Amanda Hill always assumed she was writing for strangers. But then her local newspaper mentioned her blog and she was outed as a blogger.
Amanda realized that anonymous blogging was no longer an option for her. What she had assumed was a fairly clear-cut separation between her real-life identity and her blogger identity, was not so clear after all. The two worlds can and do collide.
Amanda said, in a blog that no longer exists: “I’m not sure how I feel about this really. I feel as if it adds a filter to my writing. A filter I didn’t have before, because hell, it was mainly complete strangers reading. I don’t feel like I can post as freely about certain things. And I wonder who is reading and how long they have been. (And if my neighbor that mows the yard in nuthuggers is reading, totally sorry I mocked you on the world wide web. But dude, get some pants that are less revealing.)”
Amanda’s post made me realize that I never even considered anonymous blogging. It never occurred to me to try and separate my online identity from my real life one. Online and offline, I am the same. When I blog, I use my real name and post my photos. My real-life friends and acquaintances know that I blog. Some are supportive. Others find it strange that I am exposing myself like that. Most are not into blogging and social media and are just not that interested. But Amanda is right: I do filter what I say here, because I know that people from my real life might read it.
Several topics are strictly off limits for me:
- I never complain about my neighbors or real-life friends and acquaintances.
- I never complain about my parents or my in laws.
- I never complain about my job, my boss or my colleagues.
When Amanda says, “It was mainly complete strangers reading,” I think she knows it was just an illusion. You never know who will read your blog. Yes, most of your readers are likely strangers. Some are close friends who will always support you. But a small percentage of them COULD be people you know and that are not necessarily supportive, and another small percentage are, as blogger Sweetney says, “weirdos and off-the-chart crazies.” You should keep that in mind too.
Photo credit: Pen Cap Chew