Secret sites

posted by Jason Kottke Dec 06, 2005

The decompression from my trip to Asia continues. I have read through ~8000 items in my newsreader and discarded almost all of them (despite much interest in solving the problem, no one has built a machine that has any idea about what content needles I want out of the media haystack).

However, one item caught my interest (although I can't remember where I saw it): someone asked their readers how many secret sites/blogs they maintained. That is, sites that no one knows you're the author of (written anonymously or with a nom de plume) or sites to which the general public does not have access. If I remember correctly, a large number of the respondents not only maintained a secret site, but had several. I have one secret blog, published under my own name, that only a small group of friends can read. I just started it recently (after learning that several friends have been doing this for awhile) and don't update it very often. How about you...any secret sites? Why keep them on the down-low?

Reader comments

MartiumDec 06, 2005 at 7:26PM

Does this count?

Only a few people know it's me.

BobDec 06, 2005 at 7:27PM

Why secret? Because I date, and sometimes my dating habits aren't always morally upstanding. Safe behavior, which I practice, isn't the same as ethical behavior, which I sometimes eschew. And my dates have become more and more adept at googling even my pseudonyms in the last few years. A secret site allows me to journal my viewpoint at a tumultuous point in my life without compromising my outward persona.

erasmus jensonDec 06, 2005 at 7:29PM

Let's just get this out of the way! Ok, it's a soft porn (nothing weird/NSFW though) site. I couldn't help myself, just began this thing in November, and, ahh, it's got a pic of Lisa Simpson in the nude (the actor, not the animation) that kind of thing. Ok, now that it's off my chest, back to blogging! Best wishes to all for a safe Holiday Season!

JackDec 06, 2005 at 7:29PM

@storyville: It's Kottke's tracking stuff that keeps track of which links people are clicking on his site. If it annoys you, you could disable your javascript or just read Kottke in RSS.

I have one secret blog and I keep it secret because all my friends, family, acquaintances and everyone I ever met in school reads my public blog and it gets sort of frustrating.

MauraDec 06, 2005 at 7:35PM

In my mind, this is what LiveJournal is for.

ScottDec 06, 2005 at 7:36PM

Look at all the LiveJournals that are friends only.

anon-a-mouseDec 06, 2005 at 7:46PM

double-jinx. ;)

my LJ is where I write stuff on topics that I've said I wouldn't (work/husband), but that I have to write or my brain will explode. all the verboten topics go friends-only, and I don't use my name.

jorgeDec 06, 2005 at 7:53PM

I have an LJ blog that only I have access to but don't update it often enough. Have started other blogs (about 3 so far) without my name attached to them, but failed to keep them up to date for very long. Been struggling (for a while now) with the blogger's dilemma of writing about confidential stuff and having family and co workers read it. ugh

scotty the bodyDec 06, 2005 at 7:57PM

i have numerous secret sites, some for experiments in anonymous interaction with the LJ world (hardly ever have time), one maintained by a fictional character, and one that is for fiction/stories. The reason I started an secret fiction writing blog is that it is, primarily for me and I need to be able to update it from anywhere as the mood strikes and also to avoid the uncomfortable insertion of reality into my stories (such as people thinking they are this character or whatever).

Michael BuffingtonDec 06, 2005 at 8:03PM

I have two secret blogs - one is a secret site among friends, the other is public, but is a fictional character that likes to email people and ask them if they have problems zipping up their pants too. Only two people will get that lukewarm, not even, joke.

AnilDec 06, 2005 at 8:39PM

I contribute content to roughly ten blogs. Three of them are public, and the rest are either private to my friends/family or to my coworkers. All the good stuff's on the secret blogs.


MarineDec 06, 2005 at 8:40PM

Well I'm a Marine, so if I posted some of the thoughts I posted on my rant....holy shit, I'd be jobless. Come to think of it, I haven't posted in a while...thank god for sites like blogspot that are so big they're anonymous.

tbitDec 06, 2005 at 8:51PM

i have always wanted to start one in order to rant about the things that i know people would read about in my blog but not appreciate. i know some (possibly no longer) friends have started secret blogs as personal politics amongst our group has forced them to self-censor their well known blogs. part of me finds this to be entirely devlish and annoying but the part of me that desires to do it, really likes it.

