17 June 2010

Who Am I Hiding From?

I'm still trying to figure out what anonymity means in the blog world, and how anonymous I really am, and how anonymous I want to be. I don't use my name in this blog or in my profile, but really, come on. This is the Internet. If somebody wanted to find out who 'zoomdoggies' is, it wouldn't be hard. So who am I hiding from?

The majority of people who read this blog -- all four of them -- don't know me. We will probably never meet in person. Why do I need to be anonymous to people who don't know me anyway?

I don't. I'm hiding from people I know.

A lot of the stuff that comes up in this blog I wouldn't talk about with most of my family, friends, or acquaintances. It would feel extremely weird, being with them in person, knowing they had read some of these posts. I couldn't say why that is. It's not that they don't know I have MS. I mean, duh. Somehow, it's easy to expose the gory details to people I don't know and will never know. Sharing them with people I know is hard.

It's not that I try to keep the blog secret or anything. This is the Internet, for Pete's sake. I know Scarecrow reads it, and I admit I consciously try not to write anything that's going to piss him off. A couple-three friends know about it; people who, for one reason or another, I trust to read past all the MS and disability stuff and still be my friend. It seems rather a lot to ask, so I generally don't.

I think this came to mind today because I missed the chance to meet some Seattle bloggers, and a couple of not-Seattle bloggers, live and in person. It sounded like a fun get-together and I was really looking forward to it, but the stars just didn't line up. I'm mildly devastated, but I'm dealing with it.

Anyway, it got me thinking. From reading their blogs, I feel like I kind of know these people, even though I really don't. How would it feel once they went from being kind of anonymous to being people I've actually met in person? Even though I still don't know them, it would feel more like I do. Would thinking that people I actually know might be reading what I write change the kind of thing I'd be inclined to write about?

As it turns out, I won't have to confront that question just yet. Maybe I'll find out next time.


  1. Great post Zoom. I've thought about these questions a lot. I too have no illusions that someone could figure out who I am. However, I've been anonymous due to employment/disability issues more than anything. I keep thinking when things get clarified, I'll come out.

    My family knows about my blog and it's mostly my mother who reads it. It's a little odd but that bell has already been rung, so... A couple of friends follow it too. They're folks who've really been with me on the journey. However, there are a lot of friends with whom I wouldn't share it -- they just wouldn't get it.

    I too was looking forward to the blogger get-together and appreciate Lisa inviting this non-MS neuro-rheumo-wonk blogger. But the Mayo trip came up. And, yes, how would we perceive each other differently after meeting in person? Right now I think of you as a cool independent minded sans-TV, former folk musician/clogger with an affinity for unusual dogs with a dry sense of humor. I'd hate to ruin that ;)

  2. Try thinking of it more as a "nom de plume" rather than anonymity. Interesting how you see sharing information as a first person blogger. On the other hand as a caregiver spouse blogging evolved as a solution to the time demands to keep everyone else informed. One blog entry saved responding to multiple emails and/or phone calls. Family and friends seem to gravitate to the caregiver for questions and updates. Over time other people finding themselves in similar situations found their way to look in. Shared challenges and experiences make for a family whether real or cyber. What's in a name anyway?

    Caregivingly Yours, Patrick

  3. I just wrote about the same issue in a post on my blog a few days ago. Unlike you, though, none of my family or friends read it. I tell them it's just for MS people, and then I feel freer to say anything I want. Now, mind you, what I write is true, but I just want to have something that's all mine and not have to be held up to scrutiny by anyone. I like the people I meet here, and though I would love to meet them in person, I'm still a bit shy about even saying who I really am. So, for now, I'll remain anonymous.

  4. You are right if someone really wanted to find us LOL they could. I also censor some of the stuff I would write because I know who reads my blog.

    It would be fun to actually meet some of the bloggers I type back and forth with. I feel left out sometimes cause most of you all seem to be up there north of us Central Valley Calif wonks.

    I use my real first name now, videos so like duh if you know me you would recognize me. I guess I have stopped worrying as much about it.

  5. I know what you mean. Complete anonymity is an illusion, but I still feel more comfortable writing under my pseudonym. I did get up to meet the "Seattle Bloggers" at Diane's on Thursday, (and we missed you all!) and when I walked in I introduced myself as Webster! LOL! Then I re-introduced myself. And now that Google is cross-referencing Facebook and Twitter and all manner of sites - well, the anonymity gig will be up.

    Still, I think I'll stay with Webster on the Blog. She is who writes it.

  6. Hi
    I never thought about my blog as anonymous, I thought people who Commented as "Anonymous," were, but not ME. But look, that isn't my name on my blog, so I s'pose I am.

    I felt like I was attending Stellar's get-together, but now that you've told me that I'm anonymous (well, one of the anonymous ?), I think I would panic at meeting these people, and I never felt like that before I "became" anonymous...

    A get-together of "anonymi," now what was I going to say?

  7. Yeah...I know.

    I wasn't anonymous on my blog while married and he ended the marriage in a horrid manner. I thought we were "happily married" (HA!) but he had a different POV. Well...he should have told me before he got a girlfriend!

    Made for some weird days as a blogger, what could I say?? What could I reveal? How? Not only that, he was arrested for felony assault at-risk because he threw me head first on the bathroom floor after following me home from a failed attorney settlement. I still have problems with my teeth and that's why I need a root canal.

    But how much do you say? He still posts comments on my blog even though I have a restraining order. I don't post the comments on my blog because I win by not giving him voice.

    I understand what you are talking about.