How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

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Pez Dispens3r
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How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:00 am UTC

I happen to know that some of you have--at least at one point--had your avatar pictures as your Facebook profile pictures, even when they're not of you, and some even have their handle as their Facebook identity. How separate are your Neo and Mr Anderson identities, and how often do they intersect?

For me they are almost entirely segregated, and I know only two people in meatspace who got to know me as 'Pez', and not as 'Justin' (or one of my nicknames). But I'm familiar enough being Pez that I respond to it as if it's my name: it can get a little weird now when people refer to the candy in front of me.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Dasboard » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:02 am UTC

Very seperated. Very very seperated.

And I like to keep it that way.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby EmilyR » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:31 pm UTC

My real life is pretty compartmentalised on it's own, with a significant "serious/party" division based on my current/former social life. Serious things (PhD, the City, tutoring) are on one side of the line, others (dancing, stripping, clubbing) are on the other. There are probably only about half a dozen people who know me on both sides.

Online it's pretty much the same, some sites I'm "serious" on, some I'm "party", some (like here) I can be both - avoiding giving out too much detailed information for people online to work out exactly who I am IRL, party ppl online may know the party me IRL, serious ppl online may know the serious me IRL, but there's as little cross-contamination as possible.

The online/offline division is, for me, less significant than the serious/party one; the split in the former is just an extension of the split in the latter. When the divide's crossed it caused problems. I got a lot of grief while doing my PhD due to stripping, and to a lesser extent to my non-vanilla sex life. The 2001 general election was at the height of my party-girl lifestyle and I was quite involved with Labour at the time. Clubbing every night & taking things I shouldn't isn't condusive to working in the City.

So the online/offline separation is there, but it's primarily just an extension of the existing separations in my real life.

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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:45 pm UTC

Dasboard wrote:Very seperated. Very very seperated.

And I like to keep it that way.

Is how I used to feel: I mean, previously, I would have been mortified if someone from IRL found my OKCupid profile. These days, much less so.

Emily R, that is a much more interesting story than I expected to hear, but you still obviously keep some degree of online anonymity to keep those lives from intersecting. Which is what interests me: how ruined would you be if your online identities could be attached to you? It is bad enough for me potential employers could see my drunken Facebook photos or might catch one of my more colourful status updates.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Hawknc » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:13 pm UTC

I try to keep them separate, though real life requires a certain amount of interaction. Facebook is reserved for being the online presence of my "Mr Anderson" self, so I tend not to put too much junk and rants up there as it's visible to work colleagues, family and friends who don't get the whole internet thing. The rest of my internet dealings are under a persona, in name if not in personality, and I try to carefully manage the overlap.

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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby You, sir, name? » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:31 pm UTC

On other forums, I have more strict compartmentalization between online me and offline me, with no photos and few personal details.

On this forum, and facebook for that matter, it's not all that strict. Though I still rock an avatar instead of a photo of myself on facebook.

In general, I feed nonsense into fields that are easy to scan by a computer, "Enter your location here"-type stuff, but quite openly talk about my meatspace-life in free text.

I don't actively encourage my meatspace and cyberspace lives to intermingle, but I don't dread the day they do either.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby extrablue » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:42 pm UTC

How many meat selves do you have?
I started an answer to this question saying I only had one, but as I typed I realize that isn't true.

I have the public persona which is the me that can be linked back to my job. As an AssEd :wink: anything that I say can be linked to the publication.

I have the me that my friends and family know.

I have various online handles that mix the two. The extrablue who posts on XKCD or Dict.leo usually has to be less wary than the extrablue who posts on certain outdoors forums where people know the meat behind the handle.

Which means at times alternate handles are needed on those forums when I want to rant or rage without being related to the publication.

My Fbook account is pretty much my normal meatself, but I have plenty of friends whose Fbooks are edited to reflect a business friendly image, or a more extreme image etc.

Cool question though.

I will say that on some forums, montanaice for example, it is becoming socially required that one post at least a first name and initial with their handle. If XKCD went this way would you be cool with it justin/pez?
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby You, sir, name? » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:03 pm UTC

extrablue wrote:I will say that on some forums, montanaice for example, it is becoming socially required that one post at least a first name and initial with their handle. If XKCD went this way would you be cool with it justin/pez?


In any sort of even remotely professional or business-related internet communication, or anywhere else I want to get taken seriously, I use handles that relate to my real name. After all, given the option, which one would you take more seriously: x_mystic_avenger_37_x@example.com or jsmith43@example.com?

