Saturday, September 10, 2005

anonymity

so H, one of the publishers i met with today, is a friend of S's, who i mention every so often. H told S that she was meeting with me because i was a blogger. the problem with this? none of my friends in new york are supposed to know i have a blog. when H told me she slipped to S my mind went reeling. this is supposed to be my place. the place where i can say what i want when i want. has everything changed?

during lunch we talked about anonymity. this is something that i, as a newbie blogger, didn't give much thought to. i never read blogs, so i didn't instinctively understand the reasons for not revealing your identity. i treated it like a networking site and even had a face picture up there for a couple days. i've used my real first name. a few of you know my last name too. honestly, i didn't think i'd have much to say, and even more so, i never thought that there would be anyone around to read it. after all, there are billions of blogs out there. who was going to find my teeny space in all that clutter?

well, one thing has led to the next. i've realized that a little commenting gets you readers. that readers link you. that readers of readers click those links and a little community is born. to my own amazement, i'm linked on nearly 50 other blogs.

blogs have become an important part of society. it's bloggers (and their sightings) who chased condi rice back to washington post-hurricane. it was also the bloggers who were the only ones posting reliable information to those hurricane relief workers and survivors about dry spots, the availability of water and supplies, and even the whereabouts of hurricane survivors. millions of average people collectively doing a reporting job that the government or media can't do itself. those bloggers are a force to be reckoned with.

my blog is not an important part of society. there is no smoking gun here. there is no life-saving information here. query whether the best place to find a brazilian wax wouldn't nearly fit into that category, but i digress...

this blog is full of random fluffiness. it holds all the allure of new york city paired with all the stories that the crazies over here provide, with a little bit of quarter-life crisis, a dash of humor, a pile of honesty and a pinch of fun celebrity gossip. what is this blog? it's me, uncensored. rather, it WAS me, uncensored. things first changed when i thought the library adonis might have peeked over my shoulder a few seconds too long and found this blog. there has been lots of stuff to say about the adonis that has been kept from you, my lovely readers, on the off chance that he knows where to find this blog. i can't have him knowing too much and i can't have him knowing you know too much about him either. and now S knows there is a blog. she's an excellent stalker. i should know, seeing as i trained her myself. she is truly one of new york's finest. if she wanted to find me, she would. and that seems huge to me, mainly because we spend so much time together. though i haven't mentioned her much and haven't said anything here that i'd hate for her to read...if she had done something scandalous, i'm pretty sure she'd be pissed if i were to post about it. i'm not trashing my friends here, but i sometimes reveal juicy details of their lives that they probably wouldn't approve of. i wonder whether, if they had blogs, they'd post about it anonymously too?

is it wrong for me to say things if i think my friends would be upset about them if they knew? these things really happened. i often think of celebrities and don't really feel bad that the paparazzi follow them around, because, you know what? that's the sacrifice they make. our attention and obsession with them makes them marketable. they make money because they put themselves out there for us. they are famous. but what of the normal people i write about? truthfully, i have about 100 hits a day, which is meager compared to some of the biggies out there. i don't believe it's the end of the world that you guys get some random gossip, but then again, i sometimes write about experiences that aren't my own. i don't know if i'll change what i write in consideration of this new development. this blog has primarily been about me, and things i do, and places i go, and mistakes i make, boys i meet and last but not least, my boobs. and that's my business. and yours, when i share it all with you.

so i contemplate now...do i out myself? it takes effort to keep it all a secret. i get excited to meet bloggers and then can't tell anyone about it. i read awesome posts by people that i knew my friends would enjoy but i don't e-mail them along because i'm linked on most the pages. slowly and stealthily, blogging has become a pretty important part of my life. you guys were so supportive when dave died. and you're supportive now as i sit homeless and jobless. should my real world and blog world not mingle a little?

your thoughts?

27 people who played with me:

Blogger cadiz12 said...

i know exactly how you feel, sweetie. it's a very thin line because so much of what happens to you involves other people and what has happened to them. but this is your haven, so don't feel pressure to out yourself -- your readers, and inevitably your friends will understand because they love you.

personally, i started jugglethis out of an allaround frustration with being a social pariah -- the rollercoaster schedule is enough to drive me to the brink of insanity. at first i kept everything supersecret, mostly because i know firsthand that stalkees can't have fun. but over time i loosened up a little and those who pay close enough attention can probably find me on a map. after awhile, i realized i have little need to dog on others and there are ways of reporting on incidents involving other people while still maintaining their privacy (i.e. attribute-less conversation posts). besides, the creative challenge makes it all that more interesting.

i ended up giving the address to a few near and dear who can grasp anonymity to catch them up with what little is going on with me as well as remind them that their quirky old friend is still kicking, even if it's in a dungeon.

jas, just remember: this is supposed to be fun. it's not a job. we all have way too many responsibilities out there already.

