When I introduce myself in a derby setting to someone who doesn’t play, NSO or volunteer, there is a question that always gets asked. So what’s your real name? I usually tell people that my real name is hard to remember and pronounce (which is true) or that Eenie Meanie is the only name that matters right now. If they really push it, I ramble off my full name really fast and don’t repeat it (it’s ridiculously long).
I’m very protective of my personal identity. Why the paranoia? Working in television as a news producer has shown me how scary some people can be. Let me tell you about how much fun it is to take the phone call from the guy who thinks your news station is spying on him through his television set or the woman who is mad at you for a story you ran and screams “it’s on” before dramatically hanging up. These people sometimes show up at the station. As public figures, it isn’t a stretch for this to happen to us (except that we don’t run news stories, but someone could get mad we lost/won a game).
I’m not saying we should avoid fans (I’ll discuss the difference between fans and stalkers next week) or shut down our Facebook and Twitter accounts, but I am saying we should be prepared. Now is a good time to start thinking about how much personal information you are willing to share with fans.
I have a Facebook page that is completely dedicated to my derby life. It’s where I share my blog links and upcoming events, brag on teammates, etc. All my derby shenanigans go there. My personal account is mostly for family and friends and some fans who have become friends. If someone likes me as an athlete, that’s great, but not everyone needs to know where my family lives or who my old classmates are or what grocery store I use.
You don’t need to be paranoid, but you should establish what is public knowledge and what is better left private.