Using such a handle is like wearing a suit and tie. But there are of course times where wearing a suit and tie is stuffy, overly formal, or downright inappropriate. After all, would you really go dressed like that to your neighbors' barbecue?
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby EmilyR » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:21 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Emily R, that is a much more interesting story than I expected to hear, but you still obviously keep some degree of online anonymity to keep those lives from intersecting. Which is what interests me: how ruined would you be if your online identities could be attached to you? It is bad enough for me potential employers could see my drunken Facebook photos or might catch one of my more colourful status updates.

In one direction (the "party" side finding out more about the "serious" side) it's not really a problem, and many already know that I've got a very vanilla side. Indeed rather than the stereotypical situation of the student who starts escorting/stripping to pay her way, I've a couple of friends who've gone the other way, I met them when I was stripping, helped them get their A levels, and they're now both at uni :)

In the other direction it's obviously a little more of an issue, but there the consequences are mitigated a little by the facts that I only work on short contracts and I'm rarely client facing. If it was simply a case of a boss at a firm finding out I was stripping, taking e regularly, or they saw an old online vid then I might lose some work, but it wouldn't be fatal. Problems would increase if there was any publicity (eg some D-lister "accidently" leaks an old home movie onto the net, or I'm just standing too close to someone who gets burned by the tabloids). I had a bit of trouble a couple of years just by appearing in some pap shots with a yank actor I'd been hired to show round London. That's partly why I dislike those sort of jobs, I was a bit of a starfucker when I was younger/stupider, but over the last year or so I've steered well clear of rich D-list idiots.

One of the safest areas where "serious" and "party" mix is the sex club scene, the best sex clubs are generally also the most selective & discrete, so if I get recognised by someone at (say) Killing Kittens then there's very little risk of any problems arising from it. KK, Westend, Fever, Belle Baise, etc are all aimed at professionals, and everyone there's there for the same reason :) Few consequences and little risk there compared to being recognised in a lap dancing club by a client I'm advising on the yuan/ruble exchange rate.

Mainstream modeling/dancing might be affected a bit by sex- or drugs-related publicity, but not seriously unless it was connected to somebody gossip-worthy, and even then it wouldn't necessarily be a negative impact (see Abi Titmuss etc).

The areas where it would have the most effect are probably the minor ones in the middle, which whilst fairly unimportant I really enjoy - aerobics and tutoring (GCSE/AS/A2 maths).

Online I tend to first focus on a Facebook-vs-LinkedIn divide, I've *very* few friends on both. The majority of online accounts are kept quite distinct, even if they're firmly "party" or firmly "serious".

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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Jessica » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:15 pm UTC

I'm pretty integrated. My user name IS MY NAME... My profile photo is a modified photo from facebook.

I really don't mind the integration. One day it probably will screw me, but for now I like being open.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Zeroignite » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:17 pm UTC

For me, it's sort of a one-way street. I consider many of the people I met online to be my closest friends, and those folks have pretty much full access to knowledge about my meatspace life. I share with that group almost everything that goes on in my day-to-day reality, and they're privvy to in often cases more information about what I do in meatspace than people I share that meatspace with. However, family and friends I've met locally are not, for the most part, allowed to see the my online identity or hear about my relationships with people online. I think in large part, that's because my persona on the internet is considerably more open than the one in meatspace, and I have developed characteristics in it that have yet to fully spread across my entire personality. I think most people geographically close to me would exhibit great surprise at some of my activities online, and would fail to grasp the meaning of my online relationships, and the fact that all the people involved in them are very much human. Thus, I make no effort to share that part of my life with the people in meatspace.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby RoadieRich » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:36 pm UTC

Hmm... There's actually little separation. My email address uses my forum nickname as a domain, and my first name as the user, and seeing as my real first name is actually part of my handle, yeah. (I also disapprove of abbreviating my forum nick to "Roadie". You don't address someone who works on a construction site as "builder", do you, so people on forums regularly call me by my meatspace name.)

I've also used a (somewhat stylised) picture of myself as an avatar. Of course, not currently, but I will again if I go back to my gravatar.

The only difference is that I'm a bit more confident online, more likely to be able to actually say something: in meatspace I struggle to interrupt someone who is talking continuously, but online there are always breaks I can take advantage of - even if it's just between messages in an IRC chat.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Azrael001 » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:38 pm UTC

Zeroignite wrote:A whole bunch of stuff.
This is very close to the way that I am. For a while my facebook picture was my avatar that was here. Unfortunately, it was the one that I used for mafia, during the "stick stuff on your avatar" phase of that subforum's development. It looked silly, and they gave me a hard time about it. I didn't really feel like explaining the entire significance of it.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby CHR1110 » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:41 pm UTC

Mine is semi-intertwined. There's definitely things that are kept separate, but there's also certain things that get shared.

