This is a serious question.
As a blogger, how much do you value anonymity? And as a reader, how much do you value the writer’s anonymity?
I was talking to a neighbour the other day [yes – the one who caused yesterday’s power cut!]. A nice bloke. We got onto the subject of blogging and how many of the people around here know who I am.
And by coincidence, the subject came up in an e-mail I received yesterday.
It got me thinking.
When I started, I aimed for the anonymous slot. The Twenty Syndrome. I thought it would give me total freedom to slag off anyone and everyone. But the meeja screwed that one almost straight away. So now a lot of people know what I look like and many know my name. But only a very few know the ‘real me’.
My own personal take on this is that a certain level of mystery is a good thing. When I read a book, I picture the characters as I like. If I discovered that some esoteric blog were written by a pimply fifteen year old when I had imagined a professorial type, I would probably be disappointed. Someone once said they pictured me as looking like their grandfather. I liked that. In some ways I regret that people know what I look like because it can destroy an illusion.
On the other hand, I have also heard it theorised that I am, in fact a twenty year old who is having you all on. If I were totally anonymous, then that would be a possibility. And I think that would be dishonest, and I would be doing my readers a disservice.
So what are your thoughts on this?
As a reader, do you want to know all about a blogger? Do you want to know what they look like? How much exactly do you want to know about them? Does a photo of the author on a blog enhance or detract?
As a blogger, how much do you value anonymity? Do you think it is a good idea to have no accountability? Or if you are well known, do you hanker for a little more mystery so you can let your imagination [and that of your readers] roam free?