Saturday, January 29, 2005

No Last Names

Perhaps not the most elegant way to start a blog, but then again, I am the person who leaves the first page of every journal blank in order to overcome the fear of discovery. One, such as I, should probably not indulge in the blog. I am not sure how I feel about posting musings for others to see... I understand the political blogs, but I am not sure I understand the strictly personal blogs. These are not quite journals, and not quite bathroom walls. Let me explain... at my undergraduate institution, and I expect at others, there was a tradition of writing musings on the bathroom walls. Unsigned and undated, these messages became threads... others visiting the stalls added, commented, contested, or just affirmed sentiments. I admit that I sometimes just visited to see the latest postings. I hoped for a long time that someone would publish a community newspaper called the Bathroom Wall where people could anonymously post responses to whatever was going on in the world. This was before blogging; this was before chatrooms. Now we have all these opportunities, and yet, I have not started to contribute or even read blogs or participate in chat rooms.

So, one page into the blog, I start with No Last Names. Let me make a case for anonymity. Musings, particularly those of a personal nature, don't need to be specific. One can talk/write/chat about situations, feelings, thoughts and events without implicating the innocent. So, this is both my plea and my plan. (I, I, I ... it overwhelming how self-indulgent this method of communication makes me feel.) I will not name names, places, crimes. If it becomes necessary to use monikers for participants, I will probably use first names, as I don't think that anonymity is a license for deception or deceit. But, I will never use last names. I sincerely hope that none of you will use last names either.

A practical notion as well...
If you use last names, and those adept at internet searching are inclined to know about the person you have named, they will find your postings. They will learn and know things about these people, the innocent, that may not be public knowledge. If those "innocents" desire to live their lives in the fishbowl, as indeed the bloggers have chosen, then they should post that information themselves. I can say or not say whatever I like about myself. It will be difficult for readers to test that information, know if it is true, presented in a factual way or a complete fabrication. I can say embarrassing things about myself or not.

I think that's it for now. Perhaps as I go along, I will become comfortable with this fishbowl and name the blog, although I will continue to not name names. Until then, this is the untitled blog, open for comments.