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Author Topic: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes  (Read 2459 times)

beachglass

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Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« on: July 02, 2014, 05:19:22 pm »
I've been looking into finding a training group in my area. I met with the leader of one, who suggested that I join a particular Facebook group if I wanted to connect with more groups. But I have been reluctant to do this, because I would have to make a separate FB profile as the group membership is visible to everyone. I'm just stuck on the idea of having to create a whole separate online identity for this purpose, which can only lead to more time wasted on FB maintaining it and keeping it separated from my original profile.

I'm curious how others feel about this. Do you have separate social media profiles for pagan purposes? Is it worth the extra trouble, or maybe you don't find it any trouble? Do you ever mix them up?
"The further we go, and older we grow, the more we know, the less we show."  ~ Robert Smith

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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2014, 05:30:16 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;152059
I've been looking into finding a training group in my area. I met with the leader of one, who suggested that I join a particular Facebook group if I wanted to connect with more groups. But I have been reluctant to do this, because I would have to make a separate FB profile as the group membership is visible to everyone. I'm just stuck on the idea of having to create a whole separate online identity for this purpose, which can only lead to more time wasted on FB maintaining it and keeping it separated from my original profile.

I'm curious how others feel about this. Do you have separate social media profiles for pagan purposes? Is it worth the extra trouble, or maybe you don't find it any trouble? Do you ever mix them up?

 
I keep a strict separation between the pagan me and the public me. I can't guarantee that something may not come back and bite me in the ass in ten years...and the internet is forever*. If I were going to use FB (which is not going to happen) I'd maintain the separation since FB doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone.

*Well, for certain values of forever.
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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2014, 05:31:29 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;152059

I'm curious how others feel about this. Do you have separate social media profiles for pagan purposes? Is it worth the extra trouble, or maybe you don't find it any trouble? Do you ever mix them up?

 
I do not trust Facebook's privacy settings further than I can throw a blue whale. (Which is to say, not at all.) I also have real issues with the way Facebook in particular manipulates what data it thinks I want to see, that go above and beyond the privacy issues.

I am also of the generation of people who came to the 'Net in the 90s, when giving out your legal name online was seen as a Bad Idea except in situations where people actually needed it (which is not most of the time.)

I maintain two different identities: I do stuff relating to my professional life under my legal name (which includes a professional blog, accounts on library-related discussion sites, things like that), and I do everything else (including the Pagan stuff) as Jenett Silver. I have a Facebook account as my legal name, but use it almost entirely for work, and rarely remember to check it if I don't have to log in and do something on the work Facebook page.

Part of it is not just the religion: I also want to be able to talk about, say, chronic health issues without that popping up when someone searches my legal name. (Also, I have worked in the past and may again with teenagers, and there's a bunch of things where I would rather my personal life were not trivially found with an Internet search.)

I'm aware that it's possible to cross reference, of course, for places that can compare IP addresses (for example, I'm quite aware that Gmail can figure out trivially that my legal-name account and my personal account are coming from the same computer). I focus on keeping from crossing the streams in things that other people could find via search.

Anyway. Facebook would be, for me, a "I really really really would have to want to be in that group a lot to make me check it" and probably also a "create a second account." However, it's very explicitly against Facebook's terms of service (both to have multiple accounts and to not use a legal name - see section 4, here), and it's entirely possible they might crack down on that at some point (because there are reasons that would make business sense for them to do so.) If you go that route, it'd be worth talking about the possibility of non-Facebook options, and/or exchanging contact info outside of Facebook so that the community could be sustained through other methods if Facebook does decide to do that.

(I am exceedingly opinionated about some of this, and other people make other choices. However, I'm also a librarian who's been watching privacy, internet business, terms of service management, and related topics for 10+ years now.)
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beachglass

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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2014, 06:04:30 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;152062
However, it's very explicitly against Facebook's terms of service (both to have multiple accounts and to not use a legal name - see section 4, here), and it's entirely possible they might crack down on that at some point (because there are reasons that would make business sense for them to do so.)

