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Anonymity — 19 Comments

  1. As a reader, do you want to know all about a blogger? I honestly couldn’t give a rodent’s rear. What they say is what’s important. How they say it, even more so.

    But no-one is truly anonymous. All bloggers inadvertently drop hints as to their real identity from time to time. (I’m not giving examples here). If one wanted to bother the rodent’s rear they could piece enough of those hints together to complete the jigsaw.

    The exception, I suspect, is Twenty. He knows how to brush over his trail. Even Tom Raftery tried the best/quickest/most obvious tool to crack him recently and failed. But then, Twenty showed up at the blog awards in person, so the exercise turned out to be academic.

  2. But say, for argument’s sake, you discovered that I were a 16 year old kid having yiz all on, would you be bothered?

  3. Grandad,

    I think it depends what the Blog is for – mine was always public, though with only fifty readers a week, that was no big deal. (Even the Capital D item only brought about forty extra visits.) I have a friend who is a bishop in Scotland whose blog is so public that it’s called http://www.bishopdavid.net. I put my blog address on my business cards and in our parish magazine – I could write down a fairly comprehensive list of exactly which people read it.

    Anonymity in the tiny Irish Protestant community would probably be impossible anyway, but my intention was to share stuff with people whom I mostly knew.

    There are times when I think it would be nice to have an anonymous platform to rage about things, but my rages would be quickly tracked down.

  4. Yes. I agree that there are so many different types of blog. Yours for example is very specific, and anonymity would be a hindrance, if anything.

    Similarly, there are business, political and technical blogs where the identity of the author would be considered essential.

    I should really have narrowed my question to the personal blogs. The kind, like my own, where people give vent, or ramble on , or in my case, just become insane.

  5. Good topic, as I’ve just started, it is of concern to me. I think if you worry about this too much you can go nuts. My email address contains my full name, i’ve had it for about ten years, so if someone really want’s to know who I am, it ain’t that hard to find out, even though it is hidden in chat clubs and blogs.

    I don’t do much shopping online, but idenity fraud would be a bigger concern for me. But a financial adviser told me recently that the main reason internet banking is quite safe is because of the shear amount of traffic out there. I do use a mac so that helps a little against hackers, fraudsters.

    Here in holland they are obsessed with there personnal space, a small nation with 15million. The result is everybody walks around with an attitude saying, “you don’t know me”. The dam (amsterdam) is basically a village of 800,000 people, its full of expats, none of which mix with the cloggies, and the collogies not with them.

    So lots of people know each other from the neighbourhood, town centre or working in expat companies, but they spend an awfull lot of time pretending they don’t. Unless of course your the boss of an international company or just super rich, then everyone is telling you “I know you don’t I”.

    These ‘you don’t know me’, ‘don’t I know you’ games can drive a man insane. I make sure in my sphere of collegues, neighbours, that they all know exactly who I am…and boy does it piss them off. I walk tall and proud for all to see.

    Dub in the Dam

  6. Hi Dub,
    And of course, you have a photo or two of yourself on your site!

    It’s waaay off topic, but I love these people who wouldn’t shop on-line [*shudder*] because of security, but they’d hand their card over to any old waiter to skim!!!

    I don’t think I’m in much danger of someone trying to steal my identity!

    I’m not in the least bit worried about people ‘discovering’ my identity. It is very easy to work out, with a little ferreting. I’m not going to publicise it but if anyone asks privately, I have no problem. Not that I’m anyone famous or anything. I’m far more famous as Grandad than as anyone else.

  7. Look what you’ve done, Grandad! I thought I’d never get into a debate on blogging. (But then again I thought I’d never get into a car with Jack Malone).

    Would I be bothered if you turned out to be a 16 taking the mick? No. Not in the slightest. It is often the persona not the person that counts for more in blogsville. And, as I said before, the really important thing is content.

    Ian makes an important point when he says it depends what the Blog is for. Your offering cannot be compared with that of, say, Tom Raftery.

    Ian’s blog is a special case. It falls between both genres. It deals with professional matters (though he may not call them that) and with personal thoughts too. But it leans towards the professional and hence identity (credentials?) is essential.

    If Ian really wants an anonymous platform, that can be done. Technically it is pretty straightforward. Maintaining anonymity, on the other hand, would require much work and concentration. As I said in my first comment, all bloggers inadvertently drop hints as to their identity.

  8. I think it’s nice to have a bit of mystery in the personal blogs I read. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved meeting up with Irish bloggers but I have found that once I’ve met the person behind the curtain, it takes something away from the reading of their blog. Mind you, it also adds a certain connection so maybe it all balances out.

    As for myself, I’ve often wondered if I ought to have gone anonymous. As people I know have found my blog and told me they read it I’ve found it more and more stifling. It’s gotten to the point where I hardly blog anything remotely personal anymore because I know who will be reading it.

