Friday, March 02, 2007

Exposing Yourself

Today I was discussing this with a couple of friends...

What would you do if your real identity gets exposed?

I'm not talking about those who have no problem in showing themselves or talk in specific detail about their everyday life and sharing that online, I'm talking about those who prefer to remain anonymous by posting under usernames to separate their internet life off their normal life. What would be your reaction if your real identity gets uncovered? Your life, your family, your friends... etc.?

With all the info that you might provide on your website, blog, journal, forum...etc. even by little details you're leaving small strings and traces consequently leading to your real identity. That's why I think it is quite easy to track someone down in a small community such as ours if you know who to ask, where to ask, and how to ask.

Now you might wonder why I'm inflamed all of a sudden with this subject, well because in one hour we were able to expose two of Kuwait's most popular "anonymous" bloggers. Yes, random chit-chat brought us to knowing who those bloggers actually are in real life.

Personally I have no problem unveiling my real personality but I do prefer to stay anonymous for my own good. However, I wouldn't doubt that someone I don't know out there knows who I am and what I do.


Hussain said...

It's O.K. with me. However, there's a limitation:
1. don't put your phone number
2. don't put your car's plate number
3. don't tell about your usual place that you visit(like certain Dwaniyas, cafes.. etc)
4. don't put your pictures online.
5. don't give anyone your work or house address

I do have a page with some information about me, i dare anyone who can track me with those info!!

Anyway, nice subject to talk about :)

Anonymous said...

wayy yumma ! if this happened to me i would delete my blog and start a new one by the next month or so :P

but i agree with hussain!!

and i'd like to add..

6. dont put names

(did u kill the birds?)

Extinct Dodo said...

ah yes, the anonymity issue. i wont deny that a few close acquaintances and even bloggers know my real identity, and i wont deny that im very very uncomfortable with that. it depends on your blog and what you choose to post that affects whether you mind or not i guess. im sure my parents wouldnt exactly be "proud" if they read my posts for example :P

so yeah, what you choose to post about and your subject matter affects whether you'd mind having your identity revealed really :)

Hamza said...

hmmm...I guess I am from those who don't have a problem in discussing their everyday life online. But now that you mention it, I am re-thinking the whole thing..I'd never wanna be blackmailed...

Intlxpatr said...

Family know who I am. 4 people in Kuwait know who I am; one is my husband. Friends in other places know who I am and respect my need for privacy. You would have to know me fairly well as a person to guess.

I'm careful. We need to be.

Will said...

To be honest, I don't have a problem with that. But yeah, I agree with Hussain. Names are alright, but not the full name.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem whatsoever;P

I bet everyone who knows me in RL if they just cross by my link. they'd know its me.. o 3adee i don't mind them knowing ;p

sweetd said...

LOOOOL! who are they;) im not undercover my WHOLE family know my blog and ALOT of my friends.. serioulsy i dont talk about anything wrong so why be afraid??... maybe my blog is boring that why PLUS my family care less about what i write about they have enough of me talking at home:P... apart from that yep i know ALOT of the real bloggers out there and they dont know that i know who they r!;)... HINT HINT..:P just kiddin.. yeah but ive met a few bloggers and they r normal people...

LaiaLy_q8 said...

i guess it doesn't take much to figure out who i am ... i really never gave this topic much thought just because eventually someone will figure out who you are and you have to be prepared wither way

Amola said...

well sometimes i tell strangers online all my secrets cuz i cant tell it to anyone els and i would be in big trouble if anyone know who i am !

Kinan said...

I don't think I have a problem with e-people knowing who I am in real life. Heck, I have my actual email address and my full name in my profile. Anyway, I would hate it if a family member would stumble upon my blog just because of the weird questions that I know would be asked. But other than that I'd have no issues whatsoever. That said, I do understand why some people would prefer to remain anonymous online. It's all about choice at the end of the day and I think that in and of itself is the whole purpose of the internet.

Great topic Mac :)

♀ L's brain ♀ said...

