Monday, September 3, 2007

:: blinks ::

Whoa there, Inside Higher Ed linked to my post about new faculty orientation? Yeep! I feel like I should have said something more profound (and probably revealed less about who and where I am, come to think of it!)

Oh well, it's damned hard to conceal your identity for any length of time on the Internet, so I've always figured somebody would tumble to it sooner or later, and I don't really post anything I wouldn't tell my colleagues if they asked. At least, I find it hard, and judging by the number of times I've been able to spot the online persona of someone I know in real life (I once won a case of beer because a friend bet me that I couldn't), other people find it equally hard. It's funny how distinctive people's voices are; I had a roommate in grad school who, unbeknownst to me, started posting to a message board that I had told her about, and I kept looking at her posts and thinking, "Wow, that sounds so much like something [my roommate] would say," -- and sure enough, it was. It's happened the other way around, too; a few years ago I stumbled across an online journal by someone who was clearly a student at the University of Basketball, in which she wrote about signing up for a course that I happened to be teaching, and by the second week of class I had a fairly good idea which student it was. (That sort of thing obviously brings up all kinds of etiquette-and-ethics conundrums, and of course I didn't visit her journal after that, but eventually I did get confirmation that I was right.)

Anyway, I'd guess that this sort of story is more common than you'd expect, since people with common interests tend to flock together online and in real life, and the population that uses the Internet as a social venue is still fairly small and homogeneous. Still, it feels really weird when it happens.

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