When I first started out on the web as a teenager, I never really gave much thought to how much I was sharing about myself online. Even as college student and during my first few years of medical school, I continued to be relatively open about my offline identity– to the point that I once felt comfortable listing the names of my college and medical school on my “About Me” pages and include pictures of myself in my blog posts. In the last few years, though, and especially this year with residency applications hanging over my head, I’ve become increasingly paranoid that every word I write will somehow have an effect on my offline life and career. Not that I’ve ever posted anything that was particularly incriminating, but I can’t help having the lingering fear that someone will identify me, and that being identified will have… consequences.
What those consequences might be… I couldn’t really say. In actuality, the chances that I’ll lose my job or get written up or be reprimanded in any real way are probably minuscule. But I think I reveal parts of myself on the internet that I don’t in person (and vice versa), and that maybe I’m uncomfortable with the idea of having those parts of myself revealed to my IRL friends and colleagues (yes… apparently I’ve somehow become enough of an adult to have “colleagues”). I find myself wondering how my future residency program director or my future attending, or even a future patient might react to my medicine-related comics, and whether I need to try harder to remain as anonymous as possible. I find myself referring to my specialty as “a competitive subsurgical specialty,” or to my medical school as “a midwestern medical school.” Anyone else feel like this? How do you cope?
Does anyone remember when MySpace.com was a internet storage site? I’ve brought this up in nearly every conversation I’ve ever had regarding this present-day-social-networking-cesspool, usually to an audience of “you must be crazy” stares. Apparently I’m the only one that remembers. I was starting to doubt myself, actually, until it occurred to me search the Way Back Machine, and voila! Proof once and for all! That screenshot you see is from around the year 2000, when MySpace was offering 300mb of internet storage with each free account.
Actually, I came across MySpace.com when I was in middle school. It was, sadly enough, one of the only methods available for sharing large media files (and “large” meant something like 300-500mb). Anything larger than 300mb would be split up using a program like WinRAR and uploaded to multiple MySpace accounts, to be joined after downloading. Oh, how far the Internet has come.
A few weeks ago, I was tasked to work on a much-need website redesign for Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic. The Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic (an enormously long name that’s difficult to fit on a header), by the way, is a free clinic that the medical students at my school help run, for which I’ll be serving as Outreach Coordinator during the upcoming academic year. To be perfectly honest, I volunteered for the job after seeing (and cringing at) that splendidly green and Dreamweaver-templated current layout. I wanted to show off my design skills, even.
Well… I’ve been stalling. For no other apparent reason than two small facts: that it has to look professional, and that I actually have to do it. I have a deadline, too. I have to finish it before the end of summer– I assume that means August 16th, the first day of classes. It’s plenty of time, I tell myself, as I surf the internet aimlessly in boredom.
It’s odd, really. I’ve always been a procrastinator, but procrastination is a thing reserved for such painful-but-necessary endeavors as studying for that upcoming test or making a follow-up phone call to that less-than-cooperative patient. This is webdesign we’re talking about– a passion to which I’ve probably devoted thousands of hours over the last 10 or so years for the sheer joy of it. Apparently, I don’t do well when I actually need to design.
Here’s what I have so far:
Comments and critiques are welcome. I tried very hard to keep things conservative– it’s not something I’m used to and I’m not sure how I did on that front. I still need to figure out what to do with the navigation. And code it. And hope that someone (who hopefully won’t be me) puts together the content. …good luck to me?
Back when Twitter first came out several years ago, I swore it off and relegated it to the ranks of MySpace (which still scares me to this day) and Facebook (of which I admit that I was an early adopter, but which, in my opinion, has since become unnecessarily bloated with all manner of random games and useless apps). Despite having blogged on and off (though mostly off, admittedly) for the past 10 years or so, I never really caught on to the idea of keeping track of what my friends are doing every second of every day, much less the idea of announcing what I’m doing every second of every day. Call me old-fashioned.
So what possessed me finally to register for a Twitter account? Well… I realized that Feedburner could automatically post my blog entries there, so anyone who wants to follow me can do it without me ever actually having to touch the thing!