9/10/2005 9:11 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

cadiz is right. it's just a blog. if you can't write what you want to write, then where is the fun?

i have been doing this for about half the time that you have, and i have been wrestling with this issue, too. but you know what? it's your blog. it's your domain (figuratively). if you are getting enjoyment from writing about your life, your readers will just have to accept that the minutia of daily life includes other people, and those who are close to you will not mind that you include them in your posts. they are simply background characters - YOU are the star.

my friends and i have all exchanged blogs, and i totally love that they are available to me whenever i want to catch up with them. but i live miles away from all of my real friends, so it keeps us connected. what i really like about it, though, is that it keeps me honest with myself and my readers. i haven't "spruced up" the truth on my blog, so i can't edit for them when i talk to them. it keeps things real for us, gets rid of all the "how are you doing" bullshit, and let's us get on with the business of nurturing our friendships.

and for what it's worth, i don't think any less of any of your friends that have graced your blog.

9/10/2005 10:12 PM  
Blogger Mister Underhill said...

"now S knows there is a blog. it's a bit hazy whether she knows where it is. but honestly, she's an excellent stalker. i should know, seeing as i trained her myself. she is truly one of new york's finest. if she wanted to find me, she would"

LOL

That seems to be quite true of all Ss.

9/11/2005 2:28 AM  
Blogger Mister Underhill said...

Ok, and to answer your question, DO NOT OUT YOURSELF.

YOU WILL REGRET IT.

I have seen it time and again,a nd it has happened to me, depsite being extremely careful.

There are plenty of crazy internet people who are unemployable losers with nothing better to do than mess with strangers, and absolutely not conscience.

9/11/2005 2:47 AM  
Blogger JustJunebug said...

My suggestion is absolutely not.

Yes some of my friends have my blog address, but because of that I only write about the stuff as you say "no one would get mad about". On certain occasions I have stepped over those lines but have keep the name of the not so innocent a secret. However, I have another blog where I am completely faceless and nameless.

Its salvation on most days.

9/11/2005 9:27 AM  
Blogger Popeye said...

Yeah, keep it quite and anonymous. This is a go place here where you have a hell of a lot of freedom, right now, because you can say whatever you want. There are so few places like this. . .

9/11/2005 9:58 AM  
Blogger Adz said...

Where would life be without friends and their own misfortunes and craziness.What a boring blog it would be if you were reading, 'I woke up, spoke to noone, had not one gram of intelligent, inciteful human contact. Then I came home and went to bed.' Now what would you say the next day? And the next?

I think as long as you're chilled and honest about those events you must, and have to talk about, that your true friends will always stick around. Even if it's just for the humurous witty way you interpret so many situations. But this is not to say put your face in lights, flash it across a screen in time square and announce that this is my blog to the world. Mister Underhill is dead right. The crazy internet people really do exsist!

Remember part of the enjoyment is all about anonymity. It makes you feel loose and free (not as in hippy). You get to say what you want about what's on your mind. I'm pretty sure that it helps to give closure on certain dilemmas that rush through your head and trickle out on to the keyboard too. And normally by the end of it you have come up with at least an answer or three that will help you through to the end, the end of whatever it was you started in the first place. And probably less like this comment!

9/11/2005 11:18 AM  
Blogger stretch td said...

Anonymous to some may be a problem. Here's the problem that I see it. If you are writing about friend 'a' giving a bj to some guy I never heard of and friend 'a' finds the blog that is one thing. She may be pissed, or she may not be given that she is not identified. But what if friend 'b' knows you have a blog and knows who friend 'a', now friend 'a' may be really pissed.

A tough dilemma. If you want the freedom to write whatever you like, tell as few people as possible. You already see that you are holding back things that you want to share because someone "might" be listening. What if everyone you knew was listening?

But if you want the book deal, "out" the blog and see what happens. Most will probably be cool with it. If not, you can always start a new blog and change a few details to keep people guessing.

By the way, did I read that this blog is about your boobs? If that is true, lets see the rest of them. ;)

9/11/2005 11:20 AM  
Blogger christina said...

I recently wrote an entry about how jealous I was of bloggers who were anonymous because they could write whatever they felt like. Everything I would write about my love life, I would be worrying about how my ex boyfriend would read it and be upset, and everytime I write something about my ex, that my new boyfriend will read it and be jealous. It's so fucking annoying I've thought about running off and starting a brand new blog so I can be candid.

Of course, your entry is a reminder that if you are anonymous, you are always worried about being outed. I guess you just can't win.

