“Shall We Talk About Our Privates?”

Posted: July 10, 2014 in Guest Blogged!
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Unless it occurs in a conversation between two Army officers, that’s a rather personal question.  But I am here to get personal today, so that is all to the good.  It’s Matt, the firsty, guest-blogging for Emily to determine and discuss our privacy policy for this blog.  I never set a formal privacy policy for SL Time Well Wasted when I started; it didn’t seem necessary since Emily, as real as she is to me, is nevertheless a fictional individual by most conventional standards.

"Fictional by conventional standards? Good thing that I don't do standard or conventional…."

“Fictional by conventional standards?
Good thing that I don’t do standard or conventional….”

There’s an old saying, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”  Apparently the same is also true of Second Life.  Regardless of what I may have intended when I started blogging and of what I may hope for in the future, this blog has evolved into what I imagine as a pseudo-autobiographical memoir.  There is a curious mix of Emily and myself, of fiction and reality and abstraction, that all swirls together into this blog.  Enough me and enough reality flows into the mix that I finally decided I need to figure out my thoughts on privacy.  One of the benefits I’ve found to blogging is that blogging helps me clear and frame my thoughts.  As an added bonus, there is something deliciously self-referential about a blog entry about what is acceptable and not acceptable in blog entries.

The primary reason I began blogging anonymously was to insulate my Second Life and real world existences from each other.  I wouldn’t want either life to get blowback from the other.  When I began on Second Life, before I even had a blog, I was more concerned about protecting Emily from being outed as Matt than vice versa.  As a general rule of thumb, the guy with a female avatar is best-case socially awkward and worst-case a pervert.  Even though I viewed myself as an exception to to that stereotype, I felt it would be easier for my fake persona to find real social relationships (yes, I recognize the irony…) if I just ignored the issue like it wasn’t there.  As I’ve blogged longer, the pendulum of my concern has swung.  I think my close social circle accepts that I tend to follow my own path with little regard, and even less awareness, for societal convention.  I would rather not be judged for Emily, however, by those who only know the general assumption and not my specific details and nuances.  Particularly if that someone is a potential employer or a literary agent…  Then there are the usual protect-myself-from-crime concerns- just having a blog introduces some new risk and new ways of being a victim, but I want to minimize those.  Finally, my writing reveals many of my opinions, beliefs, and attitudes.  Someone who is offended by my opinions or disagrees with my beliefs or doesn’t like my attitude may feel the need to retaliate in some way, and quite frankly, I would rather they didn’t.

"This used to be my playground… oh. wait, it still is!"

“This used to be my playground… oh. wait, it still is!”

A little contemplation distilled my goals and what I generally do anyway into three rules for protecting my privacy:

  1. Don’t divulge any information that would be in a database.
  2. Change names to protect the innocent, and even more so to protect the guilty.
  3. Every so often, lie gratuitously.

I’m O.K. with people knowing that I live in southwestern Ohio, that I’m married, that I work two jobs and have ADD, facts that are general enough that they don’t help much to identify me.  Admitting my first name probably violated rule one, but Matt is such a common name that I’m still a needle in a haystack.  My middle and last name, any family member names, street address, e-mail address, etc. are all off-limits.  (As is my ATM pin, sillies!)  The anecdotes I share from my personal life are generally scrambled into a form that preserves the essence of the story but makes sense from Emily’s perspective.  (For example, my wife is the most important person in my life, so she is often present in my stories, in a cameo if not a starring role.  It doesn’t really make sense for Emily to talk about a wife, so my wife has been variously translated as a roommate, a coworker, and even an ex-boyfriend in some of Emily’s stories.)  Through transliteration of non-essential elements and the occasional blatant falsehood, I decrease the risk that people I know will recognize me or themselves within my stories if they should see my posts.

More importantly, taking a moment to think out my privacy policy gave me a better handle on what I can and can’t share about ‘Firsty, Jr.’  I will probably never fully overcome the poor impulse control that is characteristic with ADD.  Impending parenthood is the biggest challenge I’ve ever undertaken, and I am understandably excited and enthused about it- My impulse is to share everything, because this is so cool.  It is cool, and I will share… but this post was about taking the time to ensure I do so responsibly.

"Only Matt could make immaturity this much fun!"

“Only Matt could make immaturity this much fun!”

Last but not least, I need to fill out my style card for this post…

  • Unknown Sources… I actually don’t have much to report about the little girl shape, gothic skin, and green hair which were all from assorted freebie boxes.  And while I ditched Emily’s usual assortment of jewelry, piercings, and tattoos- generally not a little girl sort of thing to wear- I did let her keep one source unknown lip ring to be a gothy little girl.
  • Pinkmare Kidz… The outfit itself was ‘Widdle Gothy Me’ from the children’s line of Pinkmare’s House, the now closed goth/alternative store that probably did more than any other store to define Emily’s style.  The dark ruffled dress, striped socks, and the slippers with little ribboned skulls on them are all part of this outfit.  Darkly cute.  Is it wrong for me to admit that if my wife and I have a girl, I’ll probably be the one wanting to dress her all girly-girl and my wife will be encouraging her to be a jeans and t-shirt tomboy…

 

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Comments
  1. […] on the crazy hectic-ness going on here in First Life.  It’s been over three months since the last time I guest-blogged for Emily, so I figure I’m due.  And I’m really giving her the night off, even letting […]

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