I’ll Show You Mine, If …Nah, Forget It

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Please enjoy the following guest post from author Kimberlee Thompson. Kim is a fiction writer and Poet with a sophisticated wit. She lives in the North East and is a contributing author of First Thursdays, a collection of short stories by member of the writer’s group Somerset Ink.

 

My birthday? 1/1/1900.  Or is it 2000?  I live at 123 Main Street.  My mother’s maiden name is Jones; my first pet’s name was Spot.  My birthplace was Intercourse, PA and I attended Sweet Valley High.

English: First 4 digits of a credit card

English: First 4 digits of a credit card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I enjoy writing and reading fiction…except when I’m in a virtual stick-up.  Online, I’m repeatedly told to hand over my info if I want coupons, access to a site, or to establish my identity as an author.

My personal information is all over the web already, since I pay my credit cards online and grab my bank statements off the net.  I console myself that if anything happens to my bank account or credit card, the financial institution will make it right.  Plus, I assume – hope – that they have a higher level of security than, say, a liquor site that wants my birthday before I can see a new drink recipe.  And you can bet that Don Julio is not getting my real digits!  As long as I’m 21 in his electronic eyes, I’m in.

I enter fake birthdays and names all over the worldwide web.  My info doesn’t need to travel where I do.  But even this is difficult for me.  I don’t lie about my age in person, but online, I invariably make myself younger.  Not by much, but hey, I’m not going to get older just for anonymity’s sake.  So now I’m lying about my age, too.

Then it gets worse.  Facebook?  Millions provide it with free content.  Any tragedy that strikes, there will be a file photo of the victim, courtesy of guess who.  Not to mention the gigantic time suck.  I could be doing laundry instead of posting pictures for people who only want me to look at their stuff, anyway.  I could be reading.  A book.  Not daily ephemera and self-promo.

I read all over how I’m supposed to have a platform, an online identity, as a writer.  Don’t we write fiction to walk in others’ shoes?  So why all the personal info posted willy-nilly?  I feel like I’m dumping the contents of my wallet on a scanner and posting the copy for anyone who needs to scam me.  Or just plain ol’ violate my privacy.

I’m not sure how to reconcile my craving for privacy with the marketplace’s appetite for self-promotion.  How do others honor their integrity and protect themselves while displaying information that most folks kept to themselves until recently?

Oh, but I don’t want to write under a pseudonym, either.  I would like my writing to wear my name. I just don’t think anyone else needs to know my mother’s true maiden name to make my fiction worth reading.  By the way, her name was Smith.

I hope you enjoyed Kim’s contribution and find it fosters the flow of some fresh creativity.  Please feel free to comment on what Kim had to share and ask her any questions you may have. 

Look for future guest posts from Kim and more of my favorite writers here at Writer’s Block.

 

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5 responses »

  1. This is a very hot button topic Kim. I strongly doubt you are alone in your angst. I am turned off by many sites, online conversations and phone apps. because of personal information requests. No one needs my full name, date of birth, address and phone number to hear my opinion on any blog topic, critique or thread comment.

    I myself meet with resistance all the time to requests for readers to visit Writer’s Block or leave reviews for my book online because of not wanting to register with a site in order to do it. I don’t blame them. But what are we to do? Fighting seems futile. I like your strategy of giving false and slightly skewed info.

  2. Aliases are nothing knew in my family. Coming from another country, their names got shortened, chopped up or chaged to fit in with America. From there they choose their own nicknames. I was in my late teens when a summons for jury duty for my mother was addressed to Phillippa. Well, my mom’s name was Vivian and people called her Viv or Fifvi. When I asked her why, she said it was a nice name and thought it suited her better. What amazes me is that individual’s clamor for the right to privacy and then they bombard us with what their freedom of speech into telling of their private lives. I stay away from the social media. If there’s something I want you to know about me, I’ll tell you.
    Like your idea about name, date changes. If you need a few aliases, call me – I have a book full.

  3. I have had to use so many pseudonyms that I need to search online for my real identity. Oh well, it really doesn’t matter because today scanners can lift my personal information remotely from my pocket. The key is to max out your credit cards. This serves a dual purpose;if someone steals your identity it is worthless to them and it forces you to complete your book and get it published so you can pay the cards off.

  4. Kim Thomson’s humor is wry, with a touch of sarcasm, and a large dose of reality. While reading this piece I smiled from the first word to the last. Ms. Thompson’s originality jumps off the page (I meant the screen). She has the ability to find the absurdity in the nonsenseical rules and regulations an online writer must succumb to.

    In our overly regulated world, a reality check is much needed.

  5. I laughed to myself as I read Kim’s article. She hit it right on the head. Her writing makes you sit up and take notice.

    My husband does have an account on face book, but only so we can check to see what is going on with our son and Daughter-in-law and our new twin grand baby girls out in California. I do get a headache as I scroll down and peek to see what people have posted and then I say enough of this.

    Yes, I would much rather be writing or reading a book or going for a walk. There’s not enough time for me to do what I want as it is so I must pick and choose what is important to me.

    As far as all this identity regulation stuff—As my husband says- to have your driver’s license renewed they need all these documents, but when they needed him to go to Viet Nam, they sure as hell knew who he was and how to get a hold of him!!!!

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