JohnDec 06, 2005 at 9:05PM

I keep a secret journal. For me, typing is a lot better of a way to get out my feelings than writing. While I will jot down a few ideas throughout the day, I can never hope to keep up with my thoughts. So I have an online journal that I update periodically. No one knows about it but me, and I like it that way.

rodrigo (strikter)Dec 06, 2005 at 9:11PM

Right know I have just one blog. It's no secret, but it seems like that.

BenDec 06, 2005 at 9:11PM

Why? Because you have the urge to write, but you don't wish for others to read it freely. Because some just don't like advertising or broadcasting their life over the internet. And I use LiveJournal as well.

JosephDec 06, 2005 at 9:17PM

I don't have any secret sites. I just have sites I haven't made public yet.

DfunkdDec 06, 2005 at 9:22PM

Does keeping a photoblog count? Not so much a current blog, more an archive of shots from my life, and the stories behind them.

No one IRL knows about it. I keep it for me.

bobDec 06, 2005 at 9:26PM

btw, the new Google Reader is supposed to automatically recommend just the sites that are "most relevant" to you based on what you've previously read...takes some training though.

Ian MyersDec 06, 2005 at 9:38PM

I have a secret one. It's a LiveJournal blog. Its one word posts describe my current feelings/actions.

It's a secret because sometimes the word is something like "ASSHOLE" and the word links to someone I think is an asshole.

TheBradDec 06, 2005 at 9:42PM

I have a couple. One is not too secret, as the domain is still registered to me. The other is maintained anonymously and filled with the sort of stuff that might one day prevent me becoming President. (~Completely unlike my own website.~)

NewfredDec 06, 2005 at 9:44PM

There are many people in my life whom I've not told about my blog. In theory, there's nothing to stop them finding it (my name's all over it) and reading it. But there's things I've said which I would never say to them and wouldn't want them to know. In a way, I suppose I enjoy riding the crest of the wave; it is exciting to say things you "shouldn't" say, and to know you run the risk of being "found out"; rather like keeping a diary in our bedroom and leaving it on the bedside table, tempting our mothers to read it, even though she knows she shouldn't. Will she resist? What if she doesn't?

There is some sort of power game going on. I think we usually blog for legitimation by our peers, and anything which moves us too far away from this "real world" will usually not be maintained.

MiltonDec 06, 2005 at 9:49PM

Because I want to bitch about my BF without embarrassing him. Because there are things my family doesn't need to know about me. Because I like to get drunk and rant and rave and not give a fuck.

MarkDec 06, 2005 at 9:50PM

I once made the mistake of explaining how I used ssh and port tunneling to void a firewall on my personal site. My bad, but writing it down cost me my job.

So I have an anonymous site where I can write about work without fear of retribution.

Will HayworthDec 06, 2005 at 9:50PM

I maintain an anonymous blog (only my first name is visible, and it doesn't link to my "real" blog) that I write in occasionally. I usually publish poetry or whatever I've written there, because some of it is pretty bad, at least to my mind, but I have to get it out. Also, sometimes I have to write something self-obsessed, and I really don't like to push that onto those who know who I am.

JuliaDec 06, 2005 at 10:23PM

One and a half LJ blogs. One is mostly friend-only entries and the other is completely secret. Why? Because I need to vent someplace that is password protected. I don't trust paper journals anymore.

DarylDec 06, 2005 at 10:25PM

If nobody visits my blog, does that count it as secret? My lack of visitors is not by choice, but as result of no reputation and [currently] minimal content...

I find it interesting that many of you have your friends and family reading your blogs... My family barely knows how to open their web browser... my friends could care less what I write on my page (I'd be surprised if they even knew my URL).

GCBDec 06, 2005 at 10:26PM

My first dark / secret blog was actually so that I could be more honest with a select few than dishonest with people by not being way out there.

