A Rose By Any Other Name…

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week asks:-

How do you feel about online anonymity? Do you believe that when people are hiding their real world identity, it encourages them to misbehave or to be offensive? Or does it allow people to reveal who they really are or possibly who they would choose to be and act all the time if they could?

When I first started blogging I didn’t use my real name or any real personal identifiers at all, although at the time I was actually on FaceBook wholly as myself, which seems in hindsight to be a bit counter-intuitive on my part – but in my defense it was as much beginner’s caution as anything else, a fear of the unknown. I was testing the waters and wanted to hide behind that degree of separation until I was sure what I was doing, and that I would continue blogging.

Eight years on and this is currently my fourth blog on WordPress, and having been more and more open about myself with every new blog I now comfortably use my first name online, but not my surname, and from time to time have posted random images of myself, too. Personally I just find it easier to feel like I’m being genuinely ‘me’ online, but I do try to be careful not to use names of family members, etc. So I suppose I try to protect my identity in some ways while being open about it in others.

Incidentally FaceBook and I parted company acrimoniously several years ago, not long after it floated itself on the stock market and changed from being a useful online tool to help me keep in touch with others to becoming an intrusive means of aggressively making money for itself at all costs – too many deliberately obstructive algorithms for my liking, too much about what benefited FaceBook and too little about what benefited me. Ultimately I deleted my account completely and would never ever consider going back to such a self-serving platform.

Basically my current blog on WordPress is my only online presence. As I said FaceBook and I long ago parted company and I’ve just never felt the need to join in with Twitter or Instagram or Snap-Chat orTik-Tok or whatever else is out there. For now this is it for me, so I’ll have to base my answer solely on my experience of blogging here on WordPress over the last few years…

I think there’s a big difference between someone being authentically themselves online while simply using a pseudonym, and someone creating a virtual persona that is deliberately false in all things (like for sexual grooming purposes, for example). I have no issue with a blogger using a pseudonym as a means of protecting their real-world identity. Or even a blogger creating an online character based on some particular aspect of life they choose to write about (I can think of one blogger I’ve followed for years who blogs as a very believable character, but not as themselves per se) as long as they are perfectly open about and consistent in what they are doing.

And for me, I suppose that is the crux of the matter. I don’t want to feel like I’m being hoodwinked by anyone. For a blogger to ring true in all things there has to be enough of a genuine human being that appeals to me behind the blog persona to let me want to follow them in the first place. Enough continuity to ensure the virtual person behind the blog appears ‘real’ in the basic essentials, regardless of the name they choose to use. So I suppose what I’m saying is ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ in that someone’s underlying character or personality or whatever needs to shine through no matter what name they choose to call themselves online, real or otherwise.

So to that end I always like to be able to read an ‘About’ page on any blog, preferably giving a little information on the blogger and their reasons for blogging, at least enough to set the background context for their posts. Of the bloggers I follow, some are male, some are female, some are older, some are younger. Personally I tend to follow people who, like myself, are just blogging randomly about life in general, posting images or poetry or opinions or rants about family and politics and the crazy world we live in. And it seems many in my little blogging community seem to be around my generation, there or thereabouts, even without specific ages being stated.

I’m sure there are many deeply offensive bloggers out there hiding their inferiority complexes behind their virtual anonymity, but I tend to keep away from them and if they try to troll my blog they just get their nasty comments deleted without a second thought other than a brief ‘Get lost, loser’ running through my head. I feel there are enough fuck-wit forums out there for them to get their kicks aplenty without defiling my blog space.

I do worry that social media space has been left to develop unfettered for far too long as a mouthpiece for partisan poison, but I don’t feel that anonymity alone is the problem here. And anyway some of the most vile and venomous vitriol comes direct from the people who are most proud to stand up on their spurious soap-box and spout their narrow-minded nastiness to all and sundry. After all one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and there’s no accounting for taste.

So to sum up, I have no more problems with someone blogging anonymously than with someone who chooses to use their own real name. What I do have a problem with is someone being offensive in their choice of blog content, and in my experience the two are not necessarily linked…

Prompts Coming Together

Sometimes I take my hat off to the spectacular synchronicity of the WordPress gods – it’s already 8pm and a bit late in the day for me to be looking at my blog for the first time today, and what do I find? The Word of the Day challenge is ‘ebb’ and the Ragtag Daily Prompt is ‘flow’ – perfectly matched! πŸ™‚

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Hat

April A-Z 2022: Reflections

Yay! I did it! All 26 letters of the alphabet in order, posted on time, and on the correct days… success!

