I have been very careful with my personal information over the years. As I have mentioned previously, I have had to obtain a restraining order because of a stalker in my past. In addition, I have personally known people who would otherwise pass as totally normal but who have developed unexplainable one-sided attachments to other people. Experiences like that will teach you to be careful. I am aware that it is almost impossible to safeguard my whereabouts thanks to several purveyors of personal information, but I still try to make it a little more difficult when possible. I'm frankly getting really sick of having to hide behind an alias like Hooeyspewer and it's getting more difficult to do these days.
I am envious of the people who can just throw it all out there and not worry about the repercussions. They can blog under their real name, post their photos and videos for public consumption under their real name, converse with total strangers without an alias on the Internet and post their real contact information as well. I would require a P.O. Box in another city in order to give out a contact address and even that would make me nervous.
I recently joined Twitter and have become acquainted with a few people who do, in fact, not only Tweet under their real names, but blog using their real names. They use their real names as their email address and/or domain name. They're on Facebook as themselves without all of the privacy guard settings and have their contact information out there for others to see. Their real names are used on YouTube, Flickr, Pownce, Digg, LinkedIn, Mash - you name it, they're there as themselves. (Well, I'm on LinkedIn under my real name, but that's the whole point of it, right?) If you Google their names, you're met with pages and pages of entries from all over the Internet. Some of these entries include information such as current phone numbers and the location of tonight's dinner reservations. I've seen articles explaining how to make your name more Google-able. I've worked pretty hard to make sure I'm not easily Google-able under my real name. I couldn't do what these people are doing in a million years - I don't know how I'd sleep.
I've actually joked with a couple of them about this and they really didn't seem too worried about the prospect of having some nut job recognize them in public or stalk them across the Internet or in real life. They're not dumb or ignorant to the possibility - they're just not too concerned with it. It's part of the job for some of these people - their job requires a public presence or they need to be accessible. An example of a person who does this at least partially for professional reasons is Robert Scoble, who was recently kind enough to Tweet updates on Twitter while at the hospital awaiting the birth of his son. (Congratulations, BTW.) I do admire these people and their families for being that accessible to the masses and I also truly hope that they never have any reason to regret that they are.