I wonder how much worry is a holdover from the early days when people were forever faking AOL profiles and participating in AOL chats as someone other than themselves. It's really difficult to maintain a false persona on an online journal (and in fact I know more about a lot of my LJ "friends" than I do about a lot of people I went to school with) and also on LJ there's a lot of meeting people via other people, so these are not complete strangers with no character references. Also: LJ has a function whereby you can post things filtered only to a select group of people, so in many ways you control how private you remain.
Tuesday, alixtii linked to this Chronicle article about Facebook. And then on fanthropology someone's "doing a Psychology study on the differences between how people interact with other online (specifically fandom) versus how they interact with those in real life" and was seeking past research (formal or informal) on this.
I've seen a bunch of posts recently about conceptualizing one's LJ flist as a list of friends or as a reading list, and then Friday's metafandom linked to southernbangel's post which opens: "So I've been thinking a lot lately about LJ and the nature of friendships that develop through LJ and other forms of internet interaction (email, YIM/AIM, etc.). To be frank, LJ has warped my sense of intimacy and friendship." On Saturday, escritoireazul posted about fabu's post (from this past Sunday) on how we conceptualize LJ space -- coming out of an earlier post on the recurrent metafandom wank about linking to public posts -- which I realized I'd read back when metafandom linked it on Monday. [Obsessive about linking/citing/etc., me? O:-) ]
hedy sent me a link to this article about a Harvard employee who was fired due to her blog, which reminds me to be somewhat cautious about what/how I post about work. I use abbreviations for some people, but I interact regularly with so many people and am really not inclined to use abbreviations for all of them, plus if you know anything about the place I work it would probably be not all that hard to figure out identities anyway. One major reason I got an LJ back in my first year of college was for ease of keeping in touch with people (namely my parents) but even then I knew I wouldn't give the address to the people I had worked with (though I did give it to various high school friends, whom I doubt read this) and LJ is now my main way of keeping in touch with friends from college but I wouldn't give the address to the people I work with now.
I post about anything and everything, often at great length, though I also tailor content/style due to my knowledge of audience (though you probably wouldn't guess it to look at this ;) ).
I was gonna talk about how I don't flock anything (though I sometimes private lock stuff) and how I get stubborn around my principles and it's sometimes problematic because it means I can't post anything I don't want anybody I know to be reading this to read (like if I wanted to plan a surprise party for someone, for example, I couldn't do it via LJ) and how I totally understand why a lot of people flock and I was gonna talk about compartmentalizing and complications, but my brain is just not up for that at the moment.
Oh, and today missambs posted about defriending amnesty etc. I'm usually very hesitant to friend people (I have a plethora of issues) though I did a bunch of immediate friendbacks recently (which has at least one problematic -- namely trying to keep all those people straight). I think it was lunabee34 I was talking about this with recently, about friending "people" versus "journals." [Edit: Yup, it was.] There are some people I knew as people first and I'm interested in reading about their lives, and there are other people I "met" via LJ and I'm primarily interested in what they post. And then there are people in between, and sometimes I grow into friendships with LJ people and sometimes I grow apart from "RL" people, and I am forever coming back to questions of how I use my own LJ. I use it to record stuff for my own reference and I also use it to disseminate information and house discussion. Work sucks up most of my time/energy recently and I often find myself wondering why people continue to read my LJ 'cause I think, "I wouldn't friend this LJ." People talk about the pressure to perform, and in a lot of ways I want to perform -- in the sense that I want to produce stuff of value, but on the other hand this is first and foremost a tool for me. And of course at the same time I whine silently when I make posts that I do think of as having value and I feel like "Wah, why does no one comment?" and I get bitter when I see long comment threads on random stuff in other people's LJs -- and this post is really devolving, so I'm shutting up now. But oh yeah, my point when I started this paragraph was gonna be that I'll probably be a little hurt if you defriend me, but if you're not interested in reading me, please don't feel beholden like you have to keep me around. I would probably rather be defriended than filtered out (oh me and my honesty issues). [I say "probably" because it gets weirder when people flock all/most of their journals because then there is direct effect on me if they defriend me rather than just filtering me out of their reading.]