I think I do prefer my Online identity over my Meatspace one...but eh, whatever. You get rid of the Meatspace one, and usually the online one follows...
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby thicknavyrain » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:43 pm UTC

I'd say I'm exactly the same both ways, but I'm sure lots of meatspace people would find my online persona being exactly the same as my real life persona a bit eccentric but oh well. I act the same in most circumstances, it's my family who I'm probably different around in terms of the cyber divide.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Xeio » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:50 pm UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:In any sort of even remotely professional or business-related internet communication, or anywhere else I want to get taken seriously, I use handles that relate to my real name. After all, given the option, which one would you take more seriously: x_mystic_avenger_37_x@example.com or jsmith43@example.com?
Depends, doesn't it? I mean I have {fora username}@verizon.net, that's about as simple as it gets, and I doubt I'd get something nearly as concise (if not easy to remember) trying to relate to my real name. Though it makes it doubly important to sign all you e-mails (but that should be a habit anyway in any professional environment).

As for my identities, they're not necessarily connected, but I don't feel any particular need to keep them disjoint. I've posted my real name before + pictures + location stuff, so if someone really wanted to piece all that together they could do so easily (as easily as searching though 1500+ posts...). On the other hand, I don't have anything on my facebook really, so my online identity is mostly comprised of the fora, plus a few other places.

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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby thicknavyrain » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:55 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:In any sort of even remotely professional or business-related internet communication, or anywhere else I want to get taken seriously, I use handles that relate to my real name. After all, given the option, which one would you take more seriously: x_mystic_avenger_37_x@example.com or jsmith43@example.com?
Depends, doesn't it? I mean I have {fora username}@verizon.net, that's about as simple as it gets, and I doubt I'd get something nearly as concise (if not easy to remember) trying to relate to my real name. Though it makes it doubly important to sign all you e-mails (but that should be a habit anyway in any professional environment).

As for my identities, they're not necessarily connected, but I don't feel any particular need to keep them disjoint. I've posted my real name before + pictures + location stuff, so if someone really wanted to piece all that together they could do so easily (as easily as searching though 1500+ posts...). On the other hand, I don't have anything on my facebook really, so my online identity is mostly comprised of the fora, plus a few other places.


I set up a realname@gmail.com to be linked with my sillyname@gmail.com so when one replied to the serious one, I'd receive it on the silly one that I check properly. Unfortunately once, when responding, I forgot and responded from sillyname, which was pretty embarassing...
Atleast I didn't link the account to sexybrownbear64@fancypants.com.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby You, sir, name? » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:13 pm UTC

thicknavyrain wrote:
Spoiler:
Xeio wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:In any sort of even remotely professional or business-related internet communication, or anywhere else I want to get taken seriously, I use handles that relate to my real name. After all, given the option, which one would you take more seriously: x_mystic_avenger_37_x@example.com or jsmith43@example.com?
Depends, doesn't it? I mean I have {fora username}@verizon.net, that's about as simple as it gets, and I doubt I'd get something nearly as concise (if not easy to remember) trying to relate to my real name. Though it makes it doubly important to sign all you e-mails (but that should be a habit anyway in any professional environment).

As for my identities, they're not necessarily connected, but I don't feel any particular need to keep them disjoint. I've posted my real name before + pictures + location stuff, so if someone really wanted to piece all that together they could do so easily (as easily as searching though 1500+ posts...). On the other hand, I don't have anything on my facebook really, so my online identity is mostly comprised of the fora, plus a few other places.


I set up a realname@gmail.com to be linked with my sillyname@gmail.com so when one replied to the serious one, I'd receive it on the silly one that I check properly. Unfortunately once, when responding, I forgot and responded from sillyname, which was pretty embarassing...
Atleast I didn't link the account to sexybrownbear64@fancypants.com.


Yeah, this is essentially my setup. It's hardly ideal, but it works most of the time.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Litof » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:22 pm UTC

The two are fairly separated for me. And I'd like to keep it that way.

I've one friend who happens to know what alias I use online; to all the rest I'm just me. Of course, my two personalities are almost the same, with the exception of being a bit more open online, so it wouldn't make that much of a difference either way.

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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Dave_Wise » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:44 pm UTC

About to become a lot more separate. I'm going to be in the real world for a month or so. I've printed off a couple of months of crossfit archives, some contact numbers... anything else I need to pack?
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby SilentPoet » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:22 pm UTC

One and the same.