I just got your comment. I would like to know why my opinion matters to you.

in answer to your question, I think that people should respect the anonymity. it is not heroic to know someone's real identity. it is important to respect people's privacy. take care

SpiKeY said...

hmm nice post...

but can i ask something...why are we so scared to be known??? bloggers all around the world are known...they use video blogs and so on...but in our society ...well we have limits ..therefore some bloggers try to be anonymous to discuss issues that are considered awkward or taboo in our society...

for all that is considered taboo in our society..however there are people who would like to talk about it freely...thus they find blogging as a good way
i dont htink anybody has the right to know who the blogger is...only IF the blogger wants too..

i for one....i have loads of people who know me personally in life..and they know me as the blogger..sometimes if i need some certain people to get a message...i write in my they know how i feel...

and for what id do if i was known...thank god...i know myself...and god knows me...and thats enough for me...

crazy for converse said...

i would have to say that i totally agree with spikey.

and that everyone has the right to keep thier privacy

and that questioning it in itself isn't very wise

i personally can't see why someone would want to spend 60 mins trying to figure out who's who.

how come you want to know people? i say live and let live! lol!

ok so if they didn't mention who they are i don't think guessing would do people any good because we could have them confused with someone else.

It won't be fair for them believe me it's frustrating. once i had a friend who suspected me as someone else and was nagging me about it. It wasn't nice at all to be confused with someone else.

Elijah said...

Some of my friends and family members know my blog, but it's better when no one knows because of the questions you get later on when they see you.

If I wanted to tell you, I would've said it to your face and not blogged about it, so why ask?

But sometimes it's easier when they read sthg that you couldn't really tell them.

I wouldn't care about finding out who's who, but it would be interesting to know how some people live these double lives, on and off line.

Hussain said...

To answer your question!
I was one of mIRC(chat rooms software) users since 1999. 30-40 users there know my home address, I shared everything with them... etc. I was SO FOOL by doing that. I got into troubles that even my father and police were involved! I quit from this sh!ty IRC, and out of those 40 "friends" only one is still in contact with me!

don't underestimate the privacy online as it's not a scary thing! it is a big deal.

SpiKeY said...


unfortunately this is due to our society again...and other things is ..what you are sayin in your blog or on the internet...

in our society they like to talk ...he said she said...oh that guy said that that gurl is that...she did that and soo on...el7achy ma ye5al9...thats why when a blogger is revealed ...our society will be happy...

ya3ny for me what i say on my blog is something i would say in public no worries there...

The Criticizer said...

Thank you for your comments. From your replies I noticed most of you have built a wrong idea out of my post. However, it's good to see this topic through various views.

You're right but there are other clues you might leave unintentionally that might lead to you.

That's a bad reaction. Deleting it would solve your problems but won't remove your real identity from their minds.

No I didn't and they still hang out my window. I'll post about them again soon. :P

You're right but what I'm asking is what would you think if someone you have never met knows who you are in real life? Wouldn't that bother you?

You won't be blackmailed, hopefully, just make sure you don't uncover too much about yourself. Good luck!

That's the right thing to do. Expats really need the anonymity. Good luck.

will & fayoora:
You don't have a problem if a total stranger knows who you are and what you do in real life? I hope you're kidding.

I'm not talking about what you write on your blog, I'm talking about your life, your daily experience, your hangout places, your TONY for example... aren't you afraid of sick stalkers? People you never met in your life talking about you behind your back? That's my point.

& lol @ "They r normal people". Of course they would be. You're one of them bloggers. ;P

Yep, that makes sense.

See now that's exactly my point, what if someone knew who you are on and off the net? You'd probably be screwed. :/

I was about to point you out in the post but I thought it wouldn't be appropriate to do and the reason I was about to do it is that you're a good sample of the people who have no problem of exposing themselves. I just hope this doesn't get you into any trouble, you never know. Good luck anyways. :)

l's brain:
I was expecting more than just a few lines but thanks for your comment. I wanted your opinion regarding this topic because of all people in the blogsphere you need to be completely anonymous.

I never said it's heroic to reveal someone's real identity and I'm dead sure it's not a decent thing to do, however have you ever thought of the consequences if anyone found your real identity, even if by mistake?

