Some of my best friends are anonymous

On the one hand…

When I step back and think about it, the blogosphere seems such a strange realm; and I’m old enough to have grown up without the Internet so I have perspective on this. Still, one need not have been born before the Internet era to be struck be the notable differences between people’s “in person” relationships and “online” relationships.

For example, what would it mean to have an anonymous “in person” friend? Here on WordPress, on the other hand, it’s entirely normal that some of the people that I interact with most regularly are anonymous.

Also, for most who do not blog anonymously, there necessarily exist limits as to what we can comfortably post because our blogs are public. Would we write publicly about difficulties in our romantic relationships, careers, childhoods, etc., given that our loved ones, coworkers, and friends could read those posts?

Indeed, while I certainly believe that meaningful relationships can be birthed, developed, and sustained online, we must consider how much we actually know of our “long distance” friends. given that we have, essentially, no access to their lives other than the glimpses they grant us. What are they like offline? What are we like?


On the other hand…

Speaking personally, I tend to feel disconnected from many of the people I interact with in person, largely because my head is often very much in the clouds. So many others seem to be focused on practical, earthly matters that wear me out.

Despite my skepticism regarding anything supernatural, I find conversations about belief, the history of religion, the sociology of religion, etc., very stimulating. Also, politics – deep political analysis fascinates me. And, of course, poetry – the exploration of the human spirit and reality filtered through the human eye.

In a sense, therefore, when I think about this blog on WordPress, and when I find myself wondering how well it actually reflects who I am despite all that I omit from it, I feel that it actually reflects much of the real me. This is where I thrive, in the realm of words and concepts, which lend themselves to introspection, poetry, and musings. These are the kinds of interactions I wish I could have with people “in person” – I’d love for all of my conversations to be over images and verses.

Really, as I consider this further, I feel that one cannot possibly know me very well today without taking an active interest in my Skeptic’s Kaddish. Here is where I explore life’s meaning.

53 thoughts on “Some of my best friends are anonymous”

  1. I also feel that my online persona is more “real” than what most people in real life see of me, although I think there’s a sense in which that is still a facade of a kind. I’m too tired to develop this further right now, though!

  2. I used to blog on Xanga. It was there that I developed many online friendships. Then I met them in person! I have to admit I was very anxious but it turned out that of all the xangans I met, several are what I consider friends and one is now my best friend… You tend to learn more about their heart and mind via blogging and that sets things up for a true friendship…

    1. You tend to learn more about their heart and mind via blogging

      In most cases, true. But I wonder if some horrible people wouldn’t abuse other people’s trust by create fake online identities?

      -David

  3. Personally, I think that you see far more of the history of a person online, if that person keeps a long-standing and honest set of posts online. I agree that I would not post personal details for all to read, but sometimes writing is the only or the best way in which some of us can express our wishes, needs, thoughts, and sometimes that could make for a deeper relationship, assuming that the writing is used as a jumping-off point for further discussion in what, yes, has to be personal space. But so many of the people that I know simply cannot handle even starting to approach certain topics that the online sphere is the only place where many trauma survivors, for example, can touch on those topics without having folks withdraw instantly, and the protection of not seeing that happen in person is a bit easier than the disappointment of a friend not being able to sit with your pain, especially when you really need them to.

    1. All true, Shira.

      if that person keeps a long-standing and honest set of posts online.

      This is the key though, isn’t it? And in today’s world mightn’t somebody with bad intentions want to create a false identity for bad reasons?


      David

      1. Yes, entirely possible and not that difficult, but a careful observer will (or should) always spot inconsistencies over time, particularly in in-dept discussions around the earlier writings, I think.
        For instance, you’d note that my views on some things have changed, over time, but that my views on others have not, really, and this is a natural progression (or it ought to be), but they are all consistent with my core set of values and my beliefs or actions as shaped by those values over time bye experience and by my own observation. That would, in theory, make it absolutely possible to detect a false identity, if one puts in the effort.

        In fact, I believe that not a few false bloggers have already been detected. It just takes a bit of questioning and critical thinking, which is what many seem to lack, at the moment, but that is yet another reason to step up our on-going education in empathy and reasoning, no?

  4. I think it’s also that normal conversation small talk of in person relationships is both a building block and a stumbling block (it’s hard to talk poetry and belief when you’re also having a conversation about general family/life/work/school updates simultaneously). That kind of small talk just doesn’t really exist in the blog world. You get to the philosophical meat of things much faster than you might in an in person relationship.