My usual username was actually taken on this forum, but this is one of the few where I don't have my name out in the open.

There's nothing I do online I wouldn't be happy to discuss offline with anyone.

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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby EstLladon » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:36 pm UTC

I have all my business (and non-business) communications through usernamehere@popuralmailservicelotsofpeopleuse.com.
Never had any problems and never even was asked about it. I chose my nick well.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby PhoenixEnigma » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:41 pm UTC

"PhoenixEnigma" is pretty closely tied to my meatspace identity. I don't make much secret of my name, rough location, or a number of other such facts. A lot of people IRL also know the handle I tend to use.

I have a few other online identities, though, that I try to keep as separate both from this online persona and from my real life self. There are times when I'd like to talk about things online that, for various reasons, I'd like to keep from anyone google-stalking me. I also keep a bucketful of emails that all redirect to my normal one in case I want to give out an email contact without giving away my normal user name.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Lazar » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:49 pm UTC

Nominally separate, but not really that separate.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:01 pm UTC

I used to spend a lot of time and thought ensuring that my online and offline identities were separate, but eventually I realized that this was taking more work than the nominal advantages it yields, and that considering how little I knew about actually securing my identity when I started, it was likely that my identities are already inextricably bound.

Now I just don't care, there are a few communities I participate in that I keep separate from the rest of my life, but for the most part, my various profiles are linked.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby modularblues » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:23 pm UTC

There was one time when a group of people got to know me by my online handle and avatar, which looks nothing like me IRL. I also got to know them by their online handles and avatars. A while later, I met up with them IRL. It was very amusing for the first couple of days, but then I adjusted to referring to them by their meatspace names. So even though I tend to keep my identities separate, it's not the end of the world if they mix.

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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Zohar » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:14 pm UTC

My username is my real name, I use the same avatar here and on Facebook, I have many xkcd friends there along with other friends and I don't post only to one group or the other (although sometimes I post in Hebrew there, which is a bit harder to understand to most of you). So basically, really not.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Dasboard » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:21 pm UTC

Facebook is part of the online me. I only got it to please some english people.

Turns out it's pretty handy.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby apricity » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:28 pm UTC

Mine are very intertwined, but I try to make it at least a little difficult to find stuff like my xkcd name from my email address. I just got a new Gmail address, which is myname@gmail, so I don't have to worry about people finding my old Livejournal comments and stuff based on my old email. But the lanicita name is pretty distinct from my real name, and it's not even my AIM name or anything. Mostly the only people who know it are online friends. I do post pictures here, and a lot of my meatspace friends are from the fora, including my boyfriend, so the identities themselves aren't all that separate. Mostly I just try to make it so if you Google my email or real name, you don't find the lanicita name (at least not right away?), and vice-versa, so that my parents and employers won't find it unless they go to effort that they probably wouldn't go to.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Aaeriele » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:03 pm UTC

Almost 100% separate for quite a while, though recently they've been coming together very gradually. A lot of this has to do with the fact that I'm trans, but only recently started to be more open about it non-anonymously. Up until now, keeping my online half separate has allowed me a lot more freedom/comfort in expression without having to worry about outing myself before I'm ready IRL. That's slowly becoming less necessary.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby EmilyR » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:11 pm UTC

Posting in the fetish thread reminded me of a slightly random breakdown of my online/offline serious/play compartmentalisation last year - someone a I met online through a lactophilia/pregnancy fetish group later recruited me to work for her for a couple of months!

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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Kewangji » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:02 am UTC

I'm the same person on- and offline. I use words differently, though.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby felltir » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:03 am UTC

Not. I've had the police called for suicidal posts.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby extrablue » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:08 am UTC

Sorry,
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:23 am UTC

Separate by default; easily breachable. For example, Sir Elderberry is a name that people will sometimes call me in real life. (As a joke, like "So, what's up, Sir Elderberry?". Not usually in casual conversation.) It's also my AIM/Yahoo/MSN handle, so several IRL friends interact with me via that.

However, if you weren't a close friend of mine IRL (Facebook chat has killed IMing it seems...), you wouldn't know this. My email address for anything associated with meatspace me, is flastname@gmail.com. My facebook is real-me. On the other hand, I know there's enough information on the fora to identify me, specifically.

