User 591,003 of 250 million

So it turns out that Joe is reading. :-) The back and forth we've had over Twitter and through the post I just linked his name to brought to mind a couple things:

One is that I still have my private Twitter account from when I first joined in January 2007, back when Twitter was just a website with a text entry box following the question "What are you doing?", and I found it kind of creepy. I didn't want to announce what I was doing all the time, and I already had a micro-blog I called 255 Characters or Less (yes, I know it's fewer; I was using the vernacular!) where I wrote random thoughts that were short enough to fit in a pager message, so it didn't occur to me to post those thoughts in answer to the What are you doing? query. So I kept the account private, and over time used it as a place to share thoughts with people I actually knew in person, not just anyone who had a web browser.

In late 2008 I took a position that involved some developer evangelism, which required me to have a more public presence on Twitter. I didn't want to open up the private account where I'd already shared some personal stuff, so I created an account specifically for my professional persona and prepended my original Twitter handle with the name of the company. When I left that company a year later after learning that the startup culture wasn't really for me (nor was working remotely anymore), I renamed the account @wwlorihc—whateverwhateverlorihc—because I couldn't think what else to call it, and I didn't have another gig lined up yet.

That account has continued to be my public persona, and as Twitter evolved to be the micro-blogging platform that I'd been wanting when I started 255 Characters or Less, I stopped posting to that and started posting more frequently to @wwlorihc. The original account still exists, though, and I kind of wish I could merge my identities and just be the @lorihc I've been known as pretty much everywhere since Adobe IT assigned that e-mail address to me post-Macromedia merger in January 2006. To do that, though, I'd have to make @lorihc public and refer all my current @wwlorihc followers to it, which I'm on the fence about, or explicitly shut down @lorihc and then rename @wwlorihc to @lorihc, which feels kind of risky (though I might just be having domain squatting flashbacks).

Anyway, the reason I thought of the two-Twitter-account dilemma in conjunction with Joe (@artlung, btw) is because [a] he started the conversation about my blog post on the private Twitter account, and I had to remember how to log into that account from the Twitter app after a recent phone upgrade, and [b] his post in response to mine got into the issue of privacy and oversharing ("I begin to wonder about what information we allow to disseminate inside private entities and to our friends and not-friends").

Which brings me to Thing #2: An article in (on?) Quartz called Read what happens when a bunch of over-30s find out how Millennials handle their money. I highly recommend it, despite its link bait-style title; it's fast and funny, and I will wait while you read it.

OK, done? I am older than the Venmo line, fwiw, and I believe Joe is too, which may explain our discomfort with sharing too much personal information despite having been early adopters of that original medium of Internet oversharing, blogging. (I suspect we were both denizens of Usenet and other Internet media before blogging was A Thing—and way before not blogging was A Thing—though I don't remember sharing a lot of personal information that way... unless you consider the best bike routes to ride around Washington, DC or the fact that I was searching for a copy of The Jon Butcher Axis' first album to replace the one my former roommate's boyfriend maybe-accidentally stole to be personally-identifying info, or PII as it's known around my current workplace.)

Which, speaking of my workplace, where we were talking this morning about the tremendous amount of "reporting" that gets done around here without actually delivering any great insights or action items, brings me to another thought: Maybe soon we will all be drowning in so much data—maybe we already are drowning in all this data we've been creating with our posting and liking and online shopping and banking and Facebooking and tweeting and whatnot—that we may regain some anonymity. It probably won't erase my reluctance to let go of a Twitter account that's older than 99.966% all other Twitter accounts, though; it's my one shot at relative FIRST! fame. ;-)

Posted by Lori in privacy at 12:36 PM on January 8, 2015