 
This is a good point, and makes me even more reluctant to set up a separate profile. Facebook has become the default mode of communication for most of my extended family, so if there was a crackdown on duplicates and something happened to my main account, I'd be in a tough spot.
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Vale

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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2014, 06:29:46 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;152059
I've been looking into finding a training group in my area. I met with the leader of one, who suggested that I join a particular Facebook group if I wanted to connect with more groups. But I have been reluctant to do this, because I would have to make a separate FB profile as the group membership is visible to everyone. I'm just stuck on the idea of having to create a whole separate online identity for this purpose, which can only lead to more time wasted on FB maintaining it and keeping it separated from my original profile.

I'm curious how others feel about this. Do you have separate social media profiles for pagan purposes? Is it worth the extra trouble, or maybe you don't find it any trouble? Do you ever mix them up?


I started with separate identities but decided it was too much trouble.

I now post on FB  under my legal name on both pagan and non pagan groups. I have my privacy settings as tight as possible and I generally only post in "closed" or "secret" groups.

This is actually the only site where I use "Vale" as it is far too well indexed by the search engines! I do have an alias that I use on many other pagan forums but to be honest where I hang out most people know who I am anyway.

I do google my legal name every so often and I've yet to find anything attached to it that I would be unhappy with an employer finding.

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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2014, 06:38:21 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;152066
This is a good point, and makes me even more reluctant to set up a separate profile. Facebook has become the default mode of communication for most of my extended family, so if there was a crackdown on duplicates and something happened to my main account, I'd be in a tough spot.

 
I would expect any crackdown would be on your non-real-name account. Facebook doesn't actually want to get rid of users, after all. We're the product they're selling.

Right now I have two, one the name I publish under and one for family/work. Eventually I'd like to combine them... maybe... I guess? I don't have a lot of strong feelings about it. But for all intents, I consider Jack my real name and walletname one I have to put up with. If FB thinks I'm going to actually do anything but look at pictures of my niece under my walletname, they've got another think coming. I don't like any of my FB groups enough to put up with that.

Outside of FB, I go by various aliases but not to keep my paganism separate from everything else so much as to keep everything else separate from work/family, for much the same reason Jenett describes upthread. Once I'm not working in an office setting anymore I'm going to take a look at that and decide whether I feel the need to keep doing it.
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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2014, 06:44:46 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;152062
I do not trust Facebook's privacy settings further than I can throw a blue whale. (Which is to say, not at all.) I also have real issues with the way Facebook in particular manipulates what data it thinks I want to see, that go above and beyond the privacy issues.


Agreed. I rarely used Facebook in the past, and then recently it would not let me log in unless I input a phone number. I nope'd, so no more Facebook for me.

I do keep fully separate Wordpress accounts for my portfolio blog and for my personal blogs. I use "Sefiru" as a pen name just about everywhere, but the number of people who know both it and my legal name could be counted on one hand.

Sisu

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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2014, 10:37:17 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;152059
I've been looking into finding a training group in my area. I met with the leader of one, who suggested that I join a particular Facebook group if I wanted to connect with more groups. But I have been reluctant to do this, because I would have to make a separate FB profile as the group membership is visible to everyone. I'm just stuck on the idea of having to create a whole separate online identity for this purpose, which can only lead to more time wasted on FB maintaining it and keeping it separated from my original profile.

I'm curious how others feel about this. Do you have separate social media profiles for pagan purposes? Is it worth the extra trouble, or maybe you don't find it any trouble? Do you ever mix them up?


This is something I've struggled with as well. I don't use my full legal name on FB to begin with so someone would have to find me through a friend or know that specific username. But even among the circle of friends on FB, it's quite a mixed bag of family, friends, former coworkers, etc. and I've come out as pagan to only a handful of people (so not publicly on FB) so I've only joined ADF groups that are closed -- and still haven't been brave enough to post there.

I use an name on TC that is not used anywhere else online for me so it would be difficult for someone to track me down here. I want the freedom to speak candidly about my spiritual views and experiences which I don't feel using other aliases or my real name would allow. Maybe someday this will be different, but I'm very private in my everyday life about my personal beliefs (since I don't want to impose them on others) and would rather maintain a safe space online and not "cross the streams", so to speak.

