I doubt most employers will go through that much trouble.
Posts: 11 | Registered: Monday, March 13 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #12
quote:
Originally written by Dikiyoba:

The good news is that searching Google for my first and last name together brings up only two results, both of which present more of a postive impression than a negative one. Also, my real name and "Dikiyoba" haven't been put together online yet.

The bad news is that my real name is easy to trace should it ever get out. And it's not difficult at all for anyone who knows me in person to discover that "Dikiyoba" is my online identity, and have problems result from that.

Dikiyoba wonders what impression Dikiyoba's fan-fanfic would have on potential employers. After all, Dikiyoba is looking at a career in creative writing.

Then it will be worth no less than a letter of commendation, I think. :)

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Encyclopaedia ErmarianaForum ArchivesForum StatisticsRSS [Topic / Forum]
My BlogPolarisI eat novels for breakfast.
Polaris is dead, long live Polaris.
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.
Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #13
I personally don't bank on anonymity much... I mean, people here know who I am via Facebook, and I've never been one for hyperbole, which seems to be what got that unlucky blunt-smoker canned. That, and I have no gimmicks that can be perceived as harmful.

Though, I expect this also hinges on how the people in question perceive their identity on the internet: whether it's an alternate personality as a means of escape from reality, or just an extension/manifestation of the person's actual identity. I identify my identity with the latter, so I feel no need to worry. It's the people who create elaborate and questionable personas that might have something to worry about.

All of that said, I imagine that karma will render my Facebook account hacked wide open within a week.

EDIT: Happily, a NASCAR driver with roughly the same name as me was permanently banned for substance abuse, so that's all my name turns up in Google. I just hope that there's no close relation.

[ Monday, June 12, 2006 08:35: Message edited by: Ephesos ]

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Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.

I hate undead. I really, really, really, really hate undead. With a passion.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Post Navel Trauma ^_^
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I use my real first name on some forums, but I don't reveal my surname anywhere googlable. On the other hand, several people I know in real life call me Khoth, so things have kind of got blurred in the other direction.

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Barcoorah: I even did it to a big dorset ram.

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Posts: 1798 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #15
My e-mail address is too much of a giveaway for me to try to hide anything. As far as I know, I've never posted phone numbers or addresses in public Internet places, but I move so often that it hardly matters.

On the whole, I'd expect my online identity not to hurt an application and maybe even to help it — moderating some boards, winning a contest, that sort of thing.

And there's at least one person who I sort of know in real life who calls me "Kel."

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Law Bringer
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I'm not sure Marlenny counts there, Kel. ;)

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Posts: 1556 | Registered: Sunday, November 20 2005 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 6652
Profile #17
According to Google, I have died several times. Once in an accident involving a shovel. Messy.

Also, a search tells me that someone with Alcritas's real name lives fairly close to me :eek: .

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But I don't want to ride the elevator.
Posts: 420 | Registered: Sunday, January 8 2006 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 3040
Profile #18
As far as I know, my real name is still unknown here, though it would not be too hard for some to find it. Sarachim, for example, is two degrees away from me on facebook, and may or may not already know who I am, seeing as he already knows we went to the same high school.

On other message boards, however, my PDN is slightly connected to my real name; not to the extent that an employer would find out about my activities, thankfully, considering the impact my activities on said boards might have on employability. (to potential employers: that is in jest and in no way true.)

A google search for my name turns up only positive things — accomplishments related to math and physics. Yay! :D

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5.0.1.0.0.0.0.1.0...
Posts: 508 | Registered: Thursday, May 29 2003 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #19
This reminds me; I should censor my Facebook profile.

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Agent
Member # 1934
Profile Homepage #20
Yea, my facebook profile is staying clean. I'm going to a job interview on Wednesday.
Edit: I read that article too.

[ Monday, June 12, 2006 12:18: Message edited by: Andraste ]

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You acquire an item: Radio Free Foil
Posts: 1169 | Registered: Monday, September 23 2002 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4784
Profile Homepage #21
Top Google results for my real name:

#1 TheCuteGizmo's Top Movies List
@ ymbd.com, no hiding my si-fi/fantasy addiction

#3 Gizmo - www.ezboard.com
my bio at the Lyceum

#5 FairTax Volunteer
uh-oh, I knew I should't have written that letter to the editor :P

#6 Spiderweb Software Boards
the profile for my Gizmo account

#7 Comprehensive BoE Website List
TM's website listing

Remove the space and you get, of course, my website since my real name is in the url.

Pleanty for any potential employer to look at, but they'd have to dig a bit deeper to connect me with the rest of my monikers... lucky for me a google search for gizmo brings up 9,470,000 results.

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Forever Always on Past the End

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Posts: 563 | Registered: Tuesday, July 27 2004 07:00
Triad Mage
Member # 7
Profile Homepage #22
Saunders sent me a postcard once.

And Ryan Thompson the baseball player gets far more hits than I do.

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"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander
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Posts: 9436 | Registered: Wednesday, September 19 2001 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 3441
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Your addresses are not necessarily safe. I found Aran's address, phone number and name online with no effort whatsoever. Of course, this is because he has his own website, but still, don't assume any info is safe from a truly determined person.

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"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it." --Albert Einstein
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Posts: 536 | Registered: Sunday, September 7 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #24
Saunders knows where you live, where you work, where you go to school, what you did last summer, and what you had for breakfast. But it's okay.

—Alorael, who can be located with relative ease online and who hasn't done anything he'd want to hide. Except the aforementioned gimmicks, perhaps. But hey, the big one is skribbane, and there are interesting possibilities there. Most employers probably just won't understand, which is fine. If any do and treat it as a red flag for substance abuse, well, that's probably not a good place to work anyway.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00

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