Rivalry, Imports, & Anonymity

0225: Back to You

WordPress and Blogger can’t handle volumes of content. It’s like a friendship that is not. It did import all my other blogs (with <30-odd posts) but broke down when it had to import 200+ from Gaizabonts. Doesn’t matter; I got most of them. Healthy rivalry is just a phrase – I guess – in reality. Or, obviously, I did something wrong.
Did I lose something important? Now, unless I have a comparison tool – I will never know. Rest assured – I won’t try. I know February 2006 didn’t get imported and WordPress wasn’t able to restore the BlogSpot template back to what it was – so that section looks like I don’t know the <p> and <br> tags at all.

Doesn’t matter.

WordPress doesn’t know who I am – neither does Blogspot. I am just an ID to either of them. Who I am – matters to the people who visit my either blog (including those who are getting used to Gaizabonts on WordPress). Therefore this question of identity.

End of the day, I am an ID; I am an IP address, I am a blogger. I saw two serious posts about the merits and demerits of anonymous blogging here and here. I know some anonymous bloggers – I like their blogs. Actually there are three types of bloggers I know. Anonymous, semi-anonymous, and non-anonymous. (What’s the opposite of anonymous?) Their degree of anonymity hasn’t deterred me from going to their blog – neither has their anonymity every made me want to know their ‘real’ identity. Eradicate that anonymity; and it gives even more perspective to what I read.

I have always wondered: why blog anonymously – so I left a comment on one such post. The reason to remain anonymous – is protection – of some sort – you have of course seen Eraser and the likes. Don’t get me wrong – I love pseudonym-based writing – it is an alternate ego – which needs to be expressed. My blog doesn’t say something insipid like “Blog of Atul Sabnis”: Gaizabonts is an alter ego – of sorts. I submit – I tried anonymous blogging (and of course this is just me), but I found it futile. I found my writing there very similar to what I write here. I mean, apart from using four-letter words with ease, starting with the sixth letter in the alphabet. I wondered if that was the only freedom of being anonymous – I didn’t get a convincing answer. There may be more – I haven’t experienced those forms of freedom. Using names that are one lettered – is of no use either. I could as well use one here – but to protect some one else’s identity.

Our deepest and darkest secret of all – is the one that never finds expression. It is for us to keep – live with it; deal with it. Even in an anonymous blog – will your darkest secret find expression? All else is a pretty open book. Most anonymous bloggers should go through their blog – and see where they are compromising someone else’s identity. They don’t – most of them don’t. I have known (and keep visiting) some sincere anon or otherwise bloggers – they take a life experience and present it without any colour – open for debate and interpretation.

A psychiatrist friend of mine may have a completely different take on this (S, don’t get into this)

There is enough flak as it is about bloggers from the media – we are apparently people who can’t make it to a tea party with Arundhati Ghosh or we are just sulking. Let them be – for an industry that has sacrificed punctuation to convenience, I’ll rest my case. Whether all bloggers are writers who never got the publisher’s contracts or are opportunists – doesn’t matter. The media? Ignore them – their ability to match anything that is even Web 0.9 is a huge doubt. Read an online article on the website of the largest circulating paper in India – you will know what I mean. What part is the ad? What part is the article? If you ever decipher – let me know. They don’t feed us news – they feed ads. One RSS feed states: “PM’s grandsons may be discharged on Saturday” – sometimes I wonder if they have one reporter (who potentially blogs anonymously) per RSS feed. (Three feeds in three hours about the grandsons?)

It is a cultural phenomenon – finally. What you can do in front of the world – can you do it in your blog? That is the Q. The answer is – probably not. And that is all right. This is not about guts – it is about choice. For anyone to remain anonymous or not – is a factor of their own release from the clutches of cultural confinement.

As I finish this post (for some time now), only one thought keeps raising its hand for attention: we have enough problems dealing with the one identity we have.

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18 thoughts on “Rivalry, Imports, & Anonymity

  1. Me successfully imported all the posts from blogger..but i had some problems with the pic posts..Wordpress’s gud..but the only thing is it cannot support javascript codes..
    apart from using four-letter words with ease, starting with the sixth letter in the alphabet...haha..A high quality of decency?
    And why should the average reader care about the opinion of someone who cannot identify themself?

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  2. To re-iterate my point and also add to what you’re saying, a blog is like creating a new person. You might take entirely from yourself and create an analog of your real-world self on the blogsphere. Or you might choose to show only certain aspects of your real self and give them such heightened expression that they seem to exist as a different personality altogether (this is where I fall). Or finally you may create an almost entirely fictitious persona (and yes, it is possible to do this, I’ve done it elsewhere).

    The reasons for each of these are different. I don’t feel any moral compulsions about presenting my real face to the blogsphere. In some manner this is art (personal expression in any case) and art means different things to different people. To me it means the freedom to be whatever you want to be. That’s not something the real world gives me and hence here I am.

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  3. Also, congratulations on making the shift. I experienced a few glitches as well, when I moved from blogger to wordpress. I suggest going through the import process all over again. Of course, you’ll then lose this post and all the new comments. But that’s not as bad as losing half of your earlier posts.

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  4. opposite of anonymous is famous. :))
    anyways, i think people who blog anonymously are people who are afraid/not ready their voice to be known as theirs. My blogging is a social exercise. I get to know various strains of thought. My blogging isn’t intended to catapult me to a Jeffrey Archer range (not that i would like it). But there is some serious qulaity stuff happening on the ‘sphere, and the brick and mortar reporter guys on the outside are getting a little jittery about the uncontrollable competition gnawing at them.