Morag

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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2014, 12:04:52 am »
Quote from: beachglass;152059

I'm curious how others feel about this. Do you have separate social media profiles for pagan purposes? Is it worth the extra trouble, or maybe you don't find it any trouble? Do you ever mix them up?

 
I have separate accounts for my witch persona and my writer persona on Facebook, Google+, Wordpress, and Twitter.

However, I'm not terribly secretive about them, or I wasn't until the Ogre and I moved in together. We have awesome landlords, but it is a small concern that if they find out my religious leanings there might be trouble. So a few months ago I spent some time editing certain posts on my pagan blog and on my writer blog so it's not so obvious that I'm two different people. It used to be upfront info on the blogs -- now it's still there, but not easily findable. I also made sure that any pictures of me on my witch profile were not public, and changed my profile picture to something else. (Currently, a black and white photograph of a mother and daughter cooking, with the text "That's right, sweetheart; dreams and goals are Satan's way of distracting you from making dinner." Previously: grumpycat.)

Also, the witch FB account has become more of a "safe" FB account rather than an explicitly pagan one -- I've dropped people from my friendslist there if I don't feel safe around them, and I try to make sure that the list I keep doesn't make me self-censor. My writer FB account is also my general FB account (I changed my walletname to my longtime pen name) and I post almost everything there publicly, so people can follow me without friending me. I do mention paganism on my writer account, but my religion is set to Tibetan Buddhism (the religion I was raised in, and what I'll say I still am if pressed by the landlords -- it's partially true, after all; I'm basically a Buddhist witch).

That said, my religion on my "witch" FB profile is "I can kill you with my brain," so it's probably obvious I don't take the profile all that seriously.

I don't often mix them up, and if I ever have I've caught myself before making a faux pas. It helps that I keep myself signed into Morag Spinner on Chrome and my writer persona on Firefox, so I don't ever have to sign out and sign in again. (At least, I don't so long as either Chrome or Firefox aren't acting up, which does sometimes happen.)

The one persona I am terribly secretive about is my erotica-writing persona, but that one doesn't really have any social media accounts save a page I can manage from one of the personal profiles I have already.
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beachglass

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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2014, 12:38:25 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;152062
However, it's very explicitly against Facebook's terms of service (both to have multiple accounts and to not use a legal name - see section 4, here), and it's entirely possible they might crack down on that at some point (because there are reasons that would make business sense for them to do so.)

 
It appears they are cracking down: Why Facebook Is Deleting Drag Queen Profile Pages

I have very mixed feelings about this push to require full, legal names online (it's not just Facebook, either). I realize the idea is to discourage nasty, anonymous trolling, and that is a real problem that does need to be addressed. But requiring legal names everywhere will also discourage people from writing about sensitive or controversial topics, and that will be a real step back for the Internet.
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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2014, 01:22:09 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;159129
I realize the idea is to discourage nasty, anonymous trolling, and that is a real problem that does need to be addressed.

 
People put that out as the idea, even though it does not actually have that effect.  The actual idea is that data that's aggregated to legal names is more profitable to sell.
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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2014, 02:03:03 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;152059
I'm curious how others feel about this. Do you have separate social media profiles for pagan purposes? Is it worth the extra trouble, or maybe you don't find it any trouble? Do you ever mix them up?

What Jenett said. Probably because I'm older and remember when internet privacy was still highly valued. But also because I detest Facebook on principle -- mostly for the slimy things they do, but also because it's one of the biggest time sumps ever.

When I first got into the online pagan world, I had different profiles on the sites I frequented, including TC. Over time, I dropped all but Aster.

I only have 1 FB account, under the name Aster Breo.  I've never made an account under my legal name, which has caused some minor annoyances when certain friend groups default to FB for communication.  A few people in my "real" life know about Aster, but they are people I trust completely.  (Ditto for the few people here on TC who know my legal name.)

