Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Adventures of Large Ass and Small Child

I never read a blog before I started writing one.  In retrospect, that may have been a mistake.  Because once I started reading them, I noticed that many bloggers use pseudonyms for themselves and/or their children.  Oops.  I freely use my real first and last name, and Audrey is my daughter's real name.  She does have a different last name than me, so give me some credit.

Bloggers pseudonyminize (yeah, it's a word) their blogs to varying degrees.  Some use their own name, but give their children pseudonyms...you can't swing a dead cat in the blogosphere without hitting a Peanut or a Little Dude.  Some post pictures of their kids, and some don't.  Some are entirely anonymized (also a word), with pseudonyms for the author and everyone else in their lives and no pictures of anyone.  I assume that these bloggers are in the Witness Protection Program.

Back in the early days of my blog (a whole 3 months ago), I came across a discussion in a forum that debated this very topic.  Here are some of the arguments that were presented by the staunch anonymizers:

Freaks that troll the internet will find your kid based on the pictures you've posted, and lure them in by knowing their name.
First off, no one is coming after your kid.  Geez.  And if all it took was knowing a kid's name, all a child-snatcher would have to do is yell "Hey, Emily!" at a group of girls and someone would turn their head.  For boys, just muffle the first consonant of Aidan and you've got Braden, Caden, Jaden, and Hayden covered, which is like 90% of them.  Frankly if this happened to Audrey, I would have to stifle my initial reaction which would be "Hurray!  She answered to her name!!"

You don't want future employers to be able to find embarrassing stuff about them...remember, the Internet is forever.
I can't get past the thought of Audrey having a prospective employer.  Woo hoo!  I did good!  Unless one of the job requirements is that she perform a flawless Hokey Pokey, I think we're OK.  Anyway, by the time that Audrey hits the job market, I'm convinced that autism will be considered a big plus.  People will be playing it up on their resumes as much as if they were valedictorian, because it will mean that they can do readin', writin', and 'rithmetic which will be more than you can say for all of the poor unfortunate typical kids that are the products of our dying educational system.

And anyway, the internet is not really forever.  I don't know what blog program you're using, but mine has a big fat Delete button for each post.  Didn't the mother of all mother bloggers, Dooce, purge her blog of all her early rants against the Mormon church so that they wouldn't assassinate excommunicate her?

You shouldn't overexpose your children.
Who are you, Angelina Jolie?  We've all got like 12 readers apiece.  Get over yourself.

It's not fair to your kids to violate their privacy when they don't have a say in the matter.
OK, so this one does hit home.  Buzzkill.  The situation that gives me the most pause is thinking of Audrey in a few years when she is (hopefully) mainstreamed into general ed and the kids are past the Kumbaya phase of childhood and start going at each other Lord of the Flies-style.  Which is probably not as far away as I think.  Could a future classmate find this blog and use some of the content against her?  Sure, it could happen.  Do I have the mental faculties to think beyond one hour from now let alone 3 years from now?  No, not even on a good day. 

Of course, the first time that I even get a whiff of anything like that happening, I would yank this baby down like a prom dress.  My fantasy is that Audrey would then start her own blog called, "Typical Classmates That Are Douchebags" where we could post pictures of her tormentors with accompanying stories and personal nuggets about them.  But more likely, she'll start a blog called "Let's See How You Like It, Mom" where she makes like The Hoff's daughter and posts embarrassing videos of me...

47 comments:

  1. Heh, imagine my situation, my real name is my url, it even has a .name on it!
    Anyway, yeah, I'm not worried about it. People tend to get a tad paranoid... at the same time, they flatter themselves. Seriously, how important are these people that they think there are people out there hoping to find them?

    Anyway, Cameron may get a tad embarrassed at the things I write about him, but I'd hope that some day he'll join me in continuing to tell our stories, to help encourage and inform others and support the autism community just as I'm doing now.

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  2. Another post that has me seriously laughing out loud.

    The first argument reminded me of when I was on the phone with Lands End ordering Brian's backpack for school. I wanted "Brian" to be monogrammed on it- the "backpack consultant" told me they did not recommend putting first names on young childrens' bags because it could be dangerous- a stranger could say their name and they could go with them. I laughed. She probably thought I was crazy. But honestly, no way would he ever react if someone said his name, he'd SCREAM his bloody guts out if a stranger tried to take him, and I was just psyched that he'd know which bag was his because he could find his name. Eh.

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  3. I agree with you 100 percent on all points! I don't mention my daughter's name, just because I think she's entitled to some privacy. But for now, I really enjoy blogging, and I'm glad you do too!

