I remember how, throughout the 90s, when the range and number of online communities and networks started to grow, I tried to maintain separate personae on each network, even down to the level of different usernames on different bulletin boards. I can remember quite clearly when I decided to stop doing that, but I can’t remember why I thought it sensible to maintain different usernames, personae etc. in the first place. I think it just seemed like what one was supposed to do – and perhaps I was more the digital “visitor”, rather than “resident”in those days. I wonder if perhaps it was the transition from visitor to resident that triggered this change in my approach to it all.
Nowadays, to a large extent and insofar as this is actually meaningful, I am just “myself” in social networks and the like – any difference in behaviour will be largely unconscious.
I do wonder if I may come to regret the degree to which I do not bother to protect my privacy. Even now, there have been people who have ‘found’ me on Facebook, where I might have rather that they hadn’t. But that’s a small inconvenience to me – like you, I appreciate that I have a certain privileged position which allows me to do this. I also have a degree of confidence with these things which not everyone shares.
Anyway – it’s interesting to reflect on these things – especially since we can remember the beginnings of much it 😉