homewithheather writes: "In a recent post — Do you let people know who you are, we had some discussion about letting our identity be known on the discussion forums or online in general. I thought it was a good topic and so want to go further into why we should or shouldn't reveal our identity online. If the answer is yes we should reveal our online identity, what does that mean. Here are some examples of when you really do need to let people see who you are (and yes, I'm sure we can come up with more reasons than this): Building business relationships — If you are online to do business, it is important that your potential client base know who you are and trust that information to be true. Establishing yourself as an Online Expert in your niche — Do the people in your niche know who you are and trust what you say? With Social Networking & Web 2.0 being all the rage, it's increasingly important to be part of that trend or get left in the dust. With the insane amount of anything available at our fingertips these days, customers are not just buying your product. They are buying the experience and relationship you offer. For example, if I'm looking to purchase some information on Dog Grooming I have hundreds possibly even thousands of books to choose from. What makes my decision to get Book 'A' as opposed to Book 'B' is going to depend on who I'm buying from and what kind of experience they are offering me. What kind of information and how much do you need to make available to the public? That is really a personal choice. I can tell you what I think, from working online but the decision's really up to you of course. First off, being honest is really important. When I'm dealing with someone online and have come to establish a relationship with them, it would really turn me off to discover they're not who they say they are. Generally, people want to know some basic information: who are you, what do you do for a living, how did you become knowledgeable in this area, why should they listen to you. I like to know a bit of personal information. Are you a work at home mom, how many kids to you have, what do you and your family do for fun, what kind of hobbies do you enjoy. Just some basics. I like to put a face to the name. I think showing a photo is important. Even more important is that it's a picture of YOU. Like Lynn Terry commented in that previous post "One thing that really puts me off is finding out a photo that I have come to associate with a name, is not the photo of that person after all... ". That's so true. It really gripes my when people put up a photo that's not them, just because that photo is pleasing to look at. If I can put up a real photo and Lord know I'm no super model, anyone can! I don't think you need to be put under a microscope. Your personal life is just that, personal. I'll give you an example. In my case, I let people know that I am a WAHM and that I have two boys with special needs. You will notice about me that I never give out many details or pictures of my kids. I don't that's fair to my kids. They don't need to be examined by the online world, that part of my life is off limits. I also think that you need to play safe online. Just being smart about not giving out things like your exact personal location, deciding whether you want to be available by phone, and being safe about your personal identification, logins, and financial numbers (with so much phishing activity online right now). By giving out an email address that people can ask you questions or make comments on what you've said, you are helping to build that relationship. But, if people do send you and question or comment MAKE SURE that you give them a timely response. Otherwise you're losing points. If you're using an auto responder and have to put in an address, I would suggest to get a PO Box that you can direct inquiries to. We could get into so much more on this topic, but alas I'm not going to right now...look for future blog posts on it."