I recently started a new anonymous blog where its out there, but I stay anonymous, for a variety of reasons that I had to detail on the blog. I blog about life being gay and Christian, so I choose to stay anonymous so my family, who still is coming to grips with that combination, isn't assaulted with "oh what's he doing NOW." I also want people to read the content without thinking "oh this is that guy I grew up with bla bla bla." Lastly, there are many many gay Christians who feel trapped into anonymity, and its kind of metaphorical for me to speak out, anonymously, for them.

Absinthia VixenDec 06, 2005 at 10:27PM

My secret site is my small suite of pornographic fiction hosted by the kind folks at the Alt Sex Stories Text Repository. I hide behind my nom de porn and keep it entirely separate from my blog and my other online activities.

neon mDec 06, 2005 at 10:59PM

i have a private journal i've had up for 5 years now (average about 50,000 words a month), that was public for its first 3 years (and had a LOT of traffic).

i finally converted to no google, no search engines, all robots out, password-access the past year. reason? about the 4th or 5th time someone found out about my site (despite i used pseudonyms) and totally ripped into me for talking about them (again, despite i used pseudonyms)... i finally realized, hmm, before i alienate any more potential friends/lovers, maybe i should face reality. now just have 5-10 people i know and trust who read my journal regularly. i don't talk about them in my journal.

there just is no way i can talk about complaints i have about a lover's intelligence or sexual performance and do it publicly, and not expect that person to 1) find out about it and 2) hate me forever.

JacksonDec 06, 2005 at 11:14PM

I have a blog that I am using to talk about a company that I am starting. I am keeping it off my regular blog so that it is not _as_ public. There is nothing protecting my 'secret' blog but obscurity. It will eventually be a public blog for the company.

Xiaobing ShuaiDec 06, 2005 at 11:22PM

I have started a blog. It's not secret, per se, as I use my name, and I try to publish news and commentary based upon what I do for a living as an economist, however... I have never told my coworkers about it. I am not sure if they'd approve. I am wondering, however, what the appeal of true, secret blogs are... just for friends and family? To write about topics that might get us in trouble in professional circles?

SarahDec 06, 2005 at 11:32PM

I usually blog on new sites in secret for a couple of months before turning them loose, to test out each project. And I have one secret diary that no one can read except me.

But what I really like about private blogs is that even my totally non-geeky friends will post on them. It's like they suddenly understand the appeal of the internet, when the only people on it are their friends.

MichaelDec 06, 2005 at 11:36PM

I made a site for people to post anonymously -> http://anonyblog.com/

The MovableType login/password is posted for anyone to use.

I had pondered making a secret site, but in the end decided I really didn't have that much to be secret about. But I built Anonyblog for people that do want to get stuff off their chest.

Not too many problems with people doing bad things, except the comment spammers.

AndreaDec 06, 2005 at 11:55PM

I used to have a secret site -- it was the site where I talked about things that were off-limits on my main blog. My litmus test, if you will, was "Is this something I would want my grandmother to read?" If the answer was no, it went on the secret site.

Then I made a few mistakes and people from my real life tracked down my secret site, so I shut it down. I don't really miss it.

TomDec 07, 2005 at 12:02AM

I have a secret site. It's for anonymous people only, and certain friends who know about it. Other friends hopefully won't know about it. It used to be widely known, until it began to really interfere with my life. People would act differently around you because of the site. Stupid. So now it's blocked from search engine spiders by robots.txt and has a really obscure name. Works out pretty well, although I haven't updated it in about 1.5 years. The only thing I have to write about are girls and my job--and I can't write about either of those in good faith. So, I do no more writing...

CalichefDec 07, 2005 at 12:19AM

I started my original totally honest blog/diary annonymously, then I got to know some of my readers after a while, then my friends found out about it, and my family, and eventually, everyone. I still keep that one most religiously, but, it's now pablum.

The second one was a secret identity known only to a few friends and was, in all reality, a pornographic diary. I just couldn't include that stuff in the first one after it went public. It is actually currently being considered for publication as a "fictional" work, even though it's definitely NOT fiction.

