I am now on Twitter! I decided to give it a try after reading someone else’s blog, and I love it! In this day and age we can all connect via blogs, email, IM, cell phones, Twitter, forums, MySpace, Facebook, and whatever the next social networking avenue will be. I am a knitter, so I joined Ravelry, a new but fast-growing knitting/social networking application for needle workers like me. And I’m sure there are many more such applications and web sites for people with all kinds of interests. Your friends and family can follow you around and keep tabs on what you are doing all of the time.

But likewise, certain undesirable people can also follow you around the net too, such as stalkers, spammers, bullies, ex-whatevers, and just plain old-fashioned annoying people. How much anonymity can one sacrifice for the convenience of keeping in touch? And what if you wanted to bring certain friends together and not others?

I ran into this dilemma yesterday on Twitter, when I casually mentioned that I had more than one blog and Twitter account (mistake, perhaps). One of my Twitter friends, P, kindly offered to follow me on my second one, which posed a conundrum I was hoping to avoid–to keep my worlds separate. I have another slightly more controversial blog about a singer and his fandom. Why don’t I want my friend to follow me there? Under normal circumstances I would be delighted, but unfortunately, in this case, I started that blog because some fans were cyberbullying a friend of mine. The bullies, all being grown women, shocked me with their behavior and by the lengths to which they went to hurt my friend. Naturally, I and anyone who defended my friend were also subject to their crude abuse.

One of the traits that stalkers and cyberbullies have in common is that they have an insatiable curiosity about their victim(s). My friend’s abusers posted her home address, phone number, her place of employment, and anything else they could find online on MySpace, with the intent of harassing her and causing her harm. They even found her teenage children’s MySpace pages and harassed them about some comments their friends made on their profiles. They also went into Photobucket accounts and saved pictures and made lurid, humiliating Photoshopped pictures of not just my friend but other friends.

So what’s an honest blogger to do in this situation? Create two separate blogs (and identities), of course. One to expose the cyberbullying and another one to chronicle one’s life and interests, and never shall the twain meet. For my friend’s bullies keep an ever watchful eye on my other blog, and probably now also my associated Twitter account, since I let my fellow fan friends know about it (another lesson I learned the hard way–you may or may not be able to trust friends on the internet–they gossip). If my friend P starts following my other Twitter account, one or more of these bullies may look though my followers list, see him, look at his friends list, and then notice my la-metrogirl account. Then all they have to do is read my comments and put two and two together and then see my blog here and they have me. Then they will be able to spread whatever details they find out about me around–to my detriment. And in case you think I’m merely being paranoid and that those bullies aren’t capable of doing all this, rest assured that they have and they can.

I would dearly love to link all of my social networking and other web sites together, to let everyone know that it is me, because I have so many interests and I would be hard-pressed to not talk about them here. Also, I am sure it would help drive more traffic to all of them. But currently anonymity and safety are more important, due to the situation with my bullied friend. So my friend P, I hope you understand why I hesitated to list all of my blogs, or to have you follow me on my other Twitter account.