Here's a thing.
I went to Potlatch, a Typepad blog, and was mildly interested in this article and wanted to comment. I've commented there before, but only occasionally. I never had any trouble in doing so under my 'internet name' of Charlie McMenamin before. But I did tonight.
I have an 'internet name' as I am self employed and do work for local authorities, not-for-profits and charities. I have a personal website which advertises my wares under my real name. I also have a Facebook page, a Google+ presence and a Twitter account in my real name.
I don't want folk Googling me and finding all my disgraceful political opinions popping up. I can separate my work life and out of work life, but I don't want to leave a trail on the net behind me . Hence the nom-de-plume. I know, of course, that anyone with a scintilla of IT savvy could break this light disguise in a matter of moments. But the folk I work for aren't like that: they just don't want anyone with baggage. I try to keep my baggage separate.
Tonight I tried to comment on Potlatch and found that this was the new understrap of the blog
So I pressed 'more' and got this:
I used the drop down box which gave me the opportunity to sign in using Twitter or Google and lots of other options as well as Facebook - or to registered with Typepad using the same spread of options - but all of them reverted to my real identity, presumably picking up on my registrations under other platforms. I suspect there must be a way to make some comment on Potlatch's blog as Charlie McMenamin but, blimey, its not obvious and its very, very hard to find.
Now, I suspect Potlatch can live with the pain of not reading my response to his post. To be frank, I've already forgotten what I was going to say anyway*. But this has been a mildly sobering moment for me - all that stuff about the disappearance of privacy suddenly came home to roost.
Small stuff, perhaps. But then my impact on the internet world has been precisely small stuff. I just want the space to do it privately.
* But, hey, Will, for the record, I'm a big admirer of your style of writing and width of reading. But a sentence like,"A perceived virtue of neo-classical economics, as a tool for public decision-making, is its simplicity." really won't do, at least not without expansion. Neo-classical economics' 'simplicity' is shrouded in Maths which most of us find very, very complicated. Perhaps it is there to disguise the underlying simplicity?