Just a Tiny Bit of Thinkin’

O’Mama mentioned to me the other day that one of her current students, who happens to be one of my former students, asked her if she would reveal to him the address for this humble little blog.

She declined, of course; Mama knows I’m not in the business of advertising that I have this blog and, in fact, that I make a pretty big deal about NOT mentioning it within a three mile radius of TCC, so I’m not entirely sure how this young man (for whom I happen to have a very big soft spot, by the way) found out that I even keep a blog, but that’s neither here nor there.

I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days now, wondering just how difficult it would be for someone to track me down. Do you know what I found?!


I may has well have put up a frickin’ neon sign.

My students get two email addresses for me; the one the school issues that is linked to the portal (which is a PITA for me to access and often won’t allow me, as a Mac user, to download the attachments they send), and the email address that I also have linked.. wait for it.. to my blogs. Two seconds’ worth of thinking – and eight letters typed into a Google search window – would net the seeker the addresses to both my blogs AND several of my recent entries (not to mention my Flickr page and the mentions of me that are made in others’ blogs).

This boy is smart, clever, and charming, so why hasn’t he found me on his own already?!



Filed under funniness, the good ones

19 responses to “Just a Tiny Bit of Thinkin’

  1. One day I got this email from a guy named Bo. It said, Hi my friend thinks you are his teacher from XXX college. Are you?

    So… I promptly hid any and all posts that dealt with my work. I need to start another anonymous blog for those stories.

  2. BTW

    Your employer, students, or anyone can find this blog.

  3. Yeah, why are you allowing students, faculty members and employers access to an e-mail address that’s linked to something you don’t want them to see? For all that they’re unmotivated in class it’s entirely probably that students are already reading this and if they aren’t there’s no guarantee they won’t be soon.

  4. sphyrnatude

    no matter how well you try and hide, someone that knows what they are doing can find you. Start out by picking a name from the phone book. Do a google search. Start following links. Now, evaluate those links, pick a couple of common items, and do a search on those. Repeat.

    try googling (and alta vista, and other search engines) your name. You’ll be amazed at what comes up…

  5. Oh dear, I guess this is the edublogger’s biggest fear. I guess there is only that much we can do in order to remain anonymous. Apart from that we can only pray that the students are not as smart as we think. If I see how my students struggle to find information for a paper on the web though, I feel relieved.

  6. BTW

    Never post anything on a blog you would not want the world to see.

  7. Sphyrnatude is right: I’m not sure it’s possible to remain anonymous on the web.

    I’ve already been dooced once because of blogging, and I’m well aware of the dangers. I do evaluate everything I put here, though, against a series of standards and criteria (both ethical and practical) and, if a post doesn’t meet those standards, it doesn’t get published. Yes, I complain about my students, but I never, ever use their names (and, often, I’ll disguise their genders, too. If a student wants to admit to something I write being them, who am I to say otherwise – *I* certainly wouldn’t cop to some of the behavior I write about!) and I never, EVER disparage my coworkers (at TCC, I’ve never had reason to).

    Is it risky? You bet. Everything is, really. It’s a risk I’m willing to take, though, because putting my experiences here not only helps me to analyze them and integrate them into my life, but also offers me the benefit of all of YOUR insights and experiences. I’d be a much poorer person – and a much less effective and enthusiastic teacher – without you.

    It’s worth it.

  8. I get all that. I’m just saying, why are you choosing a minimum level of security/anonymity in a situation where you’ve already felt the sharp end of the stick? I just assumed that, for a blog where you’re actually quoting students, even if you don’t ID them (I mean, you aren’t changing identifying details, other teachers and students could certainly figure out easily who you’re talking about) that you were taking precautions to at least minimize the recognizability of your persona. It’s risky to quote kids in an unflattering way and in a public forum where people close to them, people who can affect (effect? crap!) their lives can deduce their identity. It makes me nervous every time you do it and it doesn’t have ANY consequences for me.

  9. So, now *I’M* doing a tiny bit of thinkin’. There’s really nothing I can do about the kids who already have the email that’s connected to my blogs, but I’ve opened a new account and informed them all of the change in address – I told them that the Mrs. Chili address is being disabled and they have to use the new one. Any subsequent students I have will not know the Mrs. Chili identity. It’s really all I can do.

  10. Yikes!! Seems to easy and definitely makes me wonder how easily I could be found…hmmm…

  11. I think it’s a start and a good thing. I think I might have gone the other direction – changed the e-mail associated with the blog, keeping it entirely separate and unknown to the community of TCC – but either way is a step in the right direction. The internet is a weird place, there are still a lot of potholes.

  12. While I was in Russia, one of my students “discovered” my personal blog. I was horrified to check my personal email account one day and found that one of my students commented on my personal blog.

    I guess I was naive and thought that the kids would NEVER find my personal blog.

    I set up my travel blog of Russia on Word Press instead of Blogger for that reason – I didn’t want the kids to find my personal blog.

    A lesson learned by the teacher! 😦

  13. Oh, love the new header too! 🙂

  14. sphyrnatude

    OK, for those of you that want some amount of untrace-ability:

    go open an email acount at something like google or MSN – use all fake info. they will require you (usually) to provide an email account to mail to for verification that you are a real person (and not a spambot). let the account sit for about 2 weeks, but log in every day or so just to make sure the account is still empty (not getting anything but spam).

    Now, go open ANOTHER email account, and use the last one as the “verification address”. As soon as you have got your second account activated, delete the first account (or simply ignore it, and it will self-delete in a few months).

    Repeat this as often as you feel you need to. The more times you do it, the more effort it will take to locate who you really are. Of course, never use your “hidden” account to email any of your real accounts.

    When you are satisfied that your new account is far enough removed from your real accounts, use it to set up a new blog (once again, never use a real email or blog in association with your new one).

    While you will still be somewhat traceable, it will be at a level that almost no colelge kids will be able to use. Of course, the more of yourself that you put into your new blog, the easier it will be to figure out that Mr. Frazzleblog is really you…..

  15. Well, this certainly seems like a good way to cover one’s tracks. I’m going to assume here, though, that most college kids (okay, most of the kids at MY college) are either too lazy or not quite bright enough to bother doing any of the legwork required to find me (they most often can’t be bothered to do their homework, so this really isn’t a stretch). Removing myself one step from the email address will help a lot, too.

    I’m not going to put to much more energy into worrying about it – I’ve never said anything that I wouldn’t have said in the real world – nor that I couldn’t back up with evidence, either – so I think I’m okay. I just have to trust….

  16. Organic Mama

    I eeked last semester when I accidentally emailed a student (fortunately one I could trust) from an email account associated with my blog. I have since disabled THAT account and now use a generically named gmail account forwarded to my main email account to get students’ email so I don’t have to tediously log into the school email portal. I think I haven’t been as careful as I must be and reading all of your comments here makes me realize that for all the effort I go to in order to remain anonymous, there IS no such thing as anonymous on the web unless one does some of the things Sphyrnatude suggests.
    Meanwhile I will try not to worry, as well.

  17. Yeah, my name and photo came off my blog fast.
    Just google my full name and it pops up.

    Last thing I need is some kid’s parent to see me calling them a “Worthless fuck toad” on my blog.

    Sooner or later I might migrate to a truly private blog, but not yet.
    Just not yet.


  18. BTW

    You say your kids are not bright enough to figure out you are from Peabody Mass?

  19. I’m FROM Peabody, BTW. I’m not currently IN Peabody…

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