And I managed to check out most A-Z posts of most of the bloggers I already follow – what a diverse set of themes they had this year, I really enjoyed keeping up with all their interesting takes on the challenge πŸ™‚

But not so good was my new blog checking out from the master list… I started out reasonably well but as ever things soon tailed off and by the end of the month I’d given up completely… 😦

Time is always a big issue for me, I choose to give only a set amount of time to blogging so have to prioritise and prefer to keep up with all daily posts from bloggers I already know, not just those doing the A-Z challenge.

I had fun though, and will no doubt try again next year! πŸ™‚

April A-Z: B is for Blogging

I’ve been blogging on WordPress for the last eight years, and in that time have had four consecutive blogs although this current one is the only one to remain floating around in the ether – the others have all been deleted along the way. I just blog about the everyday stuff of life, and I like to read other personal blogs in a similar vein. I’m really interested in finding out more about the people behind them, what they think, what they see, what they do, and I really love the feeling of community and connection I get from blogging – thank you, blog family, for just being out there in the blogosphere!

Life events have conspired to pull me away from blogging over the last couple of months, and the idea of taking part in this year’s April Blogging from A-Z Challenge seems like a good way to try to get back into the habit of reading and posting regularly. Originally I thought of just using any old random words to go with the particular letter of the day, but realistically without a clear theme to work towards I’m not sure I’d be able to keep my focus for a full month… So instead I’ve opted for a relatively simple, if slightly self-indulgent work-around: This year I’ll be posting 26 things about me, nothing too taxing to write about yet still fulfilling the brief!

SOCS: April A-Z Challenge

I usually love to take part in the annual April Blogging from A-Z Challenge, but this year I’m just not sure if I have the mental energy to give it the thought and time it deserves.

Life has become quite complicated for me lately and blogging has inevitably taken a back seat while I attend to the real life family issues unfolding in the background, so if I did attempt to take part I’m really not sure I’d be able to complete the entire challenge?

I suppose I could always reduce the complexity of it all by choosing a far simpler theme compared to previous years? One that needs far less forward planning and much less research? After all it’s not a competition, and it might be easier just to compose shorter daily posts on the fly?

I’m not sure yet what I’ll do, maybe instead of signing up formally I’ll just wait and see what April brings, and take it from there, day by day? πŸ™‚

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Comp

Family First

Didn’t mean to disappear without notice for the last three weeks, just have some urgent family stuff going on that inevitably takes priority over everything else at the moment… Will be back blogging soon enough when life calms down again, see you all on the other side… πŸ™‚

Stuff I Share…

My blog is a place I share stuff… personal stuff, everyday stuff, overall life stuff… thoughts and feelings. I like that level of sharing, photographs I take and poems I write and experiences and opinions and the occasional rant and just… I don’t know… a general commentary on my very ordinary existence, day by day. I don’t share everything, of course, that would be creepy. But what I do choose to share is real.

My favourite blogs to follow tend to share the same kind of everyday things as I do. Some blogs are more image based, some are poetry based, and some just share the same kind of ongoing everyday life stuff as I do. There’s just something human that connects us when we know someone’s name, and what they look like, and where on the planet they live. And the longer we stay connected through our blogs, the better we get to know each other.

My blog content inevitably changes along with my reality – when I first began blogging I lived in a one-bed flat in London with no outside space at all, and now I live in a three-bed bungalow in Inverness in the North of Scotland with a garden front and back, so of course I now have a completely different lifestyle. And over the last 20-odd months we’ve all had to adapt to the global Covid pandemic, too. Lives change, circumstances change, and so our blogs change, too.

As a result what I share on my blog depends mostly on what’s going on in my life, how busy (or not) I am, and how I’m feeling about things going on around me. Sometimes I share quite a lot, but at other times, not so much. Some days I’m just more chatty than others, and on some days I just want to hide away from the world and shut everyone and everything out.

So I may as well take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone for sharing my blog with me, and for giving me the opportunity to share yours with you, too… Here’s to all of us keeping on blogging! πŸ™‚

Weekly Prompt: Sharing