Appropos of my last comment . . . UNDERGRADS I NEED YOU

So I podcast (for free!) NPR’s “talk of the nation” and listen to it while I balance my checkbook, drive around, etc.  I was listening to last Friday’s episode (3/21/08) in which the second story is about web privacy.  It started with the story about the breach of privacy with the state dept officials who looked at Obama, Clinton, and Mccain’s passport records, but, it went on to talk about web privacy generally. 

Let me tell you some stories:  On this site, I often mention research by other prominent scholars.  When I do, I ALWAYS email them and say, I am talking about your book/article on my blog; please come over and comment and discuss.  I then give them passwords and DETAILED instructions.  They always email me back (after reading the entry), say something REALLY blinking interesting about it (which I wish you could all read), but decline my “kind invitation to blog.” 

Sometimes they say it is because they think they do not have time (of course, none of us has time — this is just a fun way to be in conversation with some of our friends — it is not supposed to be work) or they say they don’t want to be “on the record” about something.  even if it is their own research!!  In some cases their career of research.

Now, I am willing to consider the possibility that my blog just kinda sucks.   But that is not really the thing.  The thing is, they think this will make them less than anonymous.  I kinda think none of us are anonymous.  One of the moments I discovered this was when I was posting (primarily on scatterplot) under some fake names (not fake like I was posting as Hilary Clinton or anything, but cutsie names).  Then, I went to lunch with someone else on scatterplot and said, “can you guess who I am?” (I meant, since you know me, can you guess who I am from what I say?”) and this person said, ‘”oh yes, I can reverse engineer who anyone is.”

Right then I signed up as laurabethnielsen on the assumption (correct I think) that there is no such thing as anonymous anymore.  And not just for Brittney Spears; for all of us. 

Now, I am not going to put my social security number on here.  Or, god forbid my cell number, but I assume many of you could find it with a credit card and 10 minutes of your time. 

On this NPR show, someone suggested that since “kids” post all kids of stuff on Facebook (or insert alternative here), we should have laws against discrimination based on what people put on there.


That’s kooky.  But what do you guys think?  So I assume no privacy.  You will know about me, my kids, my wacky/bawdy sense of humor (the comment in the last thread).  Will that mean I won’t be the President?  Probably (but for other reasons too).  President/Provost/dean of a University?  I hope not because I could be good at that (I think).  But that’s me.  You ask me what you should say to President Clinton, you are gonna get a sex joke.  Sorry (except that i am not really sorry — that’s me!!) 


3 Responses to Appropos of my last comment . . . UNDERGRADS I NEED YOU

  1. lbsmom says:

    Ever since you worked for Chuck, I’ve thought you’d be good as the head of a big organization.

  2. vickywoeste says:

    LB, do you think part of it has to do with the fact that blogging may not be rewarded in the same way that academic institutions reward other forms of publishing? Or that people worry about how what they say in these more or less spontaneous and unedited fora may come back to haunt them later? Or that any idiot can, theoretically, engage them and they really are introverts at heart? Or that they’re snobs and they wish they had their own blogs?

    I think you could run a big organization, too, but what I’ve always been struck by is your ability to walk into a big group and immediately get elected to whatever is the equivalent of our Policy Committee at the ABF. So I think you could run for office. . . . .

  3. dspett says:

    I think we all worry about what comes up when you google our names. Even anonymous comments online aren’t truly anonymous — IP addresses can often be traced back to their owners. Your blog does not suck, and I think a lot of us have opinions we’d love to share, we just worry about who’s going to read them and what they might read between the lines. You know?

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