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  4. Since "Big Daddy" is the name my mother gave me at birth, I can't relate to any of this. Actually, this post hit on a lot of the stuff I worried about as I launched my blog. Great perspective. I feel much better about exposing my son's love of Wilford Brimley now.

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  5. My blog is semi-anonymous but only because we have a mentally ill family member not safe around kids. All identifying aspects of names and where we live have been changed, since that's all she's savvy enough to know what to look for.

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  6. "yank this baby down like a prom dress"... LOL!!

    Me, I've gone with the pseudonyms. Things aren't quite as delete-able as all that... for one thing, there's the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/web/web.php) that takes snapshots of sites and preserves them for posterity. Also, anyone who reads your blog in a reader (like I do) will have all the old posts whether you pulled them down or not.

    But everybody goes with their own comfort level! One nice thing about using your real name is that if you ever want your blog-life to cross into the world of print publication, you don't have to decide whether or not to "out" yourself.

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  7. OK, so JoyMama has set me straight on the delete button. Good news: I checked and I'm not yet there in the Wayback Machine, so it's not too late for me to convert. Bad news: I can't find the Dooce anti-Mormon rants either.

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  8. Oh my, you are SO funny!! I have to admit I don't use my children's names...don't know why really but I share their stories, that's for sure!

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  9. It's funny that you would write this post today of all days. In my page button "What about be?" (done yesterday) I wrote my kids names. They are all adults but I still like to say/write their names. But as I was falling asleep I though about they're not being happy about it. So I'm going to give them all funky names. Sort of like porn names without the porn ~ yuk, they are my kids after all.

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  10. We have all our first and last names on the blog because when I first started this blog, it was only for family and close friends, not searchable. We don't say where we live, just in what part of the US, and that makes us feel safe enough. Now I think about changing the blog's name, but I'm too lazy. Thank you for cracking me up... and giving me a dose of common sense!

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  11. It just occurred to me yesterday that I should give Max a pseudonym since everyone else seems to do so. However, then I realized I'd probably call him something like "Screamy" or "Poop Machine" and I guess that doesn't save him from future embarrassment either.

    While I'm not going and giving out my address, I don't think I'll ever be popular enough to worried about the family's privacy.

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  12. That's funny & a great way to look at it. I did the same thing as you ~ started a blog without really reading others. I have wondered if I would be more open & perhaps even more creative if I had used a pseudonym.

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  13. Funny stuff! I'm just finding your blog today. I've been blogging a whole week now, and I never read any before either. I use all our real names, but have cleared it with the family first. We've been pretty "out there" with our ASD stuff anyway.

    Again, super funny. :-)

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  14. Love it!! Owen can have a blog called "Hearing Kids Are Ass Holes".

    My old blog used my real name and the real names of my family. One day Owen started reading it... really READING it. F-bomb and everything.

    I went sort of anonymous to keep it away from him mostly... but then again I think I was just bored and loved the idea of dicking around with a new blog.

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  15. I LOVEYOURBLOGANDIMUSTSHOUTITOUT
    u r priceless Lynn Hudoba and a pleasure to read
    I love d the exposure comment especially

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  16. I love this post, and I had the same thought about my son my answering to his name! Originally, I did not use a pseudonym for my kids. Once he got into early intervention and school, I decided to start using one. Just seemed the thing to do. But anyone who has seen me on facebook knows his real name, so I haven't really made too much of an effort, I guess.

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  17. I'm with you, girl! (Yes, Butterfly is really her name.) But I have changed the names of others on my blog so they don't either try to sue me, or ask for payment of some kind for mentioning them, like they're celebs or something. But hey, if one of my 3 followers comes after Butterfly because they saw her picture on my blog and they know her name, I suspect they'll find they've bitten off a tad more than they can chew. (Although you might actually get yourself a willing babysitter for Audrey because she reads your blog too.) :)

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  18. I think one of the "endearing" things about so many children with Autism, and my guess is this extends into thier tween, maybe even teen years.....is that they are REALLY HARD to embarrass! Lynn, have you seen how Grace Anne dresses for school? As soon as she gets on the bus she switches her head band from "Alice style" to "Ralph Macchio style." She insists on wearing only tank tops and as you know, is built like JJ Walker. (DYNOMITE!) And some days I have to wonder if she really has lost something up inside her nose. Um Yeah, I think I'm OK for a while.

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  19. Which one are you? Large Ass or Small Child? We'd be bad attitude and badder attitude.

    For the first year of blogging I actually used my bird's name, but then it was really just friends and family reading it. But then the "others" starting following along, too. That's when I went back and gave her the moniker that I've actually always used with her anyway. It's good to keep a little anonymity. I mean, you're not giving your address out here, are you? Are you? If so, I'm thinking of coming to your town in a few weeks. Coffee? Tea? Vodka?

