Anonymity? Whatcha talkin’ ’bout?

I’ve discovered that the only person who actually thinks I’m anonymous is myself. Apparently, the Dr. Seuss post has been making the rounds with my name tagged on, ‘net acquaintances don’t even attempt to obfuscate how they know me, and young singles sitting around at weddings dissecting their favorite Bad4 posts chirp “speaking of the devil” when I walk through the doors.

I really don’t know how Hannah Montana pulls it off.

Seriously, what am I to think when an offline acquaintance leaves a table of young ladies, comes over, and says, “They all seem to know you over there.”

Me: “Really?” looks over and hardly recognizes a face.

Her: “Yeah, they were saying some interesting things about you.”

Me: “Really?”

Her: “Very interesting things.”

Me: “Really? Like what?”

Her: “Oh, is that OldPal over there? Catch you later.”

Or how about this one, from a random person in a random place at a random time: “So I heard you have a blog?”

Me: “Wha-at?”

Since there’s been some chatter in the threads about bleedover between blogging and real life, I thought I’d mention: Hey, people – I’m anonymous. At least let’s pretend, okay?

So, how has blogging affected my life?

Not drastically. I still rise early, study hard, eat a lot of chocolate, and occasionally go on dates, sometimes even good ones.

Then again, I’ve gotten some of my best dates via fellow internet denizens. And, recently, I’ve realized that the ‘net is the only reason I still have friends to hang out with.

Sad but true.

Is it just me, or are Real Life people less flexible than internet ones? I officially gave up on getting together with my high school/seminary friends after a very frustrating attempt at throwing a Chanukah party. Some of them I can still catch one-on-one, with appointments scheduled weeks ahead and confirmed several times up to the hour before, but after a while you wonder if it’s worth the effort. Heck, for all I know they’re avoiding me.

Internet people, on the other hand, never seem to have much else to do. I dunno why it is. It’s not like they haven’t got school and jobs. But for some reason they’re willing to make the effort to hang out. This dichotomy requires further study – I’m going to add it to my list of potential Ph.D thesis topics.

Finally, the question – do I tell my dates about my blog? Heck no. There are already enough smug men out there casually tossing out, “Oh Bad4? Sure – we’ve been out,” some of them even accurately. (And some not soย accurately. I stopped keeping track of how many other people are me a long time ago.) I’m saving that revelation for the “skeleton in the closet” conversation, where he confesses to nervous eating and plastic tablecloths, and I confess to compost and blogging.

Though I do wonder if I’m really anonymous on dates. Especially when I’m set up by online people. How do they explain knowing me?

But no guy has ever pointed and laughed, “Ha ha! You outted yourself. That story is from Bad4’s post on comparative matchmaking.” Neither has a guy ever mentioned anything he read here or confessed to reading blogs at all. Possibly I don’t date the crowd who reads me. Or maybe they’re saving it for the skeleton-in-the-closet conversation. “I know… I knew all along…I’m an obsessive reader.”

Now that would be creepy. I mean, it’s amazing what people can keep hidden when they think it’s bad for shidduchim.


32 thoughts on “Anonymity? Whatcha talkin’ ’bout?

  1. You’d be surprised. I think one of the biggest problems with “anonymous” bloggers is that they’re extremely easy to identify. I mean, if you tell a funny story to your date, and that story is also featured your blog, how hard could it be to verify that you are the blogger? A trek through a few more of your posts would probably confirm your identity, when he finds a few more references to things you mentioned on the date. It’s really not that hard.

    That being said, most guys are not nearly as perceptive as girls (not to mention the intense-yeshiva-bochur non-blog-reading-types) and I think that girls probably identify their blogger dates well before a guys.

  2. How long did you have the blog before a reader admitted to knowing you? So far I think I’m still anonymous, although if anyone who knows me in the real world saw my blog they would almost instantly identify me. Fortunately most people I know are not “internet types”, the best chance I have of being identified would be by a date.

  3. BJG, you’d be surprised how much time these “not internet types” spend on the web…

  4. “Admitted”? Are you kidding? I was getting calls from long-lost acquaintances informing me that they’d found a blog that could only have been written by me. A classmate’s mother, who I never met in my life, decided it was written by me, and the classmate complimented me on it at a wedding without even first confirming that it was indeed mine. Nobody seemed to feel they needed a confessional to accuse me of blogging. And most weren’t internet types either. At least, they never answer their emails when I try to get together with them.

  5. Interesting, I would have though it’s more likely that people would just talk about it behind your back. I would prefer that people told me if they found my blog, I just imagine that they would be uncomfortable doing that b/c of the nature of the things I’ve posted about. In my case they wouldn’t need to confirm it’s my blog, it’s fairly obvious. Anyone who cared enough to put in the effort could find out who I was fairly easily, so I guess it’s a good thing I never write anything embarrassing ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. You “outed” yourself in a big way a while ago.
    Email me if that’s not enough info for you to figure it out on your own. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    p.s. Your anonymity is TOTALLY safe with me and I’m happy to “pretend” ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. And then just think how easily I have found so much personal info about you including part where you seem have upset/sad/offended when I didn’t even mean to find that particular piece of info. You think if someone was searching intentionally they wouldn’t succeed?

