Doug wrote a friendly e-mail back to me and included somewhere in his first paragraph "Of course I remember you!" And since then I've cringed like at least twice a week thinking about my "Not sure if you remember me..." opener. There should really be some sort of Gmail tool that prevents all e-mails including that phrase from being sent! It creates the opposite kind of uncomfortable strangeness as when some disaffected woman at a party whom you've met a bunch of times shakes your hand and pretends she's never met you before. It's self-deprecating to the point of nauseating. The response is always "Yes, uh, duh, I remember you, weirdo."
But the impulse makes sense to me. Somehow it's extremely easy to convince ourselves - even though we see so much online everyday about people we barely know - that our own online presences are somehow obscured, hidden, secret. That girl Macy from high school whose wedding pictures I looked at last month certainly never looks at my profile! Even though Caitlin and I follow each other on Twitter, I'm sure she just glazes over my tweets without reading them! Even though Doug's on my gchat list, he probably looks at my name on his and wonders who I am! Actually though, this willful ignorance is probably for the best: I'm pretty sure that if we didn't all think of our online selves as "invisible," in a certain way, none of would ever post anything at all.