March 18, 2003
Anonymity vs blogging vs ''Knowing'' a blogger

One of the comments on recent posting "Why I blog" was this one:

When you write a blog and people can comment, you don't know who writes, but we who write know you. Anders, I know who you are and have know you for some years, but you don't know who I am from these words. How do you feel about that?
How do I feel? ... honestly?
  1. I think your leaving anonymous comments, although technically possible, in general is cowardly. In this context I can appreciate that you are (attempting) to illustrate a point; however no matter how anonymous you think you were when you wrote this, I know with reasonable certainty who you are too(!) (seeing that you left the comment from your employer's computer).
  2. If someone rightly claims to know me, they know me because of time we have spent together (in eachother's physical prescence or through talking together by phone or online), not because of what I've written in my blog. If someone, even after reading every blog entry in the archives, would call/meet me and think they know me, I'm sorry: You don't. You know what I like to rant about in writing; you know what I have chosen to reveal. You don't know whether or not I have a girlfriend, you don't know what I currently work with, and for which client, you don't know where I'm writing this from, nor do you know where I live... you get the picture: you don't know me.
Blogging has brought me in touch with a lot of interesting people - through emails; comments in each others blogs and a real, personal meetup. It has also helped my language skills, learnt me a lot about stuff I didn't even know interested me and so on... Not posting a lot recently due to work, it seems as if my blog entries have taken on conversational lives of their own (check out a funny one here, for example). Interesting to see dialogue arise in the archives... Still, the morale is: blog what you wouldn't be embarrassed to let your {mum/boss/friend/partner} read. I don't.

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Ok, I was trying to make a point, and point to some of the problems of webblogs, pictures and archives on the net. I was more successfull with my comment than planed. I didn't expect a look up of where I was writing from and getting an answer on the front page. Don't take the post too seriously it was just an experiment.
But it teaches me that:
1. My anonymity on the net is not as good as I thought. When you interact with people you leave traces, more than you sometimes appriciate.
2. You have a very conscious attitude to bloging, that is good.
3. Since I don't have a blog myself I have to start a discussion on blogs that other people have. If I had one myself I could just start the discussion there. This is an disadvantage of not having a blog.
4. I still do not like to supply correct e-mail address or name when posting comments, and I still don't have a homepage to point to.

Posted by: Nobody in particular on March 18, 2003 07:01 PM

No worries; I was just trying to make a point too ;-)

If you want to have a go at blogging, let me know and I'll help you set it up!

Regards,
Anders

Posted by: andersja on March 19, 2003 11:29 AM

To Nobody in Particular... there are two things I do not understand:

1) If you enjoy writing, and you enjoy the communication surrounding blogs, why have you not yet begun blogging? You can do so free and easily via sites like www.blogger.com, or powerfully and flexibly via programs like Movable Type (www.movabletype.org). You have no excuses, IMHO ;)

2) Why the anonymity? While I can understand why there are certain venues and circumstances in which anonymity is both understandable or even important (calling a domestic abuse hotline, whistleblowing, etc.), on the whole I don't have a lot of respect for people who are not willing to put their name on the line with their comments. Either you believe in your words, or you do not. ;)

Posted by: Adam Lasnik on March 19, 2003 11:58 AM

I guess that is my take on it as well. I feel very uncomfortable not taking responsibility for what I write. I always leave my name and an email address where the owner of the weblog can actually get me if they should want to. Perhaps some of my distaste for the whole obfuscation thing comes from all the silliness that services like AOL and such breed. People running around anonymously saying and doing all sorts of things they would never think to say or do under their own names. If I don't feel that I can honestly represent who I am, I don't comment there. But this policy has backfired on me more than once, so your milage will definitely vary.

Posted by: Damelon Kimbrough on March 19, 2003 01:27 PM
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Jeff Szymona: Get To Know Me? (March 19, 2003 04:15 AM)
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