Matthewrlee.com: Expanding My Online Identity.

Two days ago I purchased the rights to three domain names: matthewrlee.com, matthewrlee.org, and matthewrlee.net. Currently they point to this blog.


Any content related to these three URLs prior to 08/26/08 belonged to someone else. For next decade anyone who visits these sites will find, me.


To all the other Matthew Lees, Matthew R. Lees, and yes even Matthew Russell Lees out there, I have an interest in your name. We have a shared identity. As I work to separate my identity from yours, I wish you all the best in defining your own virtual persona.

Anything You Post Online, Anyone Can See. Think Before You Post.

Have you ever searched online for your name, profile names, or email addresses? You might be surprised by what you find. If you’ve posted anything online, it’s out there. It’s public.

You probably wouldn’t consider posting a tenth of what you post online on a bulletin board hanging in the break room at work or in the faculty lounge at school. Yet, posting on online is a thousand times more permanent than posting on a traditional bulletin board.


Once you post anyone can download, edit, and re-post your words and images anywhere, anytime. None of this is a problem if you do as the Ad Council recommends and “Think before you post.”


Here are a few recommendations:


If it would reflect poorly on your character if it ended up on the front page of a newspaper, don’t post.


If you’re angry, don’t post. I’ve never heard anyone say “I’m glad I was emotionally out of control when posted those comments! If I had been calm it may have limited my ability to reason clearly.”


If you wouldn’t be comfortable with your family, in-laws, co-workers, or neighbors (Current or future) reading your comments or seeing those images, don’t post.


If you are excited to share your travel plans with your friends on Facebook, waiting until your back to post “Had a great time in Costa Rica!” is much better that posting in advance of your trip, “Leaving for Costa Rica tomorrow, won’t be back for two weeks.” There is no need to advertise that your house will be empty.


If you think posting under a fake name will protect you, don’t post. Unless the forum is designed for and expects anonymous users, people have a way of connecting the dots and discovering your true identity.


The Internet can provide a false sense of anonymity and distance that we would never accept as reality in the off-line world. There are some things we post online that we would prefer to see on billboards and in the newspaper, yet it’s the little things we post, without consideration for the big picture, that can cause the most trouble. We will be reading more about this is the years to come.

Your Feelings are Being Recorded

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If you’ve typed the words “I feel” or “I am feeling” on a blog in the past three years, chances are your feelings have been tracked. Not by a government but by wefeelfine.org, the work of computer scientist Jonathan Harris and Google engineer Sep Kamvar. Their system captures sentences containing the words “I feel” or “I am feeling” and scans them to see if the sentences fit into one of 5,000 pre-identified categories. Where possible, the age, gender, and location of the blogger are also recorded. If a location is available, the local weather at the time of the post is recorded.  

According to the We Feel Fine mission page, their database of several million feelings increases by 15,000 to 20,000 new feelings each day.  

The data is displayed in six unique formats; madness, murmurs, montage, mobs, metrics, and mounds. Mounds reveal how many people are feeling good, bad, ugly, or any of over 3,400 common feelings. Did you post about feeling “comfortable” in the past few days? So did 16,552 other people. If you wrote that you felt “flaky” you’re one of only twenty. 70% of these flaky feelings were written in sunny weather and 20% under cloudy skies (A location was not available for the remaining 10%).  

The thought of separate but collective feelings inspires me to say, wefeelfine.org is pretty cool.

However you choose to describe your feelings, you’re not alone.