When I first started my AOL Journal I was very cautious about how much personal information I released. I was careful about what was visible in pictures. For instance, surroundings, clothing, time of day. Might sound strange but this is the Internet, right here in my bedroom. I know where my own integrity stands and what my own intentions are while I'm online. But I learned recently, there are over 3 million anonymous people in chatrooms at any given moment. Just chatrooms.
The first picture I posted in my About Me section was blurred, scratched and faded to the best of my ability. Still it made me uneasy. It took a while before I started posting more pics and then music and videos. Now, even after the launch of my music website, you'll notice, I've never personally given my full/true name in my own journal or anywhere in AOL-J. I've only refereed to myself as Freeepeace [or variations of my screenname]. And still some insist on calling me by my true name - even people I've never been introduced to.
When my website was being launched, it was a big deal and a huge risk for me to link it to this journal. I wonder every single day if I should change that. It sometimes keeps me awake at night. But then I remember, I'm as safe as I feel.
Some of us have relationships outside of AOL-J. We share email, Instant Messages, snail mail, phone calls. And some have met in person. For me, information shared in private is sacred.
I know I can't control what others choose to post in their journals but I can only ask that my privacy and personal information be kept in confidence. Please check with me before posting something I've written, said or information I've given to you personally. There are copyright laws that protect us all in that regard. But I would like to believe I don't need to refer to them - especially here in AOL-J.
This isn't a rant. It's a reminder. I am who I am. What you see is what you get. But it's up to me to introduce and expose parts of myself when I'm ready - on my own time. Please remember there are others reading our journals, outside of our community. We may be very comfortable with each other. But this is the Internet. Anyone in the world could be reading.
~ peace please ~