Will the real Anne Hodgson please stand up?

Ken Wilson challenged me to write something about the many Anne Hodgsons I’ve come across online. There are hundreds of us. It’s like being a Mary Smith or Hans Müller. When I first joined Facebook, an Anne Hodgson “friended” me and immediately wanted to play some social game. She had a longish list of Facebook-friends, all called Anne Hodgson, and to avoid the fate of getting lost in a virtual House of Mirrors, I’m afraid I unfriended her.

I’m clearly not the nicest Anne Hodgson online.

One of my nephews thought I was another Facebook Anne Hodgson. She looks that much like me.

Now, being confused with namesakes or similarly named people doesn’t worry me in the least. On the contrary, there is safety in numbers. Here are my favorites:

  • The similarly named Ann Hodgman has written children’s books with great titles like “The French Fry Aliens” and “My Babysitter Bites Again”. Please feel free to confuse me with her.
  • Ann Hodgson is a professor of Education at the University of London, with a special focus on 14-19 education and training and life-long learning. I’ve found her in connection with IATEFL. I’m afraid she’s got qualifications I’ll never have.
  • Anne Hodgson & Co, a group of lawyers headed by my namesake, lends a touch of class to our dogsbody name.

No, what really has me worried is what happens when I type my tag annehodg into the internet. I did so last night for a laugh,  and looking over all the links gave me a bit of a shock. I work hard to create a professional online presence, only, and to protect the privacy of people close to me, and I’ve been relatively successful. But using Twitter in particular means that the things I’ve written all over the place this past year do come together in a rather disconcerting way.

I’m turning over a new leaf for the sake of privacy. I’m off Twitter for anything but professional networking, for one, and it’s time to change my tag.

Published by

Anne

Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

15 thoughts on “Will the real Anne Hodgson please stand up?”

  1. Hey, Google, now lookie here:
    stew·ard
    1. a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs…
    2. a person who has charge of the household of another…
    stew·art
    1. a writer and teacher who organizes cultural events
    2. a wanderer from northern parts with a natural affinity to football…

    Roy Hodgson would be good to have in the family. Wouldn’t mind Roger Hodgson, either. Alas,…

    There once was a Caroline Hodgson from Potsdam who attained infamy in Melbourne, Australia as Madame Brussels. A very enterprising lady.

    Aw, Chris, shucks!!

  2. I have also stopped ‘tweeting’, Anne.

    It took me quite a while to find a way to get out of Facebook, but I eventually managed to escape and am glad that I didn’t leave too many traces there.

    I find the problem starts when people you have never heard of ask you to be their friend or you get a message telling you someone you have never heard of is following you.

    Why should I agree to befriend someone I’ve never met? And I don’t know many people who enjoy being followed by strangers!

    I can well imagine teenagers feel good when they are being followed and befriended by lots of pretty/good looking contemporaries. I know I would have done when I was that age, but when I do a google on my name, Google finds 20,000 webpages where it appears… and 90% of those web pages refer to me.

    It’s far too easy too find me on the www and I’d rather not make it any easier to be found and followed.

    Those of you who like being in the limelight probably won’t understand, but I certainly don’t have the urge to be followed or befriended by people I don’t know and will almost certainly never meet.

  3. Now which John is this?
    I tend to agree with most / maybe all of what he says.
    Having just spent 11 days in California and experiencing the mind-set and values (none really, if you have the cash) of the young people, is quite mind-boggling.
    How long can this continue? Your own car from age 17, take-aways, packed in styrofoam (shocking), no idea that a newspaper ever even existed – I could go on and on.
    Joan

  4. And yes, maybe I missed the main point – Twitter, Facebook etc.
    There, I’ve always been conservative, got dragged into Facebook which has even reinforced my prejudices.
    I’ll be happy when it all blows over and people start doing ‘normal’ stuff again: communicating with others and maybe even trying to understand those around you.
    Don’t mean to be too negative – but just some thoughts on the world around us today.

  5. Dear John and Joan,

    I fully understand your conservative reservations, especially the need to communicate with friends, and to have real friends, essentially to have a life that doesn’t get dilluted by whatever else we’re doing. Our online connections are functional and opportunistic in a way true friendship should, could and would never be. But of course we cultivate our online connections to make them more fun so “it was good for you, too” 😉

    To stick to the image, the weird thing is, out of the many, many incidental exchanges you engage in online, you sometimes find some so interesting that complete strangers can and do become true friends. There are some parallels to love emerging from incidental sex, I’d say.

