Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Anonymity, obscurity and the importance of being a blogger

In a piece called ‘Bye Bye Blogger’, the New York Times interviews Lee Siegel, whose blog for The New Republic met with an unhappy ending after he was found to deceive readers by commenting anonymously on his own blog, shooting direct daggers at his enemies and basically telling everyone, in so many words, that he was God’s gift to the blogosphere. A couple of comments Siegel made about bloggers made me think of my own experience in the field of blogging so far:

Q: (…)don’t you think it’s intellectually lame to express one’s opinions

A: I do indeed. Everyone seems to be fleeing from the
responsibilities that come from being who you are. I think that is why the
blogosphere is thriving. It allows people to develop a fantasy self.

Some things I’d like to say in response to this: It is true that I don’t use my real name to blog, just like many others who write witty, entertaining, and/or personal blogs (a few of whom are on my list to the right of this page) but I am certainly not using the blogosphere to create a fantasy self, or alter-ego. I suppose I started out wanting to be anonymous, yes, because I thought (quite naively) that it would give me the freedom to write about things that may be controversial, or even boring (seriously, at that point I did not want to be blogging with the expectation of writing purely about my political views, for example, not that that is necessarily what people would have expected of me) and I would have been able to defend my viewpoints without having to wade through the baggage that others may have had of who I am through their interactions with me in the real world. But that, of course, is no longer true because most of the people I know who read this blog, are actually people I know in real life as well so my Master Plan turned out to be a damp squib :-) Why have I not yet revealed who I am then, you may ask? I guess now it’s just a matter of having got used to being Wanderstruck. And besides, it’s a free world, right?!

And he also says this:

Q: Anonymous bloggers are also saddled with obscurity, which I doubt you would
similarly glorify.
A: That’s right. In their case, anonymity is obscurity’s
rash. At least for those who practice incessant character assassination, which
represents a good portion of the blogosphere, they vent out of the pain of being
My thoughts: I know there are people who do leave character-assassinating anonymous comments, but I am not one of those. And as far as anonymous people being obscure is concerned, I’m OK with being obscure to the larger blogging world. Doesn’t bother me in the least! And besides, I may become famous yet!

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