In other words, my identities are separate but could easily be connected. I don't mind much, really.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Enuja » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:59 am UTC

I have a link on my facebook profile to my LiveJournal page, where I use the same pseudonym as I do here and some other places. So I allow the meatspace -> online identity to blur, but I try to put a significant barrier in going from the the online identity -> meatspace identity. I know it could be done with some serious investigation, and I occasionally give trusted individuals enough information to make the connection easily, but I like at least a little bit of a separation in the online -> meatspace direction.

I wasn't very happy with the amount of things I bit my tongue about and didn't share while I was a graduate student. Putting my wide ranging and often fringe opinions out there for meatspace people to follow, if they want to, (including a lot of people I was a graduate student with who are Facebook friends) is a recent return to an old pattern for me, and I really like it. If my meatspace friends don't want to be confronted with my sex positivity and other parts of my personality, they don't need to read my LiveJournal. But I'm a lot happier now that I'm not hiding these parts of myself from meatspace friends.

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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:09 am UTC

On here and most other places, moderately;

With the approriate google fu, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to turn up my Real Name, Phone Number, etc and all without resorting to facebook; Honestly I couldn't give a fuck, after a couple of years of being a bit of a dick online I realised that if I took accountablity for my actions online, I wouldn't have any skeletons in the cupboard storing up... Nothing I do online would bother me if publicised.
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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Adacore » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:59 am UTC

PhoenixEnigma is closest to what I've got, so far, I think.

I don't really have an online/meatspace divide, as such. Most of my online friends are now meatspace friends too; I'm basically in three online communities, and I've met up in meatspace with about half the members from two of the three (the third being this place, I've not met any of y'all yet). My online gaming led into LAN tournament management, and I've now run ~10 LANs with hundreds of players from across Europe. I used that experience on my CV to get my current job at an engineering company, and everyone I know remotely well knows that I'm involved in that (after all, I jet off overseas to run tournaments every few months, keeping that concealed from colleagues and friends would be more trouble than it's worth). My other online communities could be easily found if anyone wanted to - I use the same handle on most of them. I know my parents google me both by my real name and my handle. But generally, most people in meatspace don't really care about my online activities, and I don't really do anything nefarious that I wouldn't mind other people seeing.

However, having said that, I do have a (fairly small) corner of my online activities for which I use an entirely seperate online identity and I don't think I know more than two or three people (if that) through my main identity who would be able to track that one down without a lot of work. It wouldn't be the end of the world if it were found, but it's just stuff I'd rather keep private from my 'main' online/meatspace integrated identity of Adam "Adacore" Oddy.
Last edited by Adacore on Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:31 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby KrazyerKate » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:23 pm UTC

Felltir wrote:Not. I've had the police called for suicidal posts.


While I know that it's a good thing someone reached out to help someone online like this, I can't help but be a bit freaked out that someone could find out enough information about you to do that. I post online specifically because it's separate from my offline self (well, and the silly forum games). I'm always a bit uncomfortable about the fact that I don't really know how much information people can gather about me given just this xkcd-forum account.

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Re: How Separate are your Online and Meatspace Identities?

Postby Cassi » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:40 pm UTC

My identities have definitely merged more over time, though as far as I know (and feel free to correct me anyone if I seem obviously wrong) someone just knowing me in meatspace wouldn't be able to easily find my main online-only identities (really just here and livejournal). Facebook is a real mixing ground, though; I have people from a lot of different friendship groups, online and off, as well as family. So it's a bit more censored than anything I'd post here. Spoiler for more specifics, as I got rather rambly...
Spoiler:
I pretty much post here with the knowledge that it is open to the world and it's not difficult to make the connection with my offline identity (I've posted photos, and my avatar is always some variation of Numi), but I'm often more open than I am with offline friends. Nothing I wouldn't want them to know, really, it's just the nature of discussions here tends to encourage more openness. I'm pretty comfortable sharing most things, and I just gauge how much to share based on how comfortable other people seem to be with it. So if anyone I just know in meatspace stumbles across my posts in the woman thread, for instance, then fair enough -- it's an environment that encourages openness, and if they're reading it they should be able to be comfortable with that.

That said, not all of my meatspace friends know I met my boyfriend online, or the extent of my online interactions, mainly because it can be difficult to tell people's feelings towards online interaction and so sometimes it's easier to gloss over things a bit.

In the opposite direction, I'm guessing a fair bit could be found out about me from what I've posted here, but I'm okay with that. I am cautious about what clear identifying information I post to a certain extent, but I don't spend all my time making sure I don't say anything that gives away who I am/where I live, because that would just be tedious. I've met plenty of people in meatspace I originally met online without any trouble. I just take reasonable precautions, as I try to do with any personally identifying information I share.
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