I had to get another secret diary for my darkest thoughts so I wouldn't alarm my friends and family after the first one became common knowlege.

Then came the "flog," food blog. Having been a chef at one time, I just couldn't help myself. Cooking, restaurant reviews and food discussions have always been a part of the original Calichef. It was really more for public consumption, a place to link to from things like this.

Then there was the blog that I started while I was attempting to be half of a "serious" couple because we had communications problems. It would have worked, had I not been the only one committed to the relationship and his entries not been nothing but a pack of lies.

I've now come full-circle with a single Blogger site that attempts to integrate myself back into one blog with total honesty. Although, I don't put much energy into it, and the original still has most of my attention.

However, when I have an erotic encounter I want to write about, I go to the porn blog, a restrauant review, the flog (eventually) gets it, and if something is really needing to get out that needs more than one topic to say it all, it goes to the secret blog @ Blogger.

shariDec 07, 2005 at 12:45AM

I draw porn :D and porn, last time I checked, is illegal in Thailand, I have other work and I might be known in the future so I don't want any problem later XD

I also have kind of 'swearing blog' where I posted annonymously, not password protected or anything, but just leave it there, and when I felt the need, I posted alot of swearing, caplocks, exclaimation points, stupid images I found on the net, and everything else that deem unsuitable for public viewing, just for kicks.

Kip IngramDec 07, 2005 at 1:00AM

Why keep 'em on the down-low?

Why do you keep yours on the down-low? ;-)

Lonely Mac GeekDec 07, 2005 at 1:54AM

Interesting coincidence. I just started a new blog under a pseudonym nom-de-plume for similar reasons:

* I'm currently dating and don't want what I write associated for me.
* I work for a company that severely limits what I can and can't say about things.

Now that I've mentioned these things, perhaps it's best I sign this comment under said nom-de-plume.

KimberlyDec 07, 2005 at 2:25AM

Because the people who read my blog have come to expect a certain tone and type of post from me. When I'm less than 100% Pollyanna, I get emails (from friends) and phonecalls (from family) getting on my back for being "so depressing."

When one gets into a long-term relationship, and one's partner witnesses you scribbling furiously and angstfully into a paper journal every night -- it can lead to trouble. Nobody knows my secret blog address.

Plus, my employer reads my current site, and managers call me in to talk to me about posts they don't like. Even though I disclose nothing confidential, and I have every right to say things like, "I feel like nobody is pitching in on this project."

Michael HeilemannDec 07, 2005 at 3:00AM

I'm part of a secret group blog of friends. It's our virtual livingroom.

Dave WhinerDec 07, 2005 at 3:25AM

Sometimes he gets to me so much that I have to vent.

Polly StarkDec 07, 2005 at 5:22AM

I have a secret blog. It's written under the pseudonym of Polly Stark, all the people in it get utilitarian pseudonyms, I never refer to bands I see, my city, events, haunts, anything by its real name. I keep things this way because I write about my innermost feelings concerning my friends and acquaintances and lovers. By writing anonymously, I don't reveal information that others might not want known, and I don't reveal my own secrets.

nexDec 07, 2005 at 6:38AM

maybe the definition of 'secret site' should be restricted to publicly accessible, but pseudo-/anonymously published sites? if it's just accessible by me and maybe a couple of team mates, it's actually just another type of networked application.

for example, i used a private installation of the excellent blogware antville to keep a kind of project journal. at the moment i use a usemod wiki in its place. neither is more than a glorified notebook program with hyperlinking capability.

as i see it, wanting to keep something secret is only one reason for not making certain pieces of information public. more often i just can't imagine that whatever i just wrote down could be useful for a single other person in the whole world, so i decide not to pollute the 'net with it.

lately, at several occasions when i discovered something on the web or in the TV schedule, i caught myself looking at the online contacts in my IM app and sending a message about it to all those who i thought might be interested. this is pretty much, but not quite, the same thing as a secret mini-blog that my friends have hooked into their FeedTickers. obviously neither method is the perfect way to distribute such information (and filter it out when it's not appropriate), so i'm still contemplating what to do about that.

