Monday, August 2, 2010

The power of the interwebs

Like most bloggers with a little bit of free time and some curiousity on their hands, I occasionally take a few minutes to check and see if people have been visiting my little corner of the internet world.  I think it's neat to see where my readers live, and as Darden has publicized my blog, other sites have referred readers to it, too.  I've also done some shameless self-promotion by tying a blog feed into my Facebook status updates and adding my site to Hella's List and the Clear Admit business and law blog lists (and thanks for the two shout-outs in Fridays from the Frontlines a couple weeks ago, folks!).  After all, my reasons for starting this blog were three-fold: first, I wanted to keep family and friends "in the loop" while I vanished into the deep, dark depths of Charlottesville; second, I wanted to provide a perspective on student life as a JD/MBA student at UVa for those who are also considering UVa and/or a dual degree; and third, I needed a forum to vent periodically.  So, with the exception of the third reason (which is mostly for my mental health and frankly cheaper than paying for therapy would be), promoting my blog and linking it to Facebook helps me achieve my goals for Legal MBAyhem. 

Today, as I was perusing "Recent Visitor 'Came From' Activity" and "Keyword Search" information in StatCounter,  I realized that it is almost creepy how quickly even a relatively small and largely inconsequential blog can spread through the "interwebs."  (Thank you, Al Gore.  Just kidding!)  That realization led me to do some Google searching of my own - for my name (including nicknames, since I use my full name and shortened name pretty much interchangeably now), my blog's name, and various combinations of "Virginia Law," my name, "Legal MBAyhem," and "Darden."  Obviously, I expected my posts to show up at some point when I searched for Virginia Law and Darden, and I know that Darden posts my name in connection with this blog.  When I last Google-searched my name during the recruiting season, the only forum in which my name and my blog were publicly associated was through Darden.  However, when I searched for my name today, I got all sorts of links to this blog.   While I don't have a big problem with that (hey, I chose to post in a public forum, anyone who knows me knows that my online persona is a direct reflection of my real-life persona, and if a business or law firm chooses not to hire me because of something I posted here, that is their perogative), I did notice that 1.) the number of websites that aggregate all sorts of information and then try to link it to keyword searches for goodness knows what junk is OUT OF CONTROL; and 2.) a lot of people and sites seem simply to have done away with good blog etiquette (by which I mean referring to someone who runs a fairly anonymous blog by the name of their blog/online persona (e.g., referring to me as "Legal MBAyhem" or "UVAJDMBA2013"), not by whatever name you were able to uncover for them somewhere else).

So the whole searching process got me to thinking about blogs and the internet and anonymity and whatnot.  I don't slap my name all over this blog primarily because I don't want to deal with total creeps and obnoxious people using that information for some nefarious purpose.  After I go (back) into business or become an attorney, I also don't necessarily need potential clients and co-counsel or coworkers reading all of my blog posts when they Google search my name.  I also generally try to keep my blog free of specific, attributable references to otherwise innocent people or companies who may not be thrilled about the fact that I am blogging about them.  For instance, I refer to my last major employer as "The Consulting Firm That Shall Not Be Named,"  I refer to most friends (except those who also blog and use their first names to do so) by their initials or some other moniker, and there are some subjects and people I just don't blog about (yes, I have an  "I need to have a ring on my hand to blog about a man" policy). 

But of course there is a tension between keeping part of my life shrouded in mystery and anonymity and being open and honest about my experiences, thoughts, and feelings as I work through Darden and UVa Law.  Anyone who knows me (including many of my classmates) will be able to "undisguise" my disguising and concealing efforts.  In my mind, that's fine - if you actually know me AND you read my blog, you will obviously know more about the topics about which I post than the average person who stumbles across this blog inadvertently.  If you actually know me, I've probably told you a good bit more about me than I post here.  Naturally, you should "know" someone you've actually met better than someone you've only "met" online. 

On the other hand, some people have periodically accused the Darden Student Bloggers of offering a biased or censured perspective of Darden and the student experience here.  For the record, Darden has absolutely zero authority to tell me about what I should blog or not blog; we bloggers make all those decisions on our own (I have no idea if the law school knows that I blog or if they particularly care).  Sure, if I started posting daily Darden-bashing entries, they might stop linking to my blog off of their Admissions page...but the ocassional Darden-critical post certainly makes it through, with a direct link from   I can't speak for the other bloggers, but for me, my decision not to post some more critical things about Darden, certain people, life, etc. stems more from a personal desire not to air all of my own dirty laundry and to avoid preserving in perpetuity on the internet my fleeting displeasures with some experiences or individuals.  Everyone has bad days or makes mistakes; I don't feel the need to immortalize all of those - either mine or others' -  here.   I do periodically rant, and those of you who read my Cannes post will see that sometimes, I certainly do articulate my "beefs" with others.  I try to only do so when I am a.) attempting to keep my head from exploding or b.) after I've thought long and hard about it and think that someone else reading this blog may actually benefit in some teeny tiny way from my 100% honest perspective about some particularly unpleasant experience or encounter. 

Anyway....I think I started writing this post with a totally different idea of where it would go, but here's where it's ended up.  Just my random musings, I guess.  I might as well post it, since I've spent the time typing it, right?

1 comment:

  1. totally loved this post. the last paragraph in particular. and you are so right about the what to write / what not to write. who know me / who doesnt know me part.