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  20. Awesome. I, too, completely failed to follow protocol of disguising our family with a series of mafioso nicknames like Sticky Fingers and Lefty.

    I had a relative gasp in shock when I first wrote about Billy's autism: "What will he THINK when he's older and reads these things about himself? He might be EMBARRASSED."

    And, just like you, I thought, "Woo-Hoo! People think there's a day when he'll be trolling the Internet and reading and expressing his embarrassment." The fact that he would FEEL embarrassment, crazy as that sounds, would be a milestone, because at the moment, he's perfectly happy stripping naked in Petsmart if he's hot.

    Keep it up. And keep it up exactly as you're doing it. You make me laugh out loud with every post.

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  21. Thanks for a rational approach to something that has too many people's knickers in a knot. People tend to forget the internet is also supposed to be fun. As has been said elsewhere regarding people who worry about what others might think, "you are just not that important".
    :P

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  22. Hard to pick a favorite from all your fabulous posts, but this one is right up there for me! Laugh out loud funny.

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  23. Oh my gosh, this was so funny! I love it!

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  24. Do you hear that? A big sigh of relief. I have struggled with this one for a long time. My son was in an Autism magazine a year ago and my husband didn't even like that because of what it could mean in his future. But since I call the shots...

    Anyway, knowing that you stand proud to have your name and pics on your blog makes me feel safe and secure. Funny how that's all it takes isn't it?

    My though, if someone really wants to know about us, all they need to do is look. Even without my blog, "they" would find us! It's on Facebook, and about 5 billion other places.

    And I'll tell you right now, go ahead, steal our identity or whatever you want. Cuz guess what, you're gonna get a credit history with a short sale on a house, and about $20,000 in credit card debt and college loans. Yeah, good luck with that!

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  25. This is priceless. Just like you, I had no idea we were supposed to pick fun nicknames. I quite like the names that I gave my kids...ya know? I figure I'm going to embarrass them enough in their teen years, why not get them used to it now, right? Though if I had it all to do over again, I'd have shed the Jennifer-derivative I've been stuck with for so long.

    What a great post! Thanks for the smile late this Friday afternoon.

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  26. Thanks for the laugh after a long day of work. I, too, neglected to think about trying to disguise the details of our family--the lack of pics is only because I am too lazy or tired to take any.

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  27. Wow, I've been missing out - so glad you left your link on Mom Loop Comment Follow! I've never understood the annemities ennemies menninins - you know what I mean! and spell checker does to but then I wouldn't have had a giggle.

    Oh and even if you were on the Wayback Machine - that's not as permanent as people think - There was a popular knitting site that decided to disappear from one day to the next and as soon as the site came down the stuff on the Wayback Machine started disappearing also - to a lot of knitters dismay!

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  28. I think human nature would cause the wackos to hunt you down and expose you if you didn't want to reveal your identity. (They are looking for where you live right now - you sort of dared them.) Letting it all hang out spoils the wackos's fun.

    I can still find the websites that I created when we moved to this third world country 9 years ago and haven't use the internet provider in 7 years. If you bookmark it, it is rare to disappear. But on the bright side, this may seem pretty tame for what is to come.

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  29. Your second to last comment re: Angelina had me ROFLMAO!!! I use a name and terms for my sons-- but was juts a choice when trying to sep the me that blogs vs the real me that writes a biz blog at times.

    ps- BF FF visit

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  30. Know why I pseudo..pseu.. gave my kid a fake name, okay it's not a name... But the reason I called him The Boy is because that's what my husband affectionately calls him. Also, I was always worried about the local school board, should we decide to enroll the little guy. Here I go on and on and on about his struggles but I'll go to the board some day and say, "of course he should be mainstreamed! He's as capable as the next" and if any wiseass decided to search my kid's name I never wanted them to find it, at least not with me complaining how he won't hold a pencil or do anything I ask him to. Anyway, that's how come. :)

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  31. Thanks for this post. I run those same questions through my head all the time. And it's the last one that trips me up as well. Will be interesting to see how our children react to our blogs as the years go on.

    Following from Mom Loop.

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  32. I truly admire the way you are able to find humor in everything, and to appreciate your daughter's struggles. Cheers! Following from Mom Loop.

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  33. Great post-I have a lot of the same worries and I actually have my son's name in the title of my blog! At this point I don't have much of a following though...

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  34. Amazing how easy it is to have illusions of grandeur! I love the part about being excited if your child answers to her name.

    I started out with fake names but eventually gave up on that - it was too much of a pain and I can barely pick up my "Little Guy" anymore so it doesn't make much sense.