Dave MungerDec 07, 2005 at 6:42AM

I have two blogs and no secret sites. However, I do sometimes keep a private journal on my personal computer. Hey, if it's secret, why put it on the Web?

AndrewDec 07, 2005 at 6:43AM

I think secret blogs are taking the place of diaries. My own has nothing offensive in it, but it's full of weird stuff. Sometimes I like writing strange things, but I'm not sure that I'm any better off having published them on the web than I would have been writing them on a piece of paper and throwing it away. The idea that somebody else might find the site interesting is ridiculous - in fact, the chance that somebody else might find the site at all is pretty slim.

Perhaps there's a distinction between, "This is my secret blog which nobody must associate with me" and what I've got, which is more like, "This is some writing that shouldn't be construed as having an intended audience." The first type sometimes has a clear audience, and is written with the intention of having it read by people outside the author's normal circle of acquaintance (or perhaps read by only very intimate acquaintances). The second type different. It exists only for the writing, for the author to express themselves. It's not meant to convey an opinion, be clever, witty, controversial or intriguing. It's not designed for reading at all.

I'm thinking that the unfettered Web is probably not the place for my 'secret' blog.

anonnDec 07, 2005 at 6:59AM

I have several secret blogs, well... just two. But It's like therapy for me, I write about what I'm not supposed to write about. It's a lot of fun.

kowgurlDec 07, 2005 at 8:42AM


Pat Freestone, fictional blogger, but somehow imdb figured out the author.

faithDec 07, 2005 at 9:34AM

i have 2 other secret blogs. one is to just keep tidbits like quotes, or things that are "special" in my life, things i've observed. the other is to log my dreams. both, i feel are more personal than, "today i did this..." and not everyone can appreciate them, so i keep them to a close readership.

Stephen CollinsDec 07, 2005 at 9:56AM

I have 2 secret sites, both because of work.

One is very political and would anger my very right leaning company and on the other I can complain about work a bit.

I don't hide them too much though. Anyone could do a whois to find that its me, but I rely on my company's computer ignorance to never find them.

anonymousDec 07, 2005 at 10:24AM

Several months ago I became single and started dating other women. Since the first women I had in bed after my split up I write a review on them. Everything from the way they look, dress, behave, to how they are in bed, what they want to do and not, what they're fantasies are etc.

mauraDec 07, 2005 at 10:50AM

i see this post as exhibit n of my theory that it's 1999 all over again (only this time i'm not invited to any of the launch parties, pout).

Nels NelsonDec 07, 2005 at 11:03AM

@Dave Munger: You're right. The phrase 'secret sites' is a fascinating little idea, and probably what makes this thread so popular. If it's truly supposed to be secret, it shouldn't be on a website. The purpose of a website is self-publication. Then again, isn't that what makes a secret site so tantalizing? It's published, but it's still secret. Kind of like that secret postcard site.

rapturekatDec 07, 2005 at 11:31AM

Why keep a private real live notebook diary when current blogging tools make publishing journals so easy and pretty? Of course, no one can read my notebook diary so my secret site keeps the same rules. The tools are there, hence secret site.

RemiDec 07, 2005 at 11:40AM

Maybe having a secret site might be a good idea after all.

Of course it is all very well to have a secret site, just remember that whois for your domain might reveal your identify. Not so secret are we now?

So best to roll with livejournal or blogger...

TrentDec 07, 2005 at 1:18PM

In the past, I maintained a blog under a pseudonym that reached a fair amount of popularity. I basically got tired of maintaining the fiction, however, and simply ended it. Currently, I maintain a very public blog and a very private one with an audience of one - myself. The latter is almost more of an electronic commonplace book than a blog, however.

HosenpantsDec 07, 2005 at 1:18PM

You secret siters have a heck of a lot of time on yer hands. Either that or you are ILL with the WPM typed.

Hapax LegomenonDec 07, 2005 at 1:27PM

I keep an erotic fiction site, and I suppose that if people really investigated, they could figure out who runs it. It's not difficult.

