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December 09, 2005

Internet Privacy: Hiding in Plain Sight

Some of my friends have asked if I feel creepy having so many strangers looking at our blog.

I thought about this question as Gwen and I walked through the mall this morning. Several hundred people probably saw us. Most just kept walking but some smiled and a few actually said "Hello". This isn't unlike the people who see our blog (we've averaged about 170 hits per day since we started the blog).

We share some pretty personal stuff here but we don't share *everything*. For example, we don't mention our last name or our address or our phone number. We don't link to our private home website or the personal websites of our friends. We know this might seem over-cautious to some people but we like this level of privacy and we feel like it's sufficient to protect us.

Blogging is a wonderful way to reach through cyber space and embrace other people who are experiencing a similar journey but let's be honest -- This is a very filtered view of our life. Yes, strangers can see us but it's more private than being at the mall where strangers can see us in person. Or, even worse, being in our own front yard where strangers can not only see who we are but can also see where we live and could (I suppose) figure out a way to hurt us if they really wanted to. And, unlike the folks who see us when we're at Safeway squeezing cantaloupe, the vast majority of people who visit this blog are those who find it because of searches related to adoption. Yes, some of those people have turned out to be pretty weird but we still feel safe here.

Blogger has millions of blogs and even though we're in plain sight, we're much like the pebbles on the beach because we're visible to anyone who knows, specifically, where to look for us but pretty much invisible to everyone else. I've thought about moving to another blog service and putting a password up but I'm comfortable here and I feel like I'm among friends.

I've heard Blogger may soon offer a low fee premium service with optional password gate but I don't think I would use it. Would you?

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