Friday, August 12, 2016
Searching for Anonymous
So here's my pet peeve. I visit a group blog that I read regularly and discover that somebody has posted a long discussion that intrigues me. The person is identified only by her first name. Her comments make me want to know who she is and more about her.
I click on her name and get to her Blogger profile -- again, first name only, but here she's mentioned her home town and business. Google on the business and the town, and I find a web page for the business, which gives her name. I also find her mentioned in the regional SAQA blog. Total time to ID: maybe four minutes.
So why didn't she just sign her full name in the original post?
Or another version of the same peeve: Somebody leaves a comment on my blog that I consider thought-provoking and interesting. I'm familiar with her nom-de-internet because she frequently posts to a group blog that I read and in fact have recently found her posts to be fascinating. Again, I'd like to know who she is and more about her and her work.
I click on her nom but this time I can't find her. Her Blogger profile is coy. I know which state she lives in and that she's a member of SAQA and SDA (or at least she has those logos on her blog) but searching both member directories gives me no clues. I waste ten minutes trying to identify somebody whose work I love.
So a random fan is thwarted in trying to identify the object of her affection -- big deal. What if it had been a potential buyer or curator or publisher wanting to make this artist a proposition?
I understand that some people want to maintain public anonymity as they tiptoe around the internet. I have left comments on various blogs where I have identified myself only with a first name, but they aren't subjects having anything to do with my "public persona." If I want to say something about my favorite candidate on Dancing With the Stars it's not really relevant who I am. But if I want to post a tutorial on fiber art, review a quilt show or weigh in with opinions on SAQA's future, then people have a right to know who I am and what I do so they can properly evaluate my remarks. And I think they have a right to know that without clicking about on Google for a while.
This happens on blogs all the time. It also happens on email listserve groups, which I also waste too much time reading.
I find it especially silly that people will conceal their full names, yet chat about a quilt that was just accepted into a show (where we know the quilt will be displayed with the artist's full name on a sign), or proudly announce the release of their new book (which presumably will have their full name on the cover). I just don't understand the quest for secrecy, whether it's successful or not, when it has to do with a passion on which the person apparently wants to have some kind of public presence. I also think it's somewhat of an imposition on the people who do go by their own names who are expected to have public dialogue with Ms. Anonymous.
Ever see movies where the star witness, afraid of being identified by the vicious mob boss/defendant, gets to testify with a bag over his head? I understand that, but I don't understand what these anonymous internet fiber artists are afraid of.
I'm Kathy Loomis and I approve this message.