It's kind of like Pretty Good Privacy. Coworkers and employers could never find it, but a regular (or motivated) visitor to my public sites might be able to guess.

Also, I keep a private page of employment resources (resume/references, etc) which is protected by robot.txt .

BTW, people really need to watch out for Google's ability to take personal data (phone numbers/ssn/address/email) from .doc and .pdf files and make them available via html.

I did a diaryland diary a long time ago but the free webhost removed it (although they made it available to me after some prodding). Also, abandoned weblogs (of which I have a few) tend to get next-to-no traffic except for comment spammers.

Danah Boyd once made the remark that privacy is impossible on the web. True, but for all practical purposes obscurity is just as good. Unless you''ve done something to be covered on cnn.com or slashdot, nobody is going to take the effort to find out who you are.

amandaDec 07, 2005 at 3:18PM

Interesting how many people keep secret porn blogs.

I keep a "secret" blog because I have done several open journal/blog projects and those can be very satisfying: to write for an audience and get feedback. However, I needed a place to keep interesting links, to write small snippets about topics of interest to me right now and to record random stuff. It is too sloppy and lacking in context for me to want the public or friends reading it. I mean, I don't care if they do, but they won't find it from me. Then I'd feel compelled to be compelling and I don't have the time or energy for that right now.

I love the links that Jason posts here -- many of them go in my "secret" blog to remember them. However, I've often thought how unfortunate it is that there is not more of a "journal" here which reveals more of the person. Now I understand why; he's sharing elsewhere! Too bad for us.

amandaDec 07, 2005 at 3:19PM

One more thing: I think it is very amusing that someone above thinks that they can link to someone using the word "ASSHOLE" and not be found out. Amateur! That's no way to keep a secret blog.

amyDec 07, 2005 at 4:20PM

I think a "secret" blog (for me that would be posting to the internet, anonymously with no one I know reading it/knowing it is me) is appealing because often I can't get all the thoughts in my head out in my blog w/out the thought of hurting someone, including me. I don't keep a secret blog but the thought of posting anything, no matter how vitrolic, with nary a care would be refreshing. I suspect that is the draw for many.

Christopher LivingstonDec 07, 2005 at 7:09PM

Dang, my annoying, inappropriate comment got deleted. Come on, Jason, I paid (an extremely very tiny small part of) your salary!

madrigaliaDec 07, 2005 at 8:53PM

Secret, along with reasonable privacy locks on the non-secret site, so I won't be dooced.

Why secret? Perhaps because my Harriet-the-Spy notebook of many years past was casually thumbed through by my Grade Seven crush? Nah. I'd have to concur that, like a lot of people here, I started writing for an audience. Material that isn't up to par often gets deleted or simply never makes it up. Also, my "audience" is mostly my friends, so of course that's another restraint.

I tried keeping a secret Word file, but that was no fun.

nobody!Dec 07, 2005 at 9:10PM

I used to update a secret blog. It was really for me. I just wanted to have a fun time and I knew I couldn't do a lot of things I wanted to on my public site. It's funny because I actually acquired a few readers!

But then I got bored and quit.


mollyDec 07, 2005 at 10:13PM

I have a secret site. Where I use Movable Type for my blogs, I use Blogger for the secret site. It's tied to a Gmail address that I use only for that purpose, and has no reference otherwise to any of my online personas.

It's been a while since I updated it. But I published on it when I was in a new relationship, and it got off to a bumpy start. I was scared I'd get really hurt. In order to sort out how I felt, I published on the secret blog. I didn't want it linked to my real blog -- after publishing a personal site for 11 years, I'm much more careful about what I'll post -- but it felt really good to have someplace where I could bundle up my personal thoughts and leave them there.

Jay Allen`Dec 07, 2005 at 11:12PM

I contribute (or fail to contribute usually) to way too many blogs (10-15). At least five of those are secret or, more accurately, very limited access. I am far more present on the latter than the public ones because there are less restrictions on what I can talk about when a narrower audience is involved.

