Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sloppiness and Being Discovered and Illusory Anonymity

So, sloppiness: A few years ago, I had a struggle with a post that I wrote, which I ultimately decided not to post. I remember being really disappointed that I had finally reached that moment where self-censoring caused me to not post about something, full stop. I had that same sort of struggle last week. I wrote something up that I thought was funny, accurate, a bit sardonic and would be appreciated by many in years to come. But I was uncomfortable with a couple of the negative things I wanted to say. And frankly, I blame my squeamishness on having studied bloody torts for the few days before I posted. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. In any case, despite my gut telling me not to do it, I posted it. Then I worried over it. As I was sitting at school the following day, I checked on it and discovered some random, fairly rude comments (not at me, agreeing with me actually) but they were said in a flippant sort of way that made me more uncomfortable than I already was, and I was miffed at where they came from. Then I discovered that the post had been picked up elsewhere. And I was really uncomfortable.

So i decided, after discussing it hypothetically with a friend at school, that I would pull it. I just didn't have the extra mental energy to worry about it. In hindsight, it was probably ok, but still, i don't need any extra crap turning in my head these days. So I'm glad that I pulled it.

Fast forward a few days though where I sit down with my best law school friend who wanted to smack me upside the head because the other friend I had my "blog hypo" with told the other that I had a blog. She hadn't previously known about it. That's right folks. I was outted. By my own sloppiness. I mean, I know that you can never do the "I have a friend" kind of hypo and get away with it. But I'm still entertained that after keeping this blog for 3 years, I never once told anyone anything about it. And as far as I know, none of my law school compadres read it or connected it with me. Which is how I had wanted it. So now, the cat is out of the bag, and those two are sworn to secrecy.

I know that blogs are not anonymous, no matter how much you try to make them so. it's relatively easy to figure out at least the exact location of a blogger. But you still hide behind the anonymity wall you construct. I've often thought of the irony of how much freedom anonymity gives you to tell it like it is... while nearly crippling you into being "content free" in order to maintain that anonymity. It's what made me decide for once and for all that yayarolly's doors will close August 1. I'll leave the blog up in case there is anything remotely useful to someone else later on. And I'll probably get it printed into a keepsake book for myself at blurb. But with law school on the shelf, it will be time to move on.

I'm still undecided as to whether I will start a new blog that looks at me as a whole picture: professional, mommy, wife, hobbies etc. But I'm struggling with the whole anonymity thing still. I certainly don't want to get fired, or worse. But I also don't want to write so that I end up being content free. It's tricky. But I love to write. The year that I didn't write on this blog, I was actually writing fiction. So see, I can't just stop writing. :)


PT-LawMom said...

Keep writing. And thanks for the Blurb link!

Anonymous said...

Anonymity is hard. Unless you purposefully, consistently lie, you eventually leave enough clues in your writings to be discovered.

For example, you live in a state:

1) Where’s there is a real spring
2) Where it can be bone chilling cold in winter
3) Two states away from Yellowstone
4) With a public law school in a midsize town

The law school is:
5) Regional with access to big city markets
6) Probably near a State Capital
7) One that had a female in a management position on the law review
8) One that registers for classes one year at a time

There are a couple of other clues that you have given in your posts that I won’t put here lest you don’t prescreen your comments but I’m fairly certain I know which school you went to and who you are based on that info alone.

Anonymity is hard. We’re always leaving clues whether we want to or not.

Joey said...

I never said that I was untraceable. I said that blogs are not anonymous. And if you're going to write in any meaningful way, you will be leaving clues as you say. I struggle with the balance that I mentioned of knowing you're "anonymous" and the freedom to post and keeping the specific content edited that would blow your cover otherwise. That's the tricky part. I don't want to be content-free. Otherwise, what's the point.

And I thank you for not outing any of the more specific points that would identify me outright.