Are you hiding on the internet?

I read too many articles about how people should share more about themselves,  how people should add more information to their profiles and post a photo of themselves on their social networking profiles.  Many people seem to think that if a person doesn’t post information about themselves, or a photo in their profile, that they are hiding.

And you know what? They are hiding, but not for the reasons you may think.  Some people have very valid reasons for hiding behind the computer, for not posting their photos and personal information on the internet.

Here are my questions to you….

  • If you had been stalked, on the Internet or in person?
  • If you have been a target because of political antics in a forum or social network?
  • If you had been stalked or harassed by an ex, or just didn’t want your ex knowing what you are doing?
  • If you didn’t want your boss and colleagues following your every move on the Internet, or knowing what you are writing about and commenting on?
  • If you knew that someone was copying all the photos of you that you posted on the Internet and then posted them in other places posing as you?
  •  If you knew that people were using the photos and/or personal information from your profile to start a fake Facebook page, or used as their own profile on an adult website?
  • If you have been harassed by people jealous of your success?
  •  If you knew someone was copying the photos you post of yourself on the Internet, photo shopping them and then posting your photos on an x-rated website?
  •  If you gave a child up for adoption and didn’t want to be found?
  • If you had been a victim of a serious crime, or in the witness protection program, or in fear that the person you testified against would find you and come after you?

Now, there are reasons why I don’t post too much personal information about myself on the Internet, and why I use a couple of different aliases online.  The first reason is because I have had some of the things I listed above happen to me.  The other reason is because I want to prevent/avoid crazy things, like I listed above, from happening to me.

I’ve read comments in a some forums I post in that “Profile pictures should be a requirement” or “It should be the requirement to have a competed profile”.  The members of this social networking site were pushing for it to be required for all members to have a real photo of themselves instead of a picture of an avatar (Cartoon, Video game characters etc), even though it’s a Pop Culture Community.

I have my own profile picture of myself posted, and some personal location information, and I’m OK with that.  In the past I’ve been recognised at Pop Culture Conventions and met some of the people I chat online with.   Some people have every part of their profiles filled out and share a lot of personal information and photos. That’s OK, it’s their choice.  However, not all members should be made to feel bad if they don’t. They should not be denied a membership if I choose not to.  I should always have the option of how much I want to reveal about myself.

Yes, people do hide behind the computer, but many of them have valid reason. Please be sensitive to that if you aren’t already.


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