JacksonDec 08, 2005 at 12:01AM

Comments are better than the post... Love it.

squeakypantsDec 08, 2005 at 10:48PM

I do but its only secret since only a few of my friends know of it (i've trackbacked to you once i think)

haven't updated in awhile though: http://thetech.frihost.net/blog
comic (still in beta): http://thetech.frihost.net/comic

smtDec 09, 2005 at 2:05AM

I have a LJ that that vast majority of my friends (and certainly none of my family) know about. I switched to LiveJournal from a Blogspot blog that is now abandoned and is 100% anonymous, with the intention of doing another anonymous journal (somehow just liked the feel of LiveJournal better), but then people started reading and I read theirs and I count a number of people from LiveJournal as my friends (and have met them offline). The problem now is how to integrate my LJ friends with people who don't know I keep a secret journal, and whom I don't want to read my journal even if they know about it (I need space to work things out)....All of my entries are locked, so it's possible for things to work out this way, but I think I worry about the perception that I let "strangers on the internet" read my deepest thoughts but not my best friends. (I have one or two friends who know/read). Maybe my friends have secret journals too though....

VelocityDec 09, 2005 at 6:43AM

I wouldn't call it a secret blog, but in addition to my site, I have had a LiveJournal that is friends only since about 2000. I recently cleaned it out though. Too many bad memories. I know I will probably regret doing that.

brentDec 09, 2005 at 11:48AM

Hmmm. Company's have secret sites. They're called intranets.

I've always been fascinated with the differences between private and public space, particularly on the Internet.

If one views Internet space as 'virtual,' the analogy for me is the private and public space in virtual reality, like Disneyland. At Disneyland, there's the places everyone can go, and then there are the exclusive areas - places where people get dressed, put on costumes, a private club or two...

I would think Internet private areas wouldn't be much different, but most people are okay with getting changed into their costume in public, it appears, thus we have porn and blogs.

vastaDec 09, 2005 at 12:03PM

one personal private blog, one collaborative private blog. why? because the rest of the world doesn't need to read about my quarter-life crisis. why my close friends need to, i'm not sure.

AAwokenDec 09, 2005 at 12:27PM

I keep a Alcoholics Anonymous related blog which is anonymous for obvious reasons. This is the ultimate subset (read small) of the blogging community. http://aawakenings.com. I had to shut down another similar blog after Google/Yahoo refused to get rid of my real name association to the blog. This would not have been a problem until family members found it and read some painful truths.

JoshDec 09, 2005 at 12:35PM

I started a journal at LiveJournal recently. I write about personal things that are important to me, but aren't worth (or downright shouldn't) go on my main site.

I initially tried writing such things in a paper notebook (a Moleskine, I'm such a trendwhore), but I gave up on that. I was holding back and not saying what I really wanted to say, mostly out of fear of someone reading it behind my back.

With LiveJournal, I can write what I want to write, as well as what I need to write, with little to no fear of someone figuring out it's me.

I've not given the URL to any friends, not even my best friend.

Even best friends do stupid or harmful things at times.

SusannaDec 09, 2005 at 2:59PM

I have a "secret" blog I maintain for work. I wish I could make it public, as it would look good on my resume: it's a network research and security blog which I dutifully update twice a week. But those in charge of making such decisions have requested that it be located in the password-protected part of the site, so only the 20 or so people on this particular project can see it. Also, I am not listed as the contact person for the blog and my name is nowhere on any of its pages. (The contact person never updates the blog. If someone were to contact him about its content, he would forward any requests or complaints to me.)

Michael DuffDec 09, 2005 at 10:04PM

I have solved this problem by keeping my primary blog obscure and unpopular.

I used to write very personal entries about my life and my work. After I lost two jobs and several friends, I removed all the personal stuff and forced myself to write about entertainment and current events.

Now my blog is so boring, no one reads it at all.

MuzzyDec 09, 2005 at 10:40PM

Let's see: in addition to my totally open - but anonymous - Blogger site, I maintain three LJ sites. One I use as an adjunct for my Blogger blog, where I post longer items that I don't want taking up space on my Blog.

But to answer the question about private web space, I have one Friends-Only Livejournal that I've kept for about three years now, and I have one that I only ever post to privately - period. It's my 'rant and rave' space, where I practive electronice primal scream.

