Excerpt: Most of us lead compartmentalized lives. We go to work, we have great parties, we give our time to causes in the community, we have our sexual proclivities, we attend church (maybe only during holidays), we support certain political causes — and so on. The first rule of courtesy is to understand the place and time. You shouldn’t speak about your delight with new anal beads at work. You shouldn’t regale your family at brunch with endless details about a merger. You shouldn’t speak about your wild parties at church. And you would do well not to divide the room by mentioning religion or politics at a cocktail party. Real life allows us to keep the various facets that make us who we are separate so they do not cause discomfort to ourselves or others. This is for a variety of reasons, some dishonest, many not. It doesn’t make us dishonest to encompass our share of contradictions. It makes us human.

The problem with the web is that it largely began as a world separate from meatspace. Today, most people use their real names, but this wasn’t always the case. When I started going online in the mid-90s, no one even knew my gender. I preferred that, not because I was hiding, but because I feel very strongly that I should be judged by my thoughts, not who people assume I am by seeing I am a woman, by attaching a handful of preconceived notions to what I am saying because they see my photo and think I’m too young or too old or attractive or unattractive.

Being an intangible essence allowed me to be more myself than I’d ever been before. Posting on different niche boards enabled the level of frankness that we experience when we’re in a group of like-minded people with whom we can openly debate or discuss topics. But this is no longer how the web operates and the transition hasn’t been an easy one. In a world where employers can easily find out everything about you, where insurance companies can decide to give or deny coverage because they see some status update as representing a liability, where a judge at family court can take away your children because — God forbid — you had a photo taken at Playboy West some Halloween… It’s not a matter of the web exposing you. It’s a matter of no longer having the ability to segregate different aspects of your life as we were once easily able to do and the concern is entirely valid.
Safe for work. Minus the header image on the post featuring our editrix's naked body on a bed. It's in keeping with Google+'s nudity guidelines, though. It just may not be safe for work. You've been warned.
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