  5. I think if you read someone for awhile you can get a sense of who they are as a person. Some people are better suited to an online communication with others as they have difficulties doing it in the “real live, physical” environment. Since I’ve been online since 1995 I’ve met people I became friends with in the flesh. There is something extremely strange about it initially as it’s like two different dimensions. On the other hand, with people I’ve known IRL first there’s no problem at all communicating with them electronically.

    I’m comfortable in both realms but probably more comfortable in this one nowadays.

  6. I’ve taken keen interests in your posts ever since you started talking about your papa even though he is no more. You see, who is around you does matter, but we can never forget those who have impacted our life, even once they have left this world. A lot of who I am today is because of the people I knew who are not there in this life anymore. My Grandmother was a gem of a person. Always kind, loving and giving. I learnt a lot from her.
    Stay blessed, David❤️❤️

  7. [I’d love for all of my conversations to be over images and verses.]
    This happens once in a life time, the beauty of intellectual intimacy. Or maybe the cafes, lunches and dining with poetry is of a time gone by.
    But if you think of it these sessions also took alot out of family time. Book clubs and poetry jams.
    Conversations of verse and images whilst tossing an omelette or cutting onions and tomatoes are truly special.

    Great exploration into the landscape of online personas and relationships. I think most of us before the internet had one or two pen-pals which brought great joy and excitement to our young lives. So I think we are inclined to long distance relationships. They complete the love of conversation for verse and image.

  8. Silly me, I often share things on my blog I never share IRL. At this point in my life, I figure if someone sees something, then oh well. Of course the majority of my traumas are still in the recesses of my mind. I just want to be real on my blog.

  9. If I’m honest with myself, there is no issue with relationship either in person or online. Fake identity online, of course, is an issue, which is not there in case of in person relationship.

  10. 100%, buddy. I already know who you are, anyhow, from what you write. If we ever met in person, all that would serve to do is to put a name, a face to your identity. Those things are a tiny fraction of “you”.

  11. You have expressed so well what I feel. ”In person” I would be very selective with whom I shared some if my thoughts. On my blog I feel there is the freedom to express things knowing that they will resonate with some and there is no compulsion on others to read, let alone comment. There is a certain release and magic in letting these thoughts fly. Also, a stimulus in reading others, such as yours, where the depth and exploration excite the mind. For me, the delight is in discovering questions I’ve never thought about before.

    Thank you

    Tricia Blog: https://myitalianletters.wordpress.com/ Book of poems: Stones in the Stream by Tricia Heriz-Smith Sent from my iPhone

    >

  12. “And, of course, poetry – the exploration of the human spirit and reality filtered through the human eye.” That’s such a poetic way to describe Poetry!

    This post is so true! I’ve made so many like-minded friends here than I have in real life and it feels wonderful to write as much as I want and not be judged. This place has so many different stories and perspectives, it’s like a postcard from the world on most days.
    I love the freedom, anonymity gives me, it’s not too important because no one in real life knows I have a blog (except my parents) 😂 I hope I can start using my real name soon but I’m not comfortable just yet.
    Thank you for sharing!

  13. I relate so much to what you’ve shared. I do feel my blog reflects the real me. Who I am when I feel safe to be authentic. But feeling comfortable being real is something I still work on in real life. I actually feel my blog and interactions in the blog world are helping me practice being authentic. I feel I’ve become more authentic in real life as a result of being authentic here.

    Though I’m anonymous my husband reads my blog. I think it’s a good thing for our relationship and my blog. He says my blog sounds like me, but he can tell I’m able to plan more what I say here than in real life speech.

    1. I feel I’ve become more authentic in real life as a result of being authentic here.

      This is so wonderful❣️

      I think it’s a good thing for our relationship and my blog.

      That’s also fantastic 🙂 You’re very lucky to have such a relationship!

      Thank you for sharing!

      Yours,
      David

  14. i get you ! i feel like my online ‘presence’ is more real than what i’m like in real life, because i don’t constantly have to worry about being judged by everyone plus i’ve met the coolest people on wordpress ! great post !!

  15. Such an interesting post. I definitely have an online version of myself and an in-person version. In all the versions of myself, there is not one that fully reflects who I am — I’m not even sure I am well acquainted with the authentic “me”. Maybe that is in part what I am searching for here on WordPress. I appreciate the thought provoking post, and I am enjoying reading your poetry!

  16. Well said! I don’t blog much anymore — it started becoming too personal and I wasn’t comfortable with it. I do post the odd poem, and that seems to be suiting me just fine at the moment.

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