And then, aside from all that, I keep notes filed away in my Yahoo and Gmail accounts, things I've written, never intending to send them. Often they get trasnferred to my LJ, but sometimes they just sit in email

nickDec 12, 2005 at 6:27PM

I have a secret site that's not a private journal, but a project to see how something worked in blog format. Privacies? Pen and paper. The intimacy of ink doesn't go away.

Pee PintomDec 12, 2005 at 10:22PM

I have a secret site - well it used to be a secret but apparently a lot of people have started unravelling it...

I started the site called www.partySpotters.com just to secretly take photos of people in clubs and bars and I used to upload them to www.partyspotters.com

I had over 2000 pictures. But one day I got an email from a girl asking me to take down her picture from my website... HUH?

It was a secret site.. how did she find it? Anyway now the site has become a clubbers portal where anyone can uplaod thier photos from cubs - but guess what.... I've started another secret site

This time Im going to take photos of random people on the streets - maybe a few candid ones - like peeping tom ... the website is not going to be a dot com - maybe thats where i made my mistake.

www.partyspotters.com has developed into a monster - thats not what it was meant for.. it was only for my eyes... its all wrong - its unfair. I want my secret back... :(

Jake BoumaDec 12, 2005 at 10:50PM

I maintain a regular weblog at JakeBouma.com, but recently I started another "secret" weblog. As my readership grows, I find that I am less willing to post more personal or controversial stuff. My "secret" site is here. I like the idea of a more personal journal.

TravisDec 13, 2005 at 5:40AM

I keep a combination diary and creative blog. I post all the stuff going on, what i felt, what I am feeling, blah blah like a teenage girl. I also post all of the "creative" ideas I have for movies, books, designs, projects, businesses, etc.. I've only alluded to this secret blog a few times. Some people were interested, and some weren't.

I've also had a friend who kept his blog password-protected, but also kept the password in his Keychain. A friend was using his laptop for an essay he had to write, starting going online, and needless to say he read the secret blog.

No one I know is any longer friends with that guy.

PhilDec 13, 2005 at 7:26PM

I'm a recovering alcoholic. My "persona" is all real, but I withhold enough details that googling details about me won't connect me to the blog. This gives me freedom to write openly and honestly without stirring up negative consequences in family, friends and professional areas that I am not, at this point, well-equipped to handle appropriately. At the same time, it is wide open for anyone to read and comment -- so I guess it's sort of a paradox, that I keep some identifiers secret so I don't have to keep secrets in the content, and I benefit tremendously from the responses from my readers.

R.Dec 16, 2005 at 8:55PM

An alternative, which comes close to what someone mentioned above, is to keep one's private journal as a series of e-mails to oneself on a webmail account (like Gmail—no danger of running out of space, very powerful searching/sorting abilities) reserved for this purpose. Of course, that would be for those who really don't want anyone, even certified strangers (as with friends-only LiveJournals) to be reading the entries, or who want to use such a journal mainly as a personal archive of thoughts and reflections. I do feel that it's more private than a paper journal, since no one can stumble on it in a desk drawer or bag.

sweetneyDec 17, 2005 at 12:39AM

i have a livejournal for this purpose, but only employ it when what i need to write about is extraordinarily intimate/personal. in those instances i filter my audience down to about 10 very close, very trustworthy individuals. the instances in which i feel i have to resort to this are extremely rare, though (i post to the top-secret LJ perhaps once-a-month, maybe less).

annikaDec 17, 2005 at 5:05AM

I like to play at being a snarky Wonkette-style blogger, and I don't want anyone I know to see the results. Thus, my second blog is far more secret than I'd like. I have a site meter on it, which I check obsessively. Even now, I'm thinking, "God, I have to update before I lose Lancaster, Blackpool. I've already lost Bletchley, Milton Keynes, and Lancaster is all I have left."

The sad thing is, it's much better written than my unsecret blog, perhaps because I know it will only be judged by some random Brit.

Hello, Lancaster.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.