  8. I worry about these things as well. I’ve had two friends confide that they know it’s me (and thankfully they’re not blabbing), while another YU guy inquired if I would reveal my identity (I didn’t). I am careful about what I post and how I post it (fictionalizing details here and there) and not to write about the stories and very identifiable elements of my background (which would be instantly recognizable for people who know me) in order to keep my anonymity as long as I can. So far, so good…

  9. Thank you so much for answering my request with this post! Very interesting how people can figure out its you. If it makes you feel better, i have no idea who you are, but then again i am totally out of the loop of everything. You should try telling a guy about the blog just to see his reaction or if her knows about it. I would love to hear how that went.

  10. I know – I’ve “outted” a couple of times. But only to people who knew about it. And there’s no reason to put it on billboards for the rest of the world.

  11. This is so interesting. It’s something i was thinking of recently, actually after reading the criteria of the bad for shidduchim club. I was wondering if publishing a blog in your real name counted for anything. This sounds like you may be answering my question! Sounds like i might qualify for VIP status!
    Why are we all so nervous about covering our virtual footprints? Ever notice how on frum blogs/websites very few commenters (Is that a word?) dare put their real names!! Why do we let others control us in this way? Shouldn’t we be free to be ourselves and have our own opinions? (But I guess I’m just as much of a victim! though I do have a blog in my real name :))

  12. I prefer that my name not google with my blog, for starters. Or my blog not google with my name, actually. But otherwise, the idea of having my name tossed about just makes me nervous – or shy. Or both. It’s basically losing control of your name in a way that surpasses even handing out your shidduch profile on streetcorners.

  13. …thanks to ProfK for helping me figure this one out: It’s not that I’ve lost my anonymity – because I don’t really care. It’s the bleedover, where people look at me and see Bad4, or approach me to talk about Bad4’s blog. Especially since people make assumptions about me based on Bad4. (For starters, everyone always laughs when I protest that I really don’t think about dating all that much. As if I have time to think about dating with the kind of homework that’s on my plate.)

    Anonymous – there’s nothing in your address field.

  14. Unless someone knows your name, googling either won’t show the other. I actually really hear your point, though personally, I think that having your name tossed around based on what you’ve written is the opposite of losing control over it. (I’ve often told people it’s part of why I’m *not* anonymous. My writing is somewhat of a reflection of part of me, though on the flip side, my blog is not one-topic focused and therefore doesn’t imply I’m like that.)

    Itโ€™s the bleedover, where people look at me and see Bad4, or approach me to talk about Bad4โ€™s blog. Especially since people make assumptions about me based on Bad4.

    That’s actually interesting. Of the people we both know, I don’t know of one that thinks of you in daily life as primarily Bad4, and I don’t recall your blog coming up at all when you were around. As for assumptions, the more the people *do* know you in real life the less they tend to associate or assume things about you based on this blog.

  15. What about the blog-persona that exists as a function of this website? Your readers are acquainted with a certain character, the set of whose most intimate details begin and end with the posts on this blog. It’s like a parallel you! I wonder what kind of ramifications that has in real life? If someone reads your whole blog until they know it backwards and forwards, then they meet you, does their acquaintance with blog-you become part of their knowledge of you? What if they never meet you – when they think of Bad4 and all her thoughts and questions, are they thinking of a real person? I guess it’s a lit-theory question, but diaries and blogs complicate the question more than say, reading all the novels of some author then meeting that person.

    I suppose a simple answer is to say that the posts on your blog represent a zillion just-started-conversations, waiting for response. Actually, that may be quite a good answer. No one should purport to know much about you from this blog, but reading it certainly awakens a certain ethic of responsiveness. Interesting.

  16. 1. confident atara: I don’t know ’bout that. I’ve never been out with a girl who had the slightest interest in blogs, and I don’t have any male friends who have any interest in them either (besides this one dude who enjoys an accasional “dovBear” post), so..

  17. Haven’t read through the comments so I don’t know how other people know you – but I saw your name when you blogged about CL.
    No idea who you are in real life, though it’s not surprising since you probably never leave NY. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. Haven’t a clue as to Bad4’s identity, but I either know Shades of Grey or a close friend of his whose life details he’s used.

  19. Ditto to number 24. Though in addition, your blog did come up on a date of mine (we were having a rather intense discussion about internet use), and it turned out my date was/is a friend of yours.

  20. Don’t think so. She didn’t correct me, and I know from the CL post, so unless *that* was under a nom de plume… Paranthetically, there’s a little essay she wrote that would make a nice (serious) guest post.

  21. I really enjoy being anonymous – I can curse like a sailor and no one knows it’s me except those that can recognize my baby picture. At the same time, though, I have had an instance where I ended up with my foot in my mouth. I was ranting about a pregnant friend of mine who was going completely overboard with the drama and I got sick of hearing about it, so I vented. She found the post, and instead of confronting me, she just completely cut me off (I suppose someone who is cowardly enough to do that isn’t worth a friendship), so meh. At least that’s MY experience with being “anonymous”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s