In recent days I have read much on the subject of blogging, the theory of blogging. As a newcomer to the ‘doing’ of blogging, although not necessarily new to the ‘being done unto’, I am of course, interested and keen to learn at the knee of the masters of the art. Sometimes, though, and almost despite yourself, you learn more from the clangers, those who do not yet know the eternal truth that, when one is in a hole, one really should stop digging; those who wander around the blogosphere wearing a big target on their backs and carrying a placard that says ‘Victim’. Then there are those who claim to be one thing but their every word, their every response to others, shows them to be something different.
Who are these people, you may well ask. I don’t know. I don’t actually care very much, but more importantly, I simply don’t know. The reason I don’t know is that in this world of t’internet we are all, like it or not, essentially anonymous. We can be who we want to be. This of course is how dodgy individuals can convince people that they have huge lottery winnings coming to them if only they will transfer a couple of grand for ‘administration’ and how a 45-year-old paedophile with halitosis can convince the 14-year-old girl he is grooming that she is conversing with the hottest 16-year-old boy on the planet.
‘But I give my name!’ you protest. So you say, and some of you are clearly and provably who you claim to be. Not all. Let’s face it, you could claim to be Pablo Picasso or the Queen of Denmark and someone would believe you. Some say that Archbishop Cranmer writes a blog. And he provides a photo! Can that be right?
Some of you use a pseudonym that your genuine (i.e. not internet) acquaintances will recognise (like ‘Mary’ or ‘John B.’), similarly there are those who use an obscure pseudonym but with their own photograph; both preserve a modicum of privacy for themselves and those about whom they write while still allowing for conversation with a wider audience.
Others, and I include myself, remain largely anonymous for all sorts of reasons. For me, not only does it give me the freedom to make the odd sardonic comment in my blog without anyone being personally offended or embarrassed but it also ensures that anyone that I have inadvertently upset does not turn up at my door wielding a machete. I live alone - this is important to me.
If it were not for the opportunity provided by some level of anonymity fewer people would be blogging and the world of the blog would be the poorer. The (almost) universally respected Church Mouse (may he soon return) might be inhibited by the responsibilities and obligations he might have to shoulder in real life, Drayton Parslow might not actually be a genuine Minister of Religion, which could undermine his message somewhat and Mr Cat O’Lick might not even be a cat, despite his picture, and what would that do to his credibility?
To those who are in holes and still digging, I would say that a bit of judicious anonymity could have made all the difference but it is too late now. Those with the targets on their back might still have time to put on a fresh jumper. Those who pretend to be kind and caring types but then lapse into the nasty world of the insult can never hide. They show their true colours, whoever they are - or say they are.