I have roughly 170 blogs on my blog feed (yes, I counted) that I read or use to keep track of trends, rumors and interesting information in the publishing world. I add usually one new blog a week, though I’ve gotten more selective as time goes on. And not all of those 170 are updated with any frequency, so it’s not as hard to keep track as you might think. I don’t visit all 170 and I certainly don’t comment on all of them (usually I comment on about 5 per day). And once I’ve visited, I often forget to go back and read comments, unless I’ve commented myself AND can subscribe to comments (if you have WordPress, subscribe to comments is a really nice feature, I highly recommend it for helping your readers participate in a conversation).
About once every three months or so, a new blog pops up that is “anonymous”. It’s not just readers, it’s also authors, agents and editors that have done this. A few I can name off the top of my head: Literary Sass, Dear Author, Miss Snark, Evil Editor and The Book Bitches. I’m always a cross between bemused, curious and jealous at these anonymous blogs. One of the things I enjoy about blogland is the opportunity to get to “know” the blogger. I often feel as though the anonymity creates a barrier that prevents me from ever feeling completely comfortable with reading or commenting. What if I’m actually commenting on my employer’s blog and don’t even realize it? Okay, so that’s not likely, but it’s this weird feeling of…they know who I am but I don’t know who they are.
On the other hand, I can understand sometimes the feeling of wanting to have an anonymous blog, because authors, editors, agents and others feel that scrutiny of the community to remain professional and not comment on hot topics or industry happenings or the completely ridiculous letter/submission/critique/review they got.
I don’t *get* quite as much, the need for readers to remain anonymous but I’m sure there’s a reason there. Maybe an anonymous reader can explain? One thing I’ve noticed about anonymous blogs is that they seem to have a more…carefree? Or careless? Tone to them, not being so concerned with being nice, polite or politic. I wouldn’t say the posts aren’t well thought about, but they seem more free with saying the things that people who have their names and identities attached to posts can’t or won’t say. And before anyone gets upset with me, I’m not suggesting that that is a bad thing either, I’m just thinking “out loud” about anonymous blogs.
I’ve found, for the most part, that I don’t mind anonymous blog so much. When they’re for the express purpose of singling out people, yeah, that kind of bothers me and I don’t care for the freedom some people feel in ranting and raving about others, without putting their own identities on the line, but I can kind of see the reason for some blogs to be anonymous.
On the other hand, I’m not so keen on anonymous commenters. Although this attitude of mine seems slightly ridiculous to me because, really, anyone could put a name down–any name–and leave a comment so in reality *most* comments are anonymous because do I really know most of you? But there’s something about the ones that jump into a fray with an anonymous comment. I’ve left a grand total of ONE yes one anonymous comment in my entire online existance and that wasn’t to snark anyone or be mean or hateful or spiteful or swear at the poster or another commenter. It was to impart information that I didn’t want to share as myself (and it was long, long,long ago so conspiracy theorists can all relax). And you know, even though there are many times I’ve wanted to comment places and known I “couldn’t” because of who I am and my position, and though I had a burning desire to jump into the arguement/discussion/debate, I never did so because I felt strongly that if I couldn’t own my opinion and post as myself, then I didn’t really stand behind my convictions enough to post. Which isn’t quite true, it just means I have a better sense of self-preservation and know that I don’t always need to have my say 🙂
I’m wondering if I’m the only one who ponders these things? Do you ever wonder why people are anonymous–whether on blogs or in comments–and do you respect their opinion less because of it?