#1 son will not let me read his xanga.

There is more to the story than that. He made a xanga, which his siblings and I enjoyed reading quite a bit. When we incautiously told him so, he spitefully deleted it. He then made a new one, and put on it “a stalker thing” which he assures us will tell him if we ever go look at it. We are forbidden to do so.

Now, I do not think that #1 son is arranging drug deals via xanga, or plotting the violent overthrow of our hipster mayor, so I do not intend to invade his privacy by reading his xanga. Naturally, I resent his refusal to allow me to read it, especially since he tells me that he has posted about Mr. Rogers, Sam Cooke, and connotations vs. denotations, but I will respect his unreasonable wishes.

It made me think, though, about the entire question of privacy on a xanga. I don’t know his xanga name, so tracking it down would be an interesting bit of detective work. If I happened upon it by accident, would I recognize it?

Just how personal is a xanga?

I am careful about self-disclosure on mine. Specifically, #2 son has let me know that he would find it deeply embarrassing to have someone at school realize that he is #2 son. He does not EVER want to have someone come up and tell him that they read a cute story about him on the internet. And since his entire school seem to have xangas, I am careful not to mention the name of our town or state, not to post recognizable pictures of the family, and not to use any real names whatsoever (except my hairdresser).

However, if someone were trying, say for a class assignment, to figure it out, they could. I’ve mentioned the region in which I live, I’ve written about our football team, I’ve mentioned drives to cities, with distances and directions. There has been some demographic and historical information now and then. Hercule Poirot could determine where I live.

And I am the only person in town who manages a store like ours — in fact, there is only one such store, and the workers include the family that owns it, a part-time worker, and me.

I’ve also linked to my mother, who is mildly famous and therefore does not bother keeping her blog anonymous, and to my daughter, who is anonymous in her blog but gives plenty of inadvertent clues to her identity.

Were I disseminating state secrets in the guise of a mild-mannered knitting blog, I could definitely be caught.

What about you?

Does your mother read your xanga? Mine does not, but I don’t think I’d mind if she did. What about your boss? Again, mine doesn’t but it would be okay.

But some bloggers have a different persona on their blogs than in daily life, or tell stories about their employers, or complain about their spouses. Can you imagine someone coming up to you and saying, “Are you [your blog name here]? If so — ” Does the thought send chills down your spine?

Not me. My life is an open book. Or, as the saying goes, “If you can’t be good, be careful.”