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  35. You are so funny! Yes - have changed the names of my kids, only because my husband made me! lol! He said he wants a little privacy! Who know how this will last! Glad I found your blog on BF -FF!
    Heather
    I have a new blog: MomCents.com - Let me know what you think!

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  36. i have no problem with real names, first and last, real photos etc...

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  37. OMG this post is so funny! Love it. I'm pretty new to blogging also and I felt like if I used my son's real name people were going to freak out. But I feel the same as you do pretty much. I will have to link back to this post next time someone gets into a debate with me on this topic.

    Oh and I'm here from the Follow Me Chickadee hop so Hi, nice to meet you. I'm your newest follower, you can make that number 13 now. =) Check out my blog when you get a chance. www.WordyOwl.blogspot.com
    Carly (and that is my real name)

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  38. Hi! Just came across this post.

    I guess I'm one of those people who values complete anonymity - no real names, no photos of my partner or kids. I look at it the same way as my real-life possessions: While I'm certain I don't have anything that anyone would want to steal, that doesn't mean I'm not going to lock up my house and car. :-) It's all about aggregate risk. I take necessary precautions while being fully aware that if someone really wants the information, they'll probably find it.

    (I've also grown up around computers, my dad was an IT tech, and we were taught early on that anything you put out there is out there "forever". Seriously. There are ways of finding just about anything that's ever been distributed, Wayback Machine or no. Just sayin..)

    BTW, @Aimee & @Amanda Broadfoot, if you're under the impression that autistic teenagers are impossible to embarrass, I'd be happy to introduce you to my mom! She can tell you all kinds of stories about mortifying ME (said autistic person) at that age. ;-) And I'm already craftily planning ways to pass it on to my own (spectrum-dweller) son. hehe.

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  39. This is a brilliant post! Just popped in from Blog Gems and I'm really glad I did! I also use real names and photos of my lovely husband and son... I guess I don't have much to hide...

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  40. Lol! I was much the same (although minus children), I do have times where I wish I was anonymous now and have yoinked a few posts down that could have breached others' privacy, but at the same time I think that by being uber paranoid we just sound stupid! 90% (or more) of people are just normal, nice folks who want to read a blog!
    (p.s. I'm from Blog Gems too!)

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  41. I don't use real names for my children, but I use my own real name and post photos. I watermark the photos so that nobody else can use them. I reckon that by the time they are grown up enough to worry about me blogging about them they won't be recongizable by baby photographs anyway :D Jen

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  42. Hahaha - just found this entry. Your first point made milk come out of my nose. Yeah, I'm pretty sure if a stalker found Nate, called his name, and he responded, I'd throw Nate a parade for acknowledging his own name. We just started blogging about Nate last night. I have some friends who are bloggers (really, amazingly popular bloggers with book deals) and they started out using pseudonyms for their tots' names and now we've all just come around to the real deal. Just keep things general (i.e. don't post your home address and where you are every five minutes) and it will all work out fine. So so glad you're blogging. You've made this scary time for our family much, much easier!

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  43. Hi, found you on SITS (I am in the UK)You have really made me laugh today, thank you :-)
    I change names of my friends and strangers/acquaintances I describe rather than attribute identities i.e. 'Welsh Woman on the common' or 'the two moody ladies' 'Purple lady' (you will have to read my blog to understand that). But children - well, mine are adults now and I have two grandchildren (babies) I am not too cagey about naming any of them. They enjoy the notoriety I think.

    In the nineties I wrote both an online column and a column for a printed US magazine which was read by thousands (so they told me). For that I was more careful as it was all new to me and my columns referenced: eldest daughter/fifth child/Superman etc. (My dog wrote the printed column and she referenced me as 'The Boss' and my husband as , 'The Dave Man'. Yes, that is his name.
    I see it a bit liker taking the dogs to the woods on my own - I do it because I think I should be able to but I am a little careful because, well, you just never know! Looking forward to reading more ;-)

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  44. LOL!!! I agree....And I, first of all, only wrote a handful of blogs and can't find time anymore. So I only have 2 followers....my daughter and my cousin. Also, I had a hard time coming up with my kids REAL names. Coming up with fake ones is just overwhelming to me :)

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  45. Ha! I just found out, from reading your comments, that not only is my pseudonym for my child unimaginative, but so is the reason that I chose it. Out of the 45 comments to this post, one reader has the same pseudonym (The Boy) because that what she and her husband call their child. Well, what can I say. He's The Boy to us, so he can be The Boy to the world. I'm not really worried about privacy since I just started blogging and I doubt that I will ever end up with an army (pun intended) of followers. I just feel better with a little anonymity

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