i woke up the other morning wondering about it. do anonymous commenters have a different psychology to others on blogger and other blog forums?
then I got to thinking about all of us. how we operate as a group, as a community.
i’m interested in the idea of the connections we make, beyond the self-expression, the self-indulgence, the spew of ideas onto screen. for me, this is a way to write every day. i’m hooked, i’m addicted, i really am. i don’t think i’m alone. the moment when i start to go through my blogroll and check in on people, it’s a feeling like i’m a teacher and i am checking my world. there is a certain order in the way i visit. i go to mine first, then i work upwards from my saved favourites. i start at the bottom, and depending on how much time i have, usually not much, i skip people who i have saved. but there are guaranteed visits to most of the people who i have linked to.
once i’ve completed the cycle, i may re-visit a couple, because it can take over an hour to make my tour.
i’m interested in identity too. i’ve noticed that lots of americans use photos of themselves. then there are the people who have used pics of real people, but it’s not them. (jess? i’m right, aren’t i?) then there are the ones who have chosen completely out-of-context pics (fluffy, for example). then there are the ones who cross-gender (monsieur maze) with their pictorial self-representations.
some people write in a non-gendered way, so that it takes a while to figure out whether they are male or female. i wonder whether this is on purpose too, or some sort of unconscious act.
others log in simply as anonymous, without even a made-up name. what does this mean, psychologically speaking? are these people ones who need to really disassociate from their thoughts, ideas and comments from even a semblance of a person? what i mean is, why can’t they create a name, even one that is meaningless, and then comment? do they need the freedom of being anonymous to comment without reserve? do they still hold back?
i know that i hold back, a lot. but it doesn't affect the content, if that makes sense. what i hold back is the minutiae (sometimes, not always) and the truly intimate (also, not always.) so even though i am virtually anonymous, by using a pseudonym i have created an identity for myself, and this identity i don’t want to sully, beyond silly postings about driving turbo cars etc. i don't want people to think badly of melbournegirl. how fucked is that? well, that is me, after all.
some people write purely from the impersonal stance. i have to admit, i don’t visit these people often. i need the personal, because for me it is mostly about connection, and that human experience. other qualities that attract me to certain blogs are their entertainment value, whether they make me laugh, whether there is a dialogue going on about something I care about, or whether there is just a shooting-the-breeze conversation that is amusing. it can be politics, or base humour, or chou-chou frippery. it's hard to define what attracts me. it's like a personal scent, an odour. it's a very individual thing.
i try not to over-comment. i feel that you can become annoying and boring and like a person that you are sick of at school, always popping up. and by saying you, i mean me. i feel that some bloggers create exclusivity well by simply not commenting heaps. not that i want to be exclusive, but i also want to avoid being ubiquitous. it’s so dull and predictable.
responding to comments
i want to say that i don't always respond to comments. it depends how i feel, how i react, and how much time i've got. usually not much. and as i see the hours stretching out, like right now, when i want to be in bed, or writing my thesis, and i'm fucking here, spewing out this shit, well. what can i say. i do want to say i don't do the everyone's equal thing, like responding to everyone equally in turn. i can see that it's courteous. and i like to be well-mannered. (i was about to write well-manned there) (yes, please) however, it just ruins the flow. for me it's an aesthetic thing. a visual thing. nothing more. so don't be offended if i don't point out that your comment was terrif!
with these i just do whatever takes my fancy. this is the freedom i love. whenever i have had to write for work things, it’s always been prescribed, always to a brief. technical writing, for someone like me, is DEATH to the juices that do just flow naturally, if only i let them. as my life has crowded in on me, and i’ve become a groan-up, i don’t have the opportunity to work on my own creative babies. they are tucked away, and haven’t been brought out for several years. but i will return to them. in the meantime, i can write what i like here. or pretty much what i like.
talking about other people
once i wrote here about a friend whose husband was having an affair. i haven’t updated this, because it’s very personal. there have been major developments, but i haven’t gone there. i tried to be careful about identity. anyone who knows the people concerned reading this would work it out easily. my reason for talking about it in the first place was as way to vent my angst. certainly not to hurt her in any way. but if she knew it was here in public, it would hurt her to the core. should i remove it? i feel it’s buried now, in my archives. and no one will find it. but still it is my one concern. what do you think?
i'm thinking i should change the gigi's name to frou frou or bijoux or chi chi. she is the only one whose name has appeared truthfully.
before i started my blog i told my boyfriend. i felt it would be somehow a betrayal to write here without him knowing. i had looked at a couple of blogs, and they were so intimate, so free. i felt this was something i couldn’t keep from him, so i told him. he established a couple of blog personas and i’d be surprised if none of you have twigged. i’ve thought about starting another one, one where absolutely no one knows who i am, and then i can write down my deepest, darkest thoughts. but i am enjoying this warm family, right here, as melbournegirl, and so will not stray to the dark side. if i do, i’ll let you all know. ha.
at first i told also my brother and sister about this. we are close as a family and i thought i wouldn’t be writing anything that i wouldn’t want them to know. anything that my boyfriend can read, they can too. but as time went on, and i knew they hadn’t bothered to look it up (originally i wanted them to make a few comments as strangers, so i wouldn’t look like a total no-comment loser) then my content started to become a little freer, i have to admit. though i wouldn’t care that much if they read what i write, i admit that knowing that no one who knows me, other than my most intimate partner reads it, is liberating.
i feel i’ve learnt a lot. in the beginning, i would stick my nose in to places where it didn’t belong. i have learnt some restraint, and will delete written comments before posting them.
i have only ever once commented anonymously, and that was on the blog of a dickhead (no i won't link him here, he doesn't deserve any traffic) who was basically bragging about his real/imagined conquests. it was terribly hateful and misogynistic. him, not my comments. i knew he would be the type to play nasty, and so i didn’t want to lead him back to melbournegirl.
but back to the anonymouses
are you mice? are you chicken? what is is that makes you be an anonymous? i would love to know your motivations and your reasons for having no identity.
and why are we all here?
i'd also love to know how many people read this blog, beyond the people who comment. i don’t hold with all the fancy-schmancy technology counter type things where i can check who’s visisted. or their urls. or their isps blah de blah. i want to do this the old-fashioned way.
can everyone reading this please say so, if you are a regular reader, please just indicate. or an occasional reader. or any reader. or commenter. anonymously is fine. you don’t need to comment on the content, just a hand up is fine.
[takes off sociologist hat and goes to bed to read nw]
ps. i would like to say that ms fits was the site that i broke my cherry on [comme une vrai americaine.] what a site to start at. what a precedent. any other cherries to be offered would be most appreciated too.
* hello there!