You have somehow diverted my point into another good point, how long are we willing to remain anonymous if it's so easy to be tracked down? I guess the answer would be something like "As long as possible or until someone finds out."
And you're right. Our community is an easy tracker and a rough place to hide.
I appreciate your contribution(s) to this topic.

crazy for converse:
Trust me that we were never intending to reveal those bloggers' real IDs, we were just having a normal everyday chat and we brought the blogging topic which lead us to knowing who's who. And just the idea of that makes me double wonder, if we have easily figured them out isn't it as easy or at least not so hard to figure who we (me and friends) are? Hence I had to discuss this with you guys and gals, prove a simple point that we can be identified by people we never met without knowing it.

I'm not talking about your relatives and friends who know about you, I'm talking about complete strangers knowing you in person and you never met them before.

Yes it would be interesting to know about double lives. But have yourself in that position. Would you be ok if you know that someone you never met in your life, not even online, somewhere out there knows everything about you? Your life, your family.. etc.? I think a guy can handle that but it has more consequences when it involves girls. Think about it.

Ms Loala said...

Wow, that's alot of comments ;p
In my opinion, exposing identity can be a little bit extreme. Of course it's not ok (well, for me) to reveal your own name, address, phone number and some other personal information but still, you ARE exposing part of your identity online. People would know of what ethnicity you're decending from, your religion, your education, your way of life, what you like and what you dislike etc .. The missing element however that enables you to form the complete picture is the Name + Numbers, and then you're all set.
There are cases however where you can identify that person by some of the very few points, topics or posts he\she mentiones. I personally came acrros people online who happened to be relative to me in some way, they don't know about it yet xp

Kinan said...

First off, please feel free to point me out whenever you feel the need to. lol!

Now getting back to the topic, isn't the first and foremost purpose of blogging is for a blogger to express him/herself?!

I mean, once you start blogging you are inevitably leaving the biggest traces to your identity online: your thoughts! And, when each one of us started his/her own blog did we not intend it to the "strangers" audience?!

I think worrying about strangers knowing who we are as bloggers really defies the point of blogging!

Just my humble opinion

♀ L's brain ♀ said...

It's too bad I live in a world where I do have to worry about the consquences, you would think freedom of expression is present in 2007.. but its not.. and so I do worry, all the time.. but I can't help wanting to express myself.. I think it's an innate desire in all human.

KJ said...

Blogs are made for people to ramble and connect. There have been many studies on blogs and how therapeutic they are. Many students and employees find it as a haven to vent off their problems and the group therapy and support provided is sufficient for them to continue through the day.

Now about being anonymous, it is up to that person.. I for instance have no problem with my presence online. I like to leave a trace everywhere. Yes, it did bother me when my boss came up and asked me about a comment I made in some online newspaper, but it is my life and thoughts and no one has any right to take that away from you.

If the person questions you, you can question them back - it IS your life and just as you don't dictate their life they shouldn't dictate yours. I do speak naively, yes, but if you look at it, it is the truth. It is your blog and your diary, if someone is afraid of being found out they can go vent somewhere else or set up multiple accounts and toggle between them.

Anonymous said...

shda3wa? :P
What are we Celebrities? ;P

Anonymous said...

PS: Allah e3eenik winta tred 3aala kel hal comments :P

Nonaw said...

NO! NO! NO! NO!!!!! mabii .. what if i wrote about the person who is reading? or i said i hated someone and that person read it? ... nooooooooooo

i didnt say i hate someone .. just to make my point y3ny =P

Will said...

I'm not a spy to remain completely undercover. I can revile who I am if I wanted to. Like what Fayoor said; we're no celebs =P

Extinct Dodo said...

actually it would disturb me A LOT. much more than just merely bother me :/

The Criticizer said...

ms loala:
Yeah that's what I'm trying to point out. We have combined our clues, unintentionally I might add, and found who's who. Each had a string but in the end we found out.

Good point, however in our society and with our customs blogging efficiency won't work.