    Definitely, there’s a shift in values going on.
    2007-2010 is to conversation what 1968-1969 was to sex.

    Look more closely at how young people are using Facebook etc, and I’d say they know exactly who and where their real friends are. They don’t blog, and they wouldn’t knowingly put out information for strangers to see (but they need to learn the hazards of social networking/ become digitally literate). It’s just us older folks who are sometimes overwhelmed and overtaken by the whole un-private side of the internet because we think we have to become public.

    After 2 years online, I ignore people I don’t know, “use” people who put themselves out there to use and let myself be used (“sharing”), all for the sake of opportunity in a very unsecure world (“networking”). When I look at the power networkers among our colleagues, I’d say they’ve managed to build relatively strong professional relationships and alliances through these online networks. But networking doesn’t replace, say, a proper contract.

    When was the last time you saw a proper contract?

    I don’t think there will be any going back, Joan, though I do think this wave of personal “promiscuous” broadcasting has crested and will go down as we become more aware of what really works for us.

    After all, 1968/9 turned into the 1970s, the 1980s…

  6. Oh, wow, Anne, quite interesting,

    I’m not so sure that it’s as easy as you define – there I am the rebel and break-away of my generation and now I’m being dubbed as conservative! Strange how everything evolves. Anyhow, let’s continue the discussion, shall we??
    Big hugs, Joan

  7. Joan is a blogger (I’m not), but I moderate a internet forum for teachers in Germany, so whilst we both seem to feel fairly comfortable with Web 2.0, there are certain aspects of it that we aren’t so happy about.

    I wouldn’t say our reactions are actually ‘conservative’ – I think we both have reservations about accepting offers of being ‘friends’ from folk we don’t know and when I decided to test out Twitter, I quickly discovered I dislike being informed that I’m being followed by someone (especially if I don’t know them from Adam).

    Why?

    I write lots of things… books, articles for magazines and journals and advice about this, that and the other for EFL teachers in Germany, but I’m not that interested in who’s reading what I’ve written that I need to be sent an automatically generated message telling me that X, Y or Z is following me.

    Some people may get a buzz out of it, but I’d much prefer to hear that someone enjoyed what I’d written or found it useful… or even had constractive criticism to give.

    Think about it….

    What use is the message ‘X is now following you on Twitter’ to anyone other than (possibly) helping them boost their egos?

  8. I hear you John, thanks, makes me feel a little better eventhough I may be on another planet with my contributions, here.
    Basically, for me there’s much too much hype re. well Twiter etc. etc.
    Joanxx

  9. I’m sorry, I picked up “conservative” in the comments above and associated it with values I think are pretty essential. It’s really the defence of privacy we’re talking about here, and the best way to handle the complexities of networking.

    John, don’t all online networks, your Yuku Forum and Nings, let people send you and the others a message if they find what you’ve written helpful? So what’s the difference? Notifications of all kinds bug me, too. I tune them out by sending them into smart email boxes.

    My reservations about Twitter have a lot to do with economy. The buzz is often interesting, but there’s too much to assimilate. Still, there are friendly and incredibly interesting colleagues there to debate heatedly with again and again… and now THAT gives me a buzz 😉

    PS: The two of you might like this great criticism of social networking by Adam Simpson – found through Janet Bianchini’s and Karenne Sylvester’s tweets 😉 http://www.yearinthelifeofanenglishteacher.com/2010/09/six-reasons-to-be-wary-of-social-networking/

  10. Yes, Anne,
    I’ve checked out the article, though just skimmed through it – hits the nail on the head, I’d say.
    Joan ;))

  11. Married last name has been added to remain distinctive!

    I teach business subjects at a small two-year college close to home in Huntington, New York.

    I’m happy to be on facebook–so send me your leftovers–maybe they’re friends of mine!! LOL

    Updated my birth date to exclude the year, but just look at high school and college grad dates and you can easily “figure” my age.

    Interesting discussion points–have a nice day (life).

  12. Hello Anne,
    Nice to meet you. LOL, what a small world it is!
    I actually just deleted my year of birth, but I’m using Facebook mostly to reconnect with my highschool friends, and so it’s the same with me!
    BTW, are you familiar with Falco, the Austrian singer (Rock me, Amadeus)
    Anne

  13. Hi Anne,

    Amazingly I’ve just come across this and wanted to thanks you for linking to my blog post. I actually backtracked to it and reread what I’d written almost a year and a haşf ago. I have to say, my opinion hasn’t changed that much since then.

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