Charles in Toronto

A public Internet presence

Well hello there, Internet

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Hi there!  I’ve decided to start a public-facing blog.

It’s not that I’ve never blogged before. I was all over the concept in the pre-Facebook era. I came up with a witty Internet nickname and posted countless ruminations on a certain blogging site that has now fallen quite out of favour. I don’t think it really counted as “public-facing” though – I didn’t make any effort to hide my identity, but over time my more public sentiments made their way to Facebook and Twitter. The old blog became a place where I’d occasionally write a friends-only entry, a safe haven from other much more exhibitionist social media sites.

I started this site because I already have a public presence on the Internet, but much of it was not my own doing. There are many things you will find out about me if you start digging around.

You will probably discover that I have studied and taught chemistry, posted a few messages on an analytical chemistry forum, and even participated in chemistry contests when I was in high school. You may uncover that I participate in an online genealogy web site, a personal finance blog and related forums, a linguistics blog, and a few different cell phone user forums. Even some of my high-school grades can be found online.

A perceptive researcher may also take note that my name is relatively unique. I was named after my great-grandfather. Aside from him, nobody on this Earth with the same first and last name as myself is a relative. I am pretty sure there are men with my name in Texas and California, both of an older generation. None of these men appear to have created public Internet presences for themselves.

The Internet will also tell you that I have been interviewed a few times for Xtra!, and that I’ve attended a number of queer events in Vancouver and Toronto. You might vaguely get a hint of my politics, and you may find that my sister once quoted me on an older political blog of hers.

Those who search more cleverly may also find a mishmash of less public-facing trails I’ve left behind me on servers far and wide across the globe. I have nothing to hide, but I chose to use handles in place of my name on those trails for a good reason – to give me some measure of control over how strongly that content is tied to my identity.

How does all this information represent me? Or better yet, how does it misrepresent me? Having graduated from UBC with my Master’s recently, I find myself facing the job market in an age where we are all accustomed to finding instant information about any topic at our fingertips. I’ve asked myself, if I had some control over the information you could find instantly about me, which choices would I make?

And so, I decided to start a public-facing blog.

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Written by Charles in Toronto

April 14, 2011 at 4:35 PM

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