9/11/2005 2:44 PM  
Blogger TomCollins said...

I'm on the "don't out yourself" team. I started writing my blog to practice writing (and more importantly, get feedback), using real life for my stories. As soon as I start telling people where to find my blog, I would have to censoring myself. For me, that defeats the purpose of writing the first place.

And besides, if you outed yourself, and then decided you didn't like it, where would that leave us?

--Tom

9/11/2005 3:00 PM  
Blogger Ale said...

you know, i think revealing your real identity in your blog world is something that should "feel right" i've seen a few people do it, and it worked out great for them. i think you will know when time is right, and rule of thumb is: if in doubt, don't do it. at least not yet.

but i think you may arrive at a point where revealing your real identity would just be the next natural step---

9/11/2005 7:57 PM  
Blogger Gloria Glo said...

I started saying to new friends, "Look, I blog, so if it's funny, it could end up on the Internet." I expected that would put people off and make them weird - like when you introduce a video camera. But mostly I just have lots of idea generators now. People call me with "Are you writing about ....? or "Omigosh! This should be on the blog!"

Occasionally, though, people get hurt, especially if I'm writing about something that was emotionally intense. So, my dear, you will have to weigh all that in the balance. You'll figure out what's right for you.

9/11/2005 8:08 PM  
Blogger Swipe said...

That all depends on you.

Although, it is nice to have a couple of friends you really trust knowing about your blog, especially if you won't be writing about their sh*t.

But then again, they might slip and your url ends up being the hands of someone you don't want reading your blog.

Also, you might not want to go into a job interview and the first thing that the interviewer asks is, "Aren't you the girl who blogged about how D gave Gavin Degraw a bj?"

9/11/2005 9:43 PM  
Blogger omar said...

I gave up my anonymity on day one. I haven't yet put a picture of myself up, but the name is out there. It most certainly has affected what I write about, but I don't think that's all bad - for me. In your case, it sounds like it might take away from your frankness, which is one of the biggest reasons why I enjoy your writing.

9/11/2005 9:56 PM  
Blogger Nadia said...

My blog anonymity lasted about a day, thanks to my inability to shut the hell up. All my close friends, and then some, read my blog. I suppose since I don't really post anything personal (not out of repression but because precious little that happens to me ever remains private), I can't really compare, but I still think blog anonymity is something important.

Finding out that I tried smoking from my blog is not the way I wanted my parents to know, if at all (don't ask me how they got the address, I have no idea myself...Jazz, perhaps your stalking tips are more far-reaching than previously suspected). And sometimes, like when I'm having a shit day with my friends and acting like a big fucking happy hypocrite, all I want to do is vent, I can't because they read and they know and they hurt.

So...yeah. I guess it depends on how willing you are to deal with potential real world repercussions as a trade off for speaking your mind.

Personally...don't change a thing, Jazz, please? I love it here. Only...more juicy Adonis updates! :)

9/11/2005 9:59 PM  
Blogger Me said...

While I'm not really "out", I've put up pictures and a few other bloggers know who I am. I honestly don't know what to say because I can see the good and the bad. There are times when I want to write and be completely uncensored but then I remember some friends have my link. I think even if they didn't, I'd be paranoid of them stumbling upon it one day and I'm sure based on events, they could pinpoint it. I know there are millions of blogs and the chances are so slim, but I still worry sometimes.

Then again, there are times when I've written something that I think is interesting and funny and I can just say, "Go read my blog". None of my in-state friends comment though. They just graze. I never thought about that. Hmm. Weird.

But yea - can't quite answer the original question.

9/12/2005 4:27 AM  
Blogger Syar said...

I never really thought about blog anonymity because I was never one to come up with fake names and fudge the details about my age or where I live (geography wise, not street adress wise, I'm not that stupid) because doing so would've made me so uncomfortable. It would've felt like such a chore, keeping up with this false identity. To my friends I am Syar, to my family I'm Syar (only referred to by my last name, not my first) to my classmates I'm Syar, so I don't see why to my blog readers (who have slowly become very important to me) I can't be Syar as well.

I have stuff that I want to write about but can't without it being so unreadably vague, mostly concerning college drama. I also have some feelings at times about my beloved ragamuffins that would be disrespectful to post. But other than that, I'm pretty open. Many people know I blog, I just don't know if those people ever bother to read what I blog about.

I have a friend who just took down her blog because her boyfriend found it, along with posts on the other guys she liked and the angry vents of when they had fights where she called him a score of cursewords. You have to be smart about what you post, and I think you've done that well so far.

