Actually posting just the last word of your dissertation is exactly the same kind of hide-and-seek now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t game that pseudonymous bloggers get to indulge in all the time. Look, here’s a photo of all of me except my face. Look, now I’m mentioning enough about the town I’m visiting that you could almost guess where I am. Look, here’s a photo of my eyes and nothing else. I wrote about that in my Mirrors and Shadows paper, and it really fascinates me. Viviane Serfaty talks about it too in her aptly titled study of weblogs and diaries, The Mirror and the Veil.

I think what fascinates me about the hide-and-seek of pseudonymous blogging is that that is what we all do when we blog. In psuedonymous blogs the blogger gets to play with that. Real-name bloggers like me – well, we may only blog 1% of our lives, but people still seem to think they’re getting the whole picture – I’ve been asked at many a late party or conference how I can stand that people know me so intimately. I laugh. Most of the time.

Maybe you actually can tell that each blog post is a game of hide-and-seek, dangling out just too little information for you to figure out who I really am?

9 thoughts on “reasons to be a pseudonymous blogger, part 452249

  1. […] Jill Walker has two interesting blog posts back-to-back, the kind of posts that ask to be cited in the vague and foggy book project on blogging and the “writerly life” I have in a corner of my brain. The first is yet another post on the whole pseduo-anonymous thing. She points out again that one of the (apparent) appeals of the pseduoanonymous blog is the play of it all, the “I’m going to take a picture of my eyes and make vague references to a region of the country; can you guess who I am? Have you seen me at the store or the coffee shop?” […]

  2. profgrrrrl

    Interestingly, people seem to think that since I’m a pseudonymous blogger that I must be posting everything about my life on the blog and that they really know me. I guess it goes both ways, only that in my case it may be more difficult to track back to a real identity. Or not. I don’t know.

    I think my blog conveys my personality very well, and I will post some very personal things there, but it is really only the tip of the iceberg — which I realize when catching up with RL friends who read the blog or having blogger meet-ups.

  3. JoseAngel

    Blogs as Gilda strip-tease… just one blog, oops, glove.

  4. Jill

    Mm, I think we probably do express a very authentic part of our personalities on our blog – though certainly pseudonymous and real-name bloggers express it in different ways. Perhaps our “voices” are actually much more important expressions of “us” than facts about what’s actually going on…

    I love the hide-and-seek anyway 🙂

  5. Martin

    Though I haven’t really been using my blog the way I’d like to lately, I think of it a tool for getting other sides of myself out than the parts I’m conscious of. There’s a lot of difference
    between text-me and me-me, and the differences are often enlightening. It’s interesting to read
    the archives of my blog, because it shows not who I am, but how I want to be perceived
    changing over time. That’s almost as interesting. Like a diary for your public persona and your
    intentions behind it. Since our intentions are often obscure to ourselves, that is something
    I appreciate having access to.

  6. Francois Lachance

    The blog voice, as any writing voice, is a filtering attractor. The game of blogging is also like tag mixed with scavenger hunt. Setting the question of self-fashioning aside, the blog is contract with the quotidien. It is a promise to engage with language. Not only from the perspective of a writer but also as a reader, one takes on a chunk at a time. The entry may be whole but the series is open and unconcluded (even if its author is no longer posting). Blogging is a celebration of the connectivity of the fragment. Beyond this knitting there is the reader approach to blog reading. Blogs are read as exemplary. Blog as basket not for self-presentation but for gathering pieces of an evaluative mosaic.

  7. Francois Lachance

    Back in 2008 I repurposed a comment I left here (one now lost in the database). http://berneval.blogspot.ca/2008/04/magpie.html

    Of course I linked to Jill’s post and recently I was reviewing back entries for a bit of research and found out about the demise of comments prior to December 2010. Here is a humble effort at the reconstructive proces:

    Francois Lachance Says:
    May 4th, 2006 at 15:45
    The blog voice, as any writing voice, is a filtering attractor. The game of blogging is also like tag mixed with scavenger hunt. Setting the question of self-fashioning aside, the blog is contract with the quotidien. It is a promise to engage with language. Not only from the perspective of a writer but also as a reader, one takes on a chunk at a time. The entry may be whole but the series is open and unconcluded (even if its author is no longer posting). Blogging is a celebration of the connectivity of the fragment. Beyond this knitting there is the reader approach to blog reading. Blogs are read as exemplary. Blog as basket not for self-presentation but for gathering pieces of an evaluative mosaic.

  8. Jill

    François! Great to see you! I should figure out how to rescue all those comments – it’s terrible to think that all your comments are gone. I can still see the comments in the database, I just can’t get them out here.

    A chunk at a time. I like that.

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