Who are you calling anonymous?

Fernando Pessoa, a Portuguese poet, drawed.

Image via Wikipedia

Nom de Blog,  is Nom de Plume , pen name, or pseudonym, updated.

A Nom de Blog is not anonymous.   Pseudonyms are not an internet invention, I do realize that we think we invented everything in the last ten years, but it’s simply not true.

Anonymous: has no name.  Anonymous has no identity.  Blaming anonymous for the ills of the internet, is a whole other issue.  Anonymous on the internet is a matter for a long discussion.  A blogger with a nom de blog is not anonymous.  A blogger with a body of work that spans a number of years using a pseudonym is less anonymous at times than a real name with undisclosed motives.  Not all bloggers want to migrate to the print medium, or to be professional writers.

Is the blogger’s voice authentic?   Or is this a voice that is constructed for various reasons, artistic or professional?  Is the voice simply you?   Small blogging communities give the delusion that you have encountered a group of “yous”.   A group of people expressing their voice in a communal fashion is the delusion.  In truth, there are many styles and motives for blogging and they each serve the blogger.

One of my favorite poets,  Fernando Pessoa , created heteronyms. Heteronyms are  entire different poets that he created, with unique histories and styles.   Pessoa puts the kabash to the notion of  a one true inner self.   This self, is always evolving, changing and challenging us.  The day you find that one complete being in you, is the day you are dead.  You are done.  Completed.  Finished.  It is rather a scary notion to imagine that we each have one complete person and we have to spend our life looking for that person.

Part of blogging, is the ability to put out the ever evolving you.  To have portions of the ever changing you as a public record.  Other than the published authors, we really never had a chance of putting thoughts in a semi fixed state as a record of our thinking.

Writers, use the tradition of writing as an artistic expression, they hone their craft and will get paid.   Publishers, commodified the writers product into a book, article, play, screen play , just some of the examples.    This product usually has a value and is protected by the rules of intangible property, copy rights.  So, basically in or about the nineteenth century, the rules of intangible property, music, words etc, were codified.  Yet, many of us act as if it these rules were always with us.

Of course we want to see artists get compensated for their work.  Of course we want them to make their living from their creative expression get a just compensation.  Yes writers get paid.  The fact that they get paid, does not give them some inherent virtue.  Neither does the fact that most people  “write” devalue the craft of writing.

A blogger like me,  is just the expression of my thoughts and ideas using writing.  My voice, with a nom de blog.   A nom de blog comes with character and personality.  Values and a voice.  It is not set of bits and bytes flowing with no direction in the ether.   There are no simple binaries, bloggers, or writers.  Actually, it is mass confusion just because “writing” is involved, that there is somehow some conspiracy to abscond with the writers craft and trade.  Writing is the tool, how you use it and what you do with it is not limited to one set of people.

Sorry, the surgeon analogy does not work.  No, we all cannot be surgeons and we should not be allowed to use the surgeons tools, but language and the use of language is a basic human quality that you cannot limit to a profession.

There is something about the printed word that seems permanent, fixed and finished.  Whereas the digital words of blogging, have an ephemeral quality.  They may be read in the future, they may even be never read by another human when they are written, the blog is just available to the click.   The luck of the click.  It’s like singing in the wind.  You take a risk.  A writers needs to capture and protect her words, a blogger is willing to express, project and live with the contradictions.

A book involves an industry.  People who figure out if there is a market for what you write.  People who invest in you.  People who trade in you and a whole set of rules that govern the use and ownership of these words.

Of course, there are mechanical aspects to writing and language, but we must realize that these mechanics come with a trunk full of norms that have served and have oppressed  human expression.

Accept that the medium is ever evolving and forcing the practices of the printed medium is a disservice. Writers will write.  Bloggers will blog.  Some writers we will like, same goes with bloggers.  Some want to make their living blogging, or writing, many will not.  Neither choice has an inherent higher value.


By Fernando Pessoa

The poet is an inventor.
He invents so completely
That he succeeds in inventing
That the pain he really feels is pain.

And those who read what he writes
Really feel in the pain they have read,
Not the two which he felt,
But only the one they do not have.

And thus in the wheel ruts
There goes round and round, diverting Reason
That clockwork toy train
Which is called heart.

—F.E.G. Quintanilha (translation)




One thought on “Who are you calling anonymous?

  1. Very interesting take on this. I especially love the commentary around a blogger with a body of work and a nom de blog being less anonymous than someone who blogs under their own name in some cases.

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