Monday, 3 September 2012

A note on anonymity

 (If you're short on time, skip to the final paragraph)

I enjoy writing blog posts for several reasons. Firstly, it's genuinely a fun thing to do. Seriously, I encourage you all to give it a try, you'd be surprised! It's actually quite a creative endeavour and being creative is something I'm not normally good at. Like, at all. I can't draw to save my life, I hated having to write stories in school, I can't play music well, etc. But I can write in what comes across as (hopefully) an engaging and mildly interesting manner. Also, blogging is very cathartic..it's amazing stress relief. I spend about 30-60 minutes on each post and by the time I've uploaded it, I already feel like a small weight has been lifted off my mind. The opportunity to reflect on recent events, make sense of what's happened and opine on the future is something I really cherish. So as you can see, I write for many different reasons.

The thing that makes writing on here possible, however, is knowing that I'm anonymous and that my audience are anonymous to me. I'll try and explain the importance of this two-way relationship. The way I write on here is different to the way I speak with my parents, grandparents, friends or anyone else. It's a pretty unique aspect of my life and possibly one of the few arenas where I'm very open about some things which are normally only resident in my own mind. However, this only happens because you, the reader, are not my mum, granddad or best friend. You're someone I don't know at all and have not met. It is therefore easy to write in an open way without feeling judged. So as you can see, it works because you don't know who I am and I don't know who you are.

In this day and age however, it is very easy for anyone with an internet connection, too much time and stalkerish tendencies to do a bit of "digging" and unearth everything about me (or other bloggers) from my real name and hometown right down to my academic timetable! To be fair, I haven't made any attempt to totally anonymise this blog...if I did that I wouldn't be able to give away any details and that would be a bit boring wouldn't it? So therefore, I put some stuff on here which I know full well can give me away...but I do it with the (perhaps naive, given past experiences) hope that people aren't looking to "expose" me.

I've never made a request of my readers before, but now I'm going to break with tradition: if you think you know who I am, please keep it to yourself. Please don't do what some people on my BSc did and organise a "let's find out who the guy behind that blog is" hunt or similar. It made me feel extremely uncomfortable and meant I had edit out a load of stuff...and worst of all, I felt watched and like I could no longer write openly on here. I only feel comfortable writing when I know that I'm able to do it anonymously, so please heed this request and don't ruin the fun for me!

Much appreciated.