And thanks for the green light. ;P

l's brain:
You have proved a point, thank you.

"if someone is afraid of being found out they can go vent somewhere else or set up multiple accounts and toggle between them."

Exactly, still there's a chance of them getting exposed by strangers.

Not necessarily celebs but you do have to take caution. Don't you?

& I know! I'm suffering already. :P

What's even worse is when it doesn't concern someone and that someone (you don't know) got into your real life details. Your family, your car, your hangouts.. etc. Be careful. :/

You said it yourself, you can reveal your identity IF YOU want to. But what happens when it occurs against your will and behind your back? That's what I've been trying to prove all day long. :/

Exactly! :\

Elijah said...

OK got it. I think from experience I'd prefer if a complete stranger knew everything about me than having friends knowing I have a blog. The whole point for me was to write freely without anyone judging me or hating me for my ideas or thoughts and believe me I got that from the closest people to me.

Yes it might be creepy but adventurous also :)

Joud said...

i like to stay anonymous but i guess it wouldn't be the end of the world if someone found out who i was

Kitty said...

nice blog

EniGma said...

I recognized some bloggers from the information they have on their blogs. It's easy to catch KU students who expose their major. Since English speakign kids are a minority, it really narrows them down. Add birthdate, and maybe a hobby or two and there you have it.
People who know me would immediately recognize me. To be honest, it doesn't make me comfortable, but its my blog oo kaify. I don't tell bloggers that I know who they are cuz I respect their privacy.

And if you kill the birds I'll kill you.

moocherx said...

I am sure that no-one knows who I am, with 3 exceptions (people I've met in "real life"). I prefer to remain anonymous, and if I suddenly became well-known I'd stop my blog immediately, because discovery would take away all the fun.

The Criticizer said...

Adventurous? Your privacy and reputation are on the edge and you think it's adventurous?! :/

You're right but it would have more bad consequences than any good, especially for the fact that you're a female, in our community at least.

Thank you.

You don't take advantage of that, others probably would. That's what I want to point out. You have to conceal your real identity to be on the safe side.

Too late, I've already killed one. ;P

I hate to burst your bubbles but you have left enough clues to track you down easily. :/

I think it's more about boundaries and privacy than fun alone. You would miss the fun out of blogging, others would start the fun just by knowing who you are.

EniGma said...

YOU DIDN'T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

coquette said...

Hmm the only reason people should remain anonymous online is because there are a lot of crazy people out u never know..over exposing urself to that can get u in trouble.
I personally never cared if people knew who the real person behind my blog is...because I have nothing to hide...but I just dont want some crazy people stalking me or something lol But yea, some people tried to guess who I am...because I have mentioned a couple of times where I work...but they couldnt..even though I think its pretty easy..

The Criticizer said...

lol! Of course I didn't though I'm willing to. :P

Yeah, that's my point. No one would like to be bothered with those sickos so good luck on keeping your anonymity.

sweetd said...

not my TONY(L)

The Criticizer said...


sweetd said...

LOOOOL... u know i dont mind people KNOWING ME from ME...but i hate people KNOWING me( although i wish everyone goodluck in trying to firgure out what im like...i dont even know!) not through others cuz poeple dont know u personally and make things up! if thats what ur gettin at

Elijah said...

LOL Mac What reputation? It's not like we're letting out our wildest desires here haha.

The Criticizer said...

I'm confused. I didn't understand a single thing, sorry. :/

Whatever makes you happy. Just don't ask for help when maniacs come after you. :P

sweetd said...

loooool i have a thing i do that to people! let me thnk again how to rephrase it and ill get back to u;)

The Criticizer said...

*pending* ;)

sweetd said...

what i ment..(sorry for keeping u waiting) is i dont mind people knowing me..who i am if they met me first..but i dont like it when poeple tell others about me and fake things that arent true.. its sad:P... so... but its fun when none knows u..:P..

Elijah said...

I will ask for help and YOU will help me, won't ya? *sad eyes*

The Criticizer said...

Ok I get it, thanks for clarifying. :)

You know I will. ;P