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  5. Atul,so mnay aspects come under anonymous blogging,i believe..One can defend it ane one cannot!It can be good or it can be bad..
    People sometimes say things in e-mail that they’d never say face-to-face.Perhaps that same person is more likely to think they can hide behind a blog and say whatever they want.
    If the content of the speech is worthy (according to some loose calculus of political, aesthetic or moral value) and if the reason for using a non de plum is to protect the author from unreasonable consquences, the anonyminty is not necessarily a problem.
    However, using anonymity to say nasty things about people without having to face public censure, (which is quite different from public censorship), is neither noble nor fair.

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  6. ==Abaniko:
    No – it doesn’t matter. In fact – it even doesn’t matter whether the posts are truthful or not – come to think about it – as long as you believe, you will read – if you don’t believe or don’t like what you read – you will not read. Like IdeaSmith says ahead, it is an artistic expression – and I agree.

    ==Ganga: You are just lucky! 😛 You obviously entered the 200+ club before I did. You know – I like it that you can’t do much with the WP blog in terms of javascript and all – because then you are able to focus on blogging. Two things I miss most are blogging through email and posting pictures through Picassa

    The use of profane language has its own value in terms of expression. I am not against the use of profane language – in fact it does put the point across very well in certain circumstances. And regard identity of the blogger – I’d still care (you would too) if you like what you read. Am sure some of them in your blogroll are anonymous (at least to the rest of the world?). This post was more because I felt there was a ‘to be or not to be’ kind of a situation in the two posts I linked. And my post was just a questions really – a really long drawn one 🙂

    ==IdeaSmith:
    I agree with the personality perspective that you have given. I don’t think there is any issue about a moral compulsion of revealing identity. In fact morality doesn’t come in here anywhere. In being anonymous – it seems (because of personality perspective), it is easier to de-link the ‘real’ person from the expression that is the blog. And I more than agree that it is an artistic expression – and being anonymous when expressing is not a blog phenomenon – writing under ‘pen-names’ has existed since writing began.

    The question in the post was stirred because of, “It is the old dilemma of anonymity versus openness.” And the concept of being judged (a post coming up on that – one argument is pending)

    And thank you! Yes, I am enjoying it here, I guess – I did get back most of my posts – the ones that I didn’t – I’ll just manually import them – or blog them as reposts.

    ==Appu:
    Ah! Yes, anonymous comments! Early this year I did a tag about them here. And yes, I think the response from the media is not as analytical as I would expect it to be. 🙂 Some of the most vociferous comments have been anonymous – unfortunately – where such a voice and identity is required, there isn’t any!

    ==Praveena:
    Welcome! 🙂

    Is there a need – basically to defend anonymity? It is a conscious choice – so obviously there is good reason behind it. Anonymous writing, then, is not bad in itself, it is possibly a neutral standpoint to present a point of view.

    In short, I agree 🙂

    And I agree, being nasty under anonymity is just sick – reeks of fear…

    PS: You will have to tell me someday what non de plum stands for 🙂

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  7. yeah.Without those javascript and all,may be i’m able focus on blogging!!
    Your views on using profane language’re right..It’s quite strong at sometimes..I said it because i liked ur way quoting without telling the actual word..
    And caring for what your readers read is the right kind of blogging,i feel..me dint read those two posts previously..And i completely agree with your comment over there..

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  8. I think its not non de plum, but nom de plume, meaning pen name. Praveena has to confirm. :))
    Yes, i saw a couple of anonymous comments in Nicks site (saintnickbytes.blogspot.com, when he wrote about islam and the terrorism. they were pretty acidic, but remarkable like guerillas. Hiding between mountain and crying foul. :))
    I was actually thinking whether i should or not sign my blog with my actual name. Well, what the heck, i am a real person, and these thoughts to a large extent are real, so why not a real blog. But 90% of my browsing is on anon blogs, and i enjoy them. they are what they are.
    So *rising of glasses* heres to each his own.

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  9. ==Ganga:
    Thank you! I agree – the moment your blog is in teh public domain – you hav readers – and you have to be aware that people will read, will infer.

    ==Appu:
    Thank you – I think that’s what Praveena meant. (hadn’t heard of that either!) Of course, to each his own, cheers!

    🙂

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  10. interesting shares..”real” is also conjecture..is not the ‘self” itself a “concept”?a name and its’ myriad associations, conditioned and otherwise…

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  11. ==N:
    Fair enough 🙂 Like I said earlier – i am not insisting that identity be revealed or that anything similar. I still don’t think it is ‘weird’.

    The post and the info that you linked to, is interesting. i think it just boils down to (a) personal choice of how much you want to reveal yourself and (b) what you want to write in your blog. I’ll admit, i found the Google search thing a bit funny. YOu may get to know personal things abt a person, but to determine personality through a blog? akin to relying on graphology, star signs, and palmistry. 🙂

    This is not about guts – it is about choice.

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  12. Funny I think this is the first time I have actually given though to what you have written here. I wish I had paid as much attention to this post earlier. It would have helped me understand my own blog better.

    I think I belong to the semi-anon category. I am still finding myself.

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  13. ==EU:
    Glad! 🙂

    You will continue finding a different yourself as you go along. One mark of that, is who starts reading your blog and who stops reading your blog!

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