I am a graduate student in the physical sciences working towards my Ph.D and planning to finish in less than two years from now. In this age, where data mining/collection/analysis and then selling/using it for profit has become ubiquitous and quite easy because of the internet and the ever increasing plethora of electronic devices, I have become a little paranoid and worked quite hard over the past decade to keep myself anonymous and to stop anyone from piecing info about me as much as possible. I do regularly google myself and see what I can learn about myself.
So the thing is, I don't have a webpage of any kind. No blogs! Certainly no social sites. No professional/connection profiles like on LinkedIn. Even the university provided webpage/space is unused and I try to control where my university email is published. Only the people who know me and have met me face to face (personally and professionally like at a conference) have my info to get in touch with me. It would be quite difficult for someone who I don't know to get in touch with me even if it is research related. A potential employer will have a very hard time trying to find anything about me on the internet.
So my question is how detrimental is this behavior to my professional future? Just how bad is it really, assuming it is bad? Do I really need it? Will this hurt my chances in the future when I try to get a postdoc or a job in the industry? I haven't published anything yet but I will very soon and then I expect to have at least another paper before I graduate. Furthermore, I really don't know what will I be doing after graduation. I might do a postdoc at a lab but then after that I don't plan on staying in academia. I might just stay at a lab or go to the industry working for a R&D somewhere. I am also toying with the idea of just starting my own small business. It could be something completely unrelated to my degree like a bakery or a bookstore.
But let's stay that even if I decide to stay in the field like working at a national lab and publishing regularly, can this be done without a public online presence?
BTW, I am in the USA and I don't plan on ever moving out of the States so the postdoc/lab stuff will be here in the States if I decide to do it.