Archive for the ‘secret identity’ Tag

Batgirl and me, or, The disorder of multiple personalities

Batgirl’s alter ego, Barbara Gordon, was a librarian.

Batgirl in actionThis is a post about alter egos. It was inspired by this unmasking post by the Mongoose Librarian. She was having an identity crisis and I am having something similar.

I was very hesitant about taking part in 23 Things. I was very interested in learning about social media, trying out new Things and communicating with lots of other librarians in Cambridge. Great. However, over the last decade, I have carefully cultivated a completely anonymous online existence which I have been at pains to keep separate from my real identity.

I’m not an international spy. But I am very cautious about my online identity and my real name. I have worked on blogs (library and otherwise) using pseudonyms, much like Ms Mongoose describes. I tend not to use my work email to sign up for things online, even work-related. I have actually have 3 different email accounts that I regularly use for different things. I do actually think a degree of caution is warranted – it’s naive to think that the personal and professional can be kept separate without some effort on your own part. In this day and age, employers will google job applicants. There have been enough stories of people being fired over something they wrote in a blog or on Facebook that the phenomenon has coined a new verb.

Having decided to go ahead with 23 Things, I had to decide how anonymous to be. Many of the Cam23 bloggers are (to me at least) completely anonymous with no or little identifying information on their blog. Twitter this week is starting to reveal some true identities and match familiar faces to pseudonyms. With some effort, I could have tried to remain entirely anonymous throughout the process. I settled for a middle ground – I don’t use my full name here on Thing blogging or on my Twitter account. However, I’ve gone against my usual instincts and sign my posts with my first name (rendering me pretty much identifiable to anyone who really wants to know in Cambridge library terms). I chose to do this deliberately – I thought that removing the disguise (at least partially) would make me think hard about what I do and don’t say here and elsewhere during this process.

What I should have done, though, is be consistent in my identity. I already had a Google account. I already had a WordPress account. All with different email addresses and linked to different identities. If I had been more organised, I should have set up new accounts all linked to the same email address. I have tried to set up my identity when commenting on other blogs so that it displays both my blog name and my first name but I’ve noticed that this isn’t consistent – sometimes it will only have the blog name, others only my name. I spent a good 30 minutes trying to decide what to call myself on Twitter and which email to use for my registration. My carefully partitioned alter egos are starting to meld into each other a little bit. It makes me uncomfortable. If only donning a pair of glasses and a side parting were enough to disguise my true identity from everyone again – Barbara Gordon and Clark Kent don’t know how easy they had it.

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