Farty's Fortunes

Monday, 7 May 2007

A Word of Warning

Some residents of Blogland don't care who knows their true identity1. Some go so far as to advertise their name, address and phone number. Others, who don't really fancy getting weird phone calls at all hours of the day and night, are a bit more circumspect. Some still give their name, but keep their address a mystery. Many use a pseudonym(sp?), if only to distinguish themselves from the million other "John Smiths" out there. And some are complete enigmas. I wonder if any are aliens writing blogs right now?

My point? Did I have one? Yes. You might not want certain people in your workplace or family to know what you're writing about them. Or not writing, as the case may be. People have been fired for this. And possibly divorced. Or beaten up.

So imagine my shock when, a few weeks ago, an electromail arrived in my normal inbox, from a fellow blogger whom I had never heard of until then (although it turns out that this one is in the book). How had this person found me out? Was I about to be blackmailed? What if Mrs Farty had been leaning over my shoulder when I opened my mail (as she sometimes does)?

As it turned out, I needn't have worried. I had been targeted by my blog id, but BCC'ed to hide my name from all the others on a circular. Since my inbox rules send all "MrFarty" mail to my blogger inbox, and "MrFarty" wasn't named, the default applied.

And then there was the time I posted something in the comments box of a blog that was being moderated. A hiccup in the interweb meant that the owner didn't get notified, but instead I got an "undelivered" message to let me know. From the owner's (until then) secret email address.

When someone posts a comment about one of my posts, I get an email to tell me about it. Naturally, this email goes to "MrFarty", which is the same address you see when you want to contact me. I thought everyone on Blogger did the same. Until yesterday.

Imagine my surprise when, shortly after posting a comment on xxxxx's blog, I received an email from yyyyy, helpfully telling me that yyyyy was "out of the Office until the 9th May". The contact address in the blog was not even remotely similar to the one on the email. Shome mishtake, shurely? And this from someone who works for a security firm2.

So let's be careful out there. I'm just saying.

1 A philosopher might ask, what do we mean by "true identity"? After all, you can have one identity on the interweb, one at work, one at play, one with one's spouse...see Nietzsche for more on this. I dare you.

2 btw, what does DWFN stand for?


Liz said...

I didn't get the notification at all for the comment you left on my blog last Thursday. I found it quite by accident when I logged on yesterday afternoon. Sometimes Blogger can be so tiresome.

The e-mail that I use for all things Blogger related isn't my main home one and if I were to e-mail you from it the name would appear as Mad Lizzie, which is not entirely my real name. I set up this particular e-mail account when I was dabbling in internet dating (don't ask) and I didn't want my suitors to get to know too much about me until I'd actually met them in the flesh.

Cat said...

The whole being outed business freaks me out. Not that I have anything to hide, of course, but there are few people in real life who actually know that I have a blog.

I have a specific blog email, and it may surprise you to know that Cat is not actually my real name - gasp - although it is what most of my friends call me. I changed the pic on my blog back because someone I've apparently met, but have no memory of, spotted the old pic on my MySpace page. I was so weirded out by it I deleted the whole MySpace account!

Mr Farty said...

Liz - Feck, I don't care who you are in the flesh, I deleted that email as soon as I got it. I'd be too terrified even to attend a blogmeet.

Cat - Oh, I could name several people in the Blogoverse who know my real name. They're being struck off my list, one by one...BWAHAHAHA!

I still liked the other picture better.

DWFN - Noted. I'm sure you'll let me know if I slip up, too ;)

BOSSY said...

Bossy will keep this in mind when associating with her one fan. Thanks!

Mr. X said...

Interesting - Mr.X will have to check his email a bit more carefully now...
Not that he imagines anyone wants to know who he is, but still.