    Mind you if I’d been anonymous and posted loads of personal stuff I’d just end up paranoid that I was going to be outed at any moment.

  9. Everyone knows who you are what you are because I told them!

    Remember I published your real photo taken in the Crown!!!!! 😉

  10. Of course content is king [to coin a cliché]. If someone I admired as a person started blogging and they wrote boring stuff, I wouldn’t read it. In the same way, if a blog is interesting, I will read it no matter who is writing it.

    I think Claire sums up my attitude very nicely though [thanks, Claire!]. There are some blogs I read on a regular basis, but I think that if I met the author it might detract slightly from my own personal image of them.

    Take Grannymar for example – I picture her as a sweet innocent little old lady in her rocking chair by the fire. In life, she is probably a right malicious old battle-axe that would scare the cr*p out of anyone. Am I right, Grannymar?

    Again, from Claire’s point, I have found that I am becoming more guarded in what I write now that people [particularly neighbours!!!] are discovering my identity. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, but I do have to think twice. Or maybe it is a bad thing because some of my more insane flights of fancy can never take to the air?

    When I started, I always worked on the assumption that I would be sussed so I tried never to give away too much [very] personal information. There are lots of things I could have written about friends, neighbours and family that would possibly have been very entertaining, but wouldn’t have been fair on them.

  11. I value anonymity in that I have launched a series of assaults on UCD on my blog, so if Hugh Brady found me, I’d probably be thrown out.

    An author I enjoy, Terry Goodkind, leaves all the details like pronunciation of people and place names, and character description fairly ambiguous in his books so people have licence to come up with their own images for the characters and places.

    None of you know what I look like, who I really am, and only the people in the real world who know that I write a blog and who I really am know the full truth. Like Terry Goodkind’s books, I think it’s best if you don’t tell everybody everything about yourself. That way, people fill in the gaps.

    And I’d hate to disappoint them.

  12. I used to blog with a pseudonym. Then I dropped the pseudonym. The major thing for me though was after I dropped the pseudonym close friends and family started reading the blog. I didn’t mind writing personal stuff under my real name when the world was reading it. But I couldn’t and can’t do it when my friends are reading it.

    I tended to blog for myself more or less. The fact that people could read it didn’t bother me. A random comment from a passing stranger was welcome and helped to make sure I wasn’t going insane.

    The fact that friends started reading it did bother me. What’s interesting is that so many of my friends took a completely different viewpoint on what I wrote than that which I intended. That disturbed me. The end result is that I probably would have blogged loads over the past few months if I was still using a pseudonym.

    I have trouble blogging at all now.My raison d’etre is gone and it’s hard to find something to replace it with.

  13. Wow! This is a fantabulous topic Gandad!

    My name and the city in which I reside are plastered all over the net, but I leave important facts off of my blog and the net (Hopefully).

    In hindsight, I wouldn’t have used my real name, when creating a blog. Although, I get around 150 hits a day, from Google and other search engines, just because my name is Jefferson Davis. 🙂

    Unfortunately, I made the mistake of telling local people about it, along with family, ex-girlfriends, and co-workers, so I can’t get away with anything! 🙂

  14. I find it much easier to be open when my blog is anonymous. However, as it is read by friends and family I am a little constrained as to what I can say. As mine has started to attract more readers I am really starting to worry how it will impact my job hunting etc.

    Bit torn at the moment as I really don’t want to stop but am worried that I will be “outed”.

    I think I prefer not knowing who people are, just little snippets. All wizard of oz for me, don’t want to pull back the curtain.

  15. So the general consensus seems to be that if you are running a ‘ranting’ style blog a little bit of anonymity is a good thing?

    So far, Robert seems to be the only one who is blatantly open about his identity [with the exception of Ian, but I would consider that a special case – his is as much a business blog as anything 😉 ]

    And two cases of authors who regret losing anonymity… Stephen and Jefferson.

    Herself has become a bit apprehensive now that I am known in the neighbourhood and is reluctant to post now, which is a pity.

    Me? I’ve reached the stage where I don’t give a damn. I’m not going to advertise myself in the locality, but anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit insane, and they tolerate my rantings with a knowing smile. They know I don’t mean any harm. I hope.

  16. ‘a right malicious old battle-axe that would scare the cr*p out of anyone’ -Me? Butter never melts in my mouth!

    Little, gentle oldbones, how dare you Grandad.

    Now with my perm, blue rinse, and a gra for twinsets and pearls, pleated tweed skirts and size two shoes, I am no way as you say! (huff) 😉

  17. We only have your word for that! We bloggers know how to weave false images of ourselves to fool our poor readers.

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