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Sarah Robicheau
Beta test for a stereotype of something that doesn't exist yet.
Beta test for a stereotype of something that doesn't exist yet.
Sarah's posts

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Amazing! And sad. But amazing!

Why I should have coffee in the morning before I'm allowed to write emails: China Mieville wrote a book called "Embassytown". You cannot just mash the two together into "Chinatown" and expect people to know you're talking about the same thing.

I often wonder what the shops next to the CrossFit box think about us. "It was a nice quiet neighborhood until those people started walking through the alleyway over and over, carrying all of those... things."
Had a short conversation with a lady throwing trash out behind the laundromat today on my way around the building for a kettlebell waiter's walk:

"Pantpant, hi, pant."
"How much does that weigh?"
"Eh, pant, 35 pounds."
"You crazy..."

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The sticky-note on my computer at work that gets me through life.

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A friend showed me this. Beautiful. I never got into encaustics, but art like this makes me wish I did. (It's like the grown-up version of the daycare project where you use old crayons to draw on paper that's heated on top of an electric griddle.)

I just cut my finger open on a telephone. How do I do these things?

Guacamole deviled eggs? Must try... two of my favorite things, together at last.

Saw a box of Van Gogh mangos, which seemed inappropriate for the following reason:

Starry starry fruit
Paint your palette red and orange
Damn it, nothing rhymes with orange
Starry starry fruit

It's been a day.

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This is an interesting take on the pseudonymity debate I see being talked about all over my feed.

Names are weird by nature, I think. They're a series of letters, words and sounds that are applied as a label to a body. They are both a static marker of who we are (to think of changing a baby's name because you "got it wrong" at the hospital, or adopting a dog from a previous home and deciding you don't like the name it came with, are both acts I think many people would find tinged with an odd bitterness) and a changing byline of how we are viewed by others (as names are constantly re-drawn in more "acceptable" ways as things like gender identity and family associations morph and evolve, not to mention the addition of nicknames that may be foisted upon us at any time).

I don't think all people select to use a pseudonym for purposes of security. I think that there's a certain subset of people who do - whether as a way to try and keep their information secure from groups people who they don't want to share it with, or as a more magnified instance of that, to keep their very presence concealed as best as they know how from an abuser or a stalker or a known threat.

I have very dear friends with quite-obviously-probably-not-the-name-on-your-identification names that I still don't know the "real" names of after 10-odd years of knowing them, or do know but never call them by it because to me it's not their name. If some of these people tried to add/circle/follow me under their "given" name I would have NO IDEA who they were. I, too, have gone by a lot of names. Some of them I still go by - not really because I introduce myself as that name, but because that name has been so ingrained into the consciousness of the people who use it that it simply IS my name... at least one of them.

Some pseudonyms do provide security, but not in the way that can be thought of as a matter of simply convenience preventing one's online life from being dug up by coworkers or overly-concerned family members. A transgender individual in transition may have a legal first name which does not match their apparent gender, and in cases such as this, forcing the individual who everyone knows socially as "Mary So-And-So" to register their public or private profile information as "Steve So-And-So" could not only cause a great deal of confusion, but could place that individual in danger.

For me, using my given name and filtering how I share information has worked well and serves my purposes nicely. My given name has become fairly pervasively linked to any nicknames I may have, occasional misunderstandings (the people who hear me called "Sarahzon" and assume my name is "Sarah Zann", for example) notwithstanding, and I feel like I distrust the Internet enough to understand that anything I publish under a pseudonym for "security purposes" will very well be traced back to me eventually. But: I'm not everyone, and I don't think it's the solution for everyone.

I don't have any magical answers as to how we can walk the line between respecting the decision that people make to be known by the names they choose, and ensuring the authenticity of online relationships, but I hope for the sake of many of the people I care about that the answer isn't ever "legal names only".

"Don't you wish you'd used a pseudonym when you were younger?"

I did use one, for several years, on Livejournal, as many of my friends can attest.

I assiduously kept my "online persona" separate from my "professional persona", or at least I thought I was. Which worked until my stalker discovered that the one was the other, and broadcast that information publicly anywhere he could, at which point it didn't work.

The sense of security that pseudonymity provides is a very fragile and false one. You leave all kinds of information around about who you are: does your stalker know who your family members are? Unless they all use pseudonyms, too, they can be used to figure out who you are. Same with your friends. Same with your interests. Same with your job. Same with your location. Same with the sorts of figures of speech you use. Your childhood experiences. The name of the college you attended. The name of your first pet. Your favorite musical group. And on and on.

And what happens if you happen to make an enemy out of a friend? Your "safety" is potentially out the window if they're pissed off enough.

And because you've been lulled into a false sense of security, the results may be even worse. You may feel emboldened by your pseudonym to talk about things that are going to be problematic to you if your pseudonym gets "outed".

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I have gone to all of one 3-D movie, when a group from work saw Alice in Wonderland. Why? It gave me a splitting headache. I don't go out to see movies often, but when I do always make sure to double-check I'm buying a ticket for the regular old flat picture screen, occasionally to the dismay of would-be-accompanying friends who want to see the cool pop-up pictures. Nice to know I'm not alone, I guess.
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