Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The concept of anonymous and the Internets

I am a journaler; during my more prolific times I would fill up a journal a month with my scribbles, thoughts, and fancies.  Nobody saw them but me, and I would traditionally open each book with a benevolent warning such as "GO AWAY AND DON'T READ THIS.  If you continue reading may you be cursed with stinky feet for the rest of your days."   Blogging is a natural extension of journaling.  What I like a lot less is that the ENTIRE INTERNETS can see my blog, forever preserved in internet archives.  Loved ones, employers, strangers, acquaintances.  All two million of those with internet access.  E.v.e.r.y.o.n.e.  Even if you don't identify yourself there is no anonymous anymore, especially when pictures are posted and there is software available that can identify faces.  Social media was invented for social purposes, but it is increasingly becoming important for business too.  Want to be an entrepreneur?  Make yourself and your personality into a brand and sell it.  Granted, it's a bit more complicated than that but it's where the major advice falls.

The people watcher in me loves this.  Blogging is one of my favorite aspects on the internet.  I enjoy listening to people's stories.  I enjoy personal brands.  The bloggers whose archives I re-read on a rainy day are the ones that tend to share the more intimate details of their life.  They are honest.  It follows that they inspire me to do the same, but there's the rub.  I'm a private person; it makes me nervous to share my life with the world wide web, and I am wary of sharing the life of my loved ones on the web.  I don't have anything to hide, I just don't like sharing with two million people all at once; there's a distinct difference.  And what about the professional repercussions?  The wisdom I have heard is to use common sense and make your own brand anyways--any company that doesn't like your brand, you wouldn't like working for and you wouldn't stay there long anyways.  You could debate this advice yay or nay.

So....why blog?  Why not just delete the whole thing, or make up an exciting pen name?  Because ultimately, I want to own my internet presence and my creations.  The community that surrounds blogging excites me, and when appropriate I want to participate as Ondrea and not an online handle (though I do enjoy creative online handles).  So what is my personal brand?  Practical, inquisitive, and thoughtful, for a start.  The aesthetics can be hashed out later, but after spending some time perfecting a SPLAT with my watercolors last night I've got a good idea of where they're going...

1 comment:

Dean said...

Very impressive! You answered the #1 question I had for you without me having to go to the trouble of asking it.

It's interesting you focused on what's more often the business-orientated rationale of creating a brand for having a blog, rather than having it as a platform for personal expression, a place to publish your opinions or a way to share ideas. I think right now it's a giant grey area as to how company's will react to it. Most are pretty sensible about it as long as you aren't openly criticizing the company, its policies or one's co-workers, others are nervous about any kind of social networking or possible controversy.

By the way, what does the two million number represent that you refer to a couple of times? Obviously there's a lot more people that have Internet access than that, even if you restrict it to English speakers. Blog readers perhaps? Just curious.