Friday, July 20, 2007

i heard about this new internet thingy

ok, here's the thing.

the internet is big. really big. [and to quote douglas adams] "you just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is."

but for as big as the Internet is, it's also very small, small enough to peek at you while you sit at your computer in your underthings (or underthingies, if you're a fan of bbc comedies).

the reason for name-dropping the internet is that she's both a beneficent and a vengeful mistress. i've been reading a lot on anonymous blogging and also on social networking and my dilemma is this: how can i make friends if i refuse to tell you who i am?
[note: lower case inspired by e. e. cummings who said, "to be nobody-but-yourself--in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else--means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."]

but since i've decided to (try to) be anonymous (as much as possible), i think i should pass along what i know about anonymity:
  1. create a new email account and call yourself whatever you want: i remember that one of my earliest accounts was under the name, "painful rectalitch" (that's mr. painful rectalitch, to you.) and i got spam addressed to "dear painful" and "hello, rectalitch." oh, how i would laugh.
  2. be consistent with your new identity; do not post pictures to your "real" flickr account and link them into your "fake" blog (remember people can right-click and check the properties of a photo to see from where it originates).
  3. if you wish to make friends, you might need to come clean about some of your real self.
  4. and this is what i learned today: i installed a statistical counter to see how many people visit my page. because, and this is really odd and difficult to explain, even though i post anonymously, i want to be liked. but when i installed my counter (from that i saw on the vampire librarian site), it immediately started to track my own access to my page. i didn't even think about that; that my anonymous blogging could be jeopardized by ego's need to quantify your attention. so if you install a counter, don't forget to look for any settings that will keep others from viewing your statistics and that will block statistics for your own access to your page (especially if you blog from work: you don't need your ip address logged a thousand times).
  5. and since these counters log where visitors link from and where they click out to, as an internet user, you might want to close your browser window after you update your blog. i'm not sure about this, but it makes sense to close out the browser and open a fresh window to try to minimize any cookie tracking residue. and then wash your hands :) .

if you have any other tips on remaining anonymous or if you'd like to present me with a golden statuette for my performance in places in the heart, add a comment.

[another note: the last paragraph only makes some sense if you clicked the link and saw the youtube clip; since anonymity means i could be anyone, today i'm sally field.]