The only reason I set up a FB account in the first place was to join a couple of specific pagan groups. Since then, though, I've dropped out of most of them because they were more trouble than they were worth.

I'm in a Cill that communicates exclusively through FB, but the real reason I'm still on FB is because of the Clann Bhride group (which is the group for a Brighid centered path I co-founded). Ultimately, we want to get off FB and onto some other kind of forum. But until we can do that, FB is the best option we have.  I hate that.

If not for the Clann Bhride group, I probably wouldn't be on FB at all. Other than those 2 groups, all FB does for me is let me follow Hawai'i based photographers so I can get my daily dose of Hawai'i pics. And George Takei, of course.

I also have one blog, as Aster. Only a couple of people who know me IRL are aware of it, and, again, they're people I trust completely.

I do have several email accounts, including one under my legal name, one under Aster Breo, one for a specific group I work with (just to make the address consistent with the addresses of the other group leaders), and a couple for other reasons. That system works for me, so I'll probably stick to it.

I don't find it difficult to maintain, mostly because I only ever sign in to FB as Aster, and Gmail allows me to have several accounts open at once.

Like Jenett, I'm aware that someone determined could make the connections easily, if they wanted to and knew how.  I'm ok with that, though, because I think it's unlikely to happen. I'm hardly someone who would draw that kind of scrutiny. More importantly, I'm old enough not to really care anymore. My kids are adults now, so I no longer have to worry about my paganism causing legal problems with custody. Because of my medical issues, I can no longer work in law or child advocacy.  I'm back in theater now, where nobody cares about anyone's religion. (Hey, look! A silver lining to my medical problems!)

So, ultimately, yes, I keep separate profiles to the extent that I'm on those kinds of sites at all, because it's easier for me. But I understand and accept the risks.
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Jack

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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2014, 02:29:48 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;159129
It appears they are cracking down: Why Facebook Is Deleting Drag Queen Profile Pages

It's interesting timing, especially since Google finally caved on the nymwars.
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beachglass

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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2014, 03:02:11 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;159132
People put that out as the idea, even though it does not actually have that effect.  The actual idea is that data that's aggregated to legal names is more profitable to sell.

 
I do like to believe that the newspapers and such who have gone to this policy are really trying to raise the level of discourse (or at least decrease the strain of moderation). Facebook I know only exists to sell my personal information to the highest bidder.

You reminded me of a Wired article on the topic: Forcing Commenters to Use Real Names Won’t Root Out the Trolls. She makes a good point that it's not your legal name that backs up the usefulness of your comment, but the knowledge and reliability you've demonstrated in your previous contributions, whether they're attached to a pseudonym or not. I think we see this effect very strongly on TC, where almost no one uses legal names. We still know who is a knowledgeable/trustworthy poster by their history on the board.

The other thing I wonder about is, if we're insisting on real name comments so people refrain from making offensive statements online, if that's really a good thing when presumably people still hold these views. For example, consider the conversations that have come out of various displays of misogyny online. I think it really illustrated the pervasiveness of the problem. Without these discussions, would I have considered things like street harassment and careless sexist comments just something annoying that happens to me once in a while? I'm not sure, without the wider reactions and commentary online, that I would have recognized that it's still a societal problem and we ought to work against it.
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Re: Separate online identities/aliases for pagan purposes
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2014, 03:43:28 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;159129

I have very mixed feelings about this push to require full, legal names online (it's not just Facebook, either). I realize the idea is to discourage nasty, anonymous trolling, and that is a real problem that does need to be addressed. But requiring legal names everywhere will also discourage people from writing about sensitive or controversial topics, and that will be a real step back for the Internet.

 
There's actual research on that! Livefyre, which manages comments for some very big sites did a survey that just came out (info over here, and it links to their blog.)

Also, it's worth noting that Google+ has backed off some of their name policies (finally!) - see here for the announcement from July.

One of the things I talk about when I talk about privacy issues is that I care about my professional reputation - but you can find *much* more about me (much more posting history, much more 'can I trust this person's information' type stuff) if you look at Jenett Silver as a name (including paid published work...)
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