"We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate."
Just in the past day I've come across three reminders of how Internet activity has increasingly become an assumed aspect of personal identity, for better or worse (when it makes news, it's usually for the worse). In two local stories, teachers in Charlotte were disciplined for making derogatory remarks about students on Facebook, while an investigation is under way to determine whether Durham police officers made slurs against Barack Obama on Myspace pages. Of course, these individuals did not take precautions to shield their comments from general viewing; it reminds me of people listening to headphones who speak at obliviously high volume.
Nationally, the unprecedented scrutiny of potential applicants to higher level jobs in the Obama administration includes documentation of any and all past Internet activity, including "handles" or alter egos employed. (I'm withdrawing my application for Surgeon General in protest; a psychiatrist as Surgeon General--can you imagine?). This offers a useful reminder that anonymity on the Web is never absolute.
It makes me wonder--should this blog be mentioned on my CV? Is it a public sort of hobby, or quasi-professional, or a hybrid? When I decided a while back to link my name to the site, I determined not to write anything that I would not, in principle, be willing to see printed in the local paper. And in the work I currently do, this sort of thing is not likely to come up much with patients. But if I were to be in private practice at any time in the future, I wonder how my approach to the issue might change, and whether I would notify patients ahead of time of blogging activities or just deal with it as it might come up.