I love this blog because of the juiciness and the honesty of your writing, but in the end if you think its gonna hurt people you love or alienate those in the "real world", its really up to you whether to hold back or let it all flow. what cadiz said was right, this is supposed to be fun not work.

this was an excellent post Jazz. really one I could sink my teeth into and exercise my commenting skills.

9/12/2005 4:39 AM  
Blogger mrsmogul said...

I unfortunately told some friends and family about my blog and I regret it! Now I can't write the dirt! I can always not link you and then you can spread the word on mine? hehe :)

In New yawk now!

9/12/2005 10:02 AM  
Blogger marriedman said...

Ah yes, anonymity. I thought I had it, until I realized that hotmail will post your name on your emails, even when your email address doesn't have anything to do with your name. I feel honored to know your last name jazz. And I want you to know that unlike you, I have not tried to google you or anything else. Not that I mind that you googled me. I have an extremley boring life.

That being said, I think that your post brought up a great topic. I made the mistake of letting a co-worker (not JFTB) in on our little secret. And now I feel like at any moment I could get fired. I know that for you it's different, you don't blog (or at least I don't think you do) at work exclusivley. I can't do it at home. I am keeping up a different life as it were. But it is hard, I laugh all the time at blogs like Merkley???'s or Digi's. But I can't share them with anyone other than JFTB. I can't imagine what it would be like to have no one that you know to talk to it about. As you know, I tried to "retire" once before. Partly it was for this reason. I knew (due to my circumstances) that anonymity was key for me. It must be kept.

Please don't go though. I couldn't stand to not see those profile boobs.

9/12/2005 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i didn't tell any of my friends about my blog because i didn't htink they'd understnad why i had one, and i wanted to be able to write without a specific audience in mind. but then i realized that i wanted to that at least SOMEONE was reading what i had to say, and so i told one person. you don't have that reason to out yourself obviously, because you have a whole community of readers who love to see what you're up to (including me).
i can totally understand the feeling of wanting to talk about something that is becoming a bigger part of your life with your friends. you want to tell them what someone you know online wrote about but can't because then you have to explain where you heard it. or you want to share something funny that you read but they'll wonder where it came from. it's hard to keep something thats becoming more and more important to you from your friends.

so i guess it basically comes down to choosing whether you want to hold back in your writing or hold back something that seems to be important to you from your friends.

9/12/2005 3:22 PM  
Anonymous amber lynn said...

I think people have to realize the context of a blog if they know us in real life. This is a place where we blow off steam, say things we won't say otherwise. The people who read generally are not people who will know the real life people you write about. I once ran into this problem. I told the person who had a problem with what I wrote to stop reading. Life goes on. I still say what's on my mind. I still call a spade a spade.

9/12/2005 4:21 PM  
Blogger R. U. Serious said...

Trust me...don't out yourself. I have stories I can't tell because the people read my blog and there would be hell to pay. IT SUCKS!

9/12/2005 6:42 PM  
Blogger lucasjackson7 said...

jazz, reading your blog is a whirlwind of emotions and while i don't have any sisters, my older gay brother doesn't suffice.

thus your blog ensues. and details are a must.

laugh, joke around, cry, but don't get too serious about your blog...because then it wouldn't be a haven of fun.

also, please move to jersey, it seems to be the only affordable place to live if i venture to nyc.

9/12/2005 7:31 PM  
Blogger The Stormin Mormon said...

Jazz...

One person knows about my blog in my real life. He lives five hundred miles away, but he's been to my house, and I vacation with him. Of course this person is JodieFosterTurkeyBaster, and I think the odds of him using anything on my blog against me are slim... After all, his blog makes anything I say look like handing out Christmas presents to blind orphans.

You can be outed, just make sure you have enough dirt to bury those who know. :-)

9/12/2005 8:07 PM  
Blogger Gordy said...

My thoughts are fairly simple..your boos, what great boobs they are!

On the anon question..I have been "out" from the beginning, as my blog was a way to communicate with and keep my back home friends in the loop.

I actually ended up with more readers at work in the US, and new readers from my comments. The number of home readers is actually very low, but they do still exist.

I have to be careful what I post, and also who I link in case anyone might be offended..but then apart from my fondness of great boobs (nice one Jazz) I don't really have anything exciting to write about!

9/12/2005 10:33 PM  
Anonymous shan said...

Jazz...you don't seem like the type of person who finds herself in situations thinking, "Should I say this now, or will I offend?" Be as you in your blog as you are in life! Expressing yourself and having fun are held to limits set by you and only you...don't hold yourself back.

9/13/2005 7:42 AM  
Blogger geekdarling said...

It's easy enough to start another blog and notify only those that you wish to see it...
I have 3 blogs myself, and save one for the dirt!

9/14/2005 12:45 PM  

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