Midnight Pub

Remaining invisible


I'm new here, but in lieu of an introduction post, I'd like to ask for y'all's advice on something. Y'all seem like a thoughtful bunch. (Go ahead, I'll wait while you get your drink. Nah, I've got my beer here, thanks.)

Ever since I was a kid, I've been afraid of of leaving a trail behind me on the Internet. I often started blogs or accounts on forums, but then the thought that someone could type my username into a search engine and find all of my posts would overwhelm me, and I would lose my nerve to post after a couple of days. I can't count the number of times I've chosen new usernames, created new identities, started accounts, deleted them, prevented myself from having any lasting presence or connection - all for fear of being seen.

I think some folks here will probably say "Well, that's just healthy concern for privacy! Nobody wants evil corporations to be in control of their personal data" - but it's not even that. I'm afraid to use IRC because people post logs in public. Once someone uploaded my PGP key to a keyserver without my permission and I nearly had a panic attack. And yet (and this is the worst part) I still browse my social media feeds every day, because the corporations don't post their data about me in public, at least. As soon as I make anything the Wayback Machine could find, though... Bam, sudden terror - and that includes making this post! (Hence the beer...)

How do y'all stand it, gosh!

I discovered Gemini space just the other day and was delighted at the obvious potential for a more thoughtful, creative Internet. It would make me sad if this weird phobia prevented me from participating more fully in it, so I hope that someone here can empathize with this strange urge to be invisible. I admit, though, that I'm not sure whether I want advice for overcoming it or advice for leaning into it. (How *do* you make sure your pseudonyms stay pseudonymous?)

Maybe, after all, I just wanted to say hello. Cheers, everyone! 😁


This post along with the similar-yet-opposite by ~edisondotme has me contemplating...

I'll add something coherent when I have it, but for now, cheers and welcome!



I understand this completely, and share many of the same feelings with you, but here is the deal. Who do you want to stay anonymous from? If it is from a government or big corporation, then that is quite tough, but not impossible. You mainly would have to use all the privacy tools at your disposal (especially tor) and use several personas to post stuff, encrypt everything and try to impersonate them as much as you can. And remember the more intricate a persona "history" is the more difficult it will be for you not to get attached to it, and the more time you spend with a persona I think it is easier for your personality to "seep" through the cracks.

If you just want to stay anonymous from the general public, then don't fret too much, most will never make a connection between different handles.

Now here is the fun part, I think all of us have a public face and it is even good to show it around a bit, then you can create personas to do all the other stuff you want, and kind of compartimentalize your activities online, this way you through a lot of people of the scent of your real self.



I get what you're saying.

1. The internet never forgets.

2. The internet never forgives.

3. Anything you post online can eventually be used against you.

The thing is, I grew up being ostracized and bullied without the internet. Even if I kept silent and minded my own business, if somebody wanted an excuse to pick on me they'd just make one up. Haters gonna hate.

People are going to do as they please regardless of your efforts to avoid giving offense. I don't see any point to living in fear of the self-righteous and perpetually indignant.

Somebody once asked me why my domain name is the name on my driver's license. I told them that if I didn't claim it, somebody who had a beef with me could and might use it to smear me. Do I use it to post shit that might offend people? Yes. But if you can't deal with me because you were offended by something I wrote on my own website without forcing into other people's spaces, then you don't fucking deserve my presence in your life.



Yes: other people being frightening-as-fuck PII loose is totally familiar. :-)

I'm almost certainly much older, and thus have innumerable USENET posts signed with a "sig" I used back then containing full name (yes.. even the middle initial..). The content was sufficiently weird that I suspect most wouldn't know what to make of it, and yet of course there are people able to make quite a bit of quite a little. "Journalists", for example.... <coughs>

But that was long ago. I guess I've been mostly anonymous since, and completely fine with it. In fact, I find funly joy in seemingly becoming a personage roughly defined by a "handle" and the momentum of the accumulation of its verbiage offerings.



As long as you are just posting non-identifiable or mundane daily life stuff I would not worry about someone finding it 10 years later. If it was important enough for you to post today, it should still be important in the future. Who knows, maybe it will even help the person that reads it in the far future get through their life.

Posting relieves the pressure that builds up in your head from all of the thoughts that swirl around and allows you to have room for new ones.

I hope that helps.



I have similar feelings too sometimes. I drafted a post on this topic a while ago. I was gonna write here or elsewhere about it, I'll just post it now I guess.

The main difference is that I don't want to be invisible, I want to be known, but I just have reservations about everything I say on the internet being infinite, accessible, and searchable. Forever.

I think cancel culture is to blame for some of the feelings you and I have on this topic. ~stargazer?