“You’re so good at Facebook, though,” an acquaintance says to me. I smile: this is what my friends always say about me. If there was a job as a professional Facebooker… they say. “Your updates are never annoying or moaning or smug. They’re just whimsical.”
“You kind of use Facebook like a blog.”
I hesitate. Blogs are very rarely referenced by people who don’t know about my blog. I have always known, really, that most people do not portray their lives on the internet in the way I do – both on Facebook and this strange confessional public space – and that most people who use the internet do not really read blogs (and probably think they’re sad).
And I don’t really know what to do when they are mentioned, because the thing is, I don’t want everyone to know about my blog. I am aware it is entirely in the public domain – and when it gained in popularity in 2010 and was featured in a few places I had to tell some people in my life that I had a blog – but for the most part it’s easy enough to keep a small part of the internet to yourself.
So sometimes I feign ignorance of blogs, sometimes I say I don’t like them, but mostly I say nothing at all. I almost never tell people on a whim, and think instead about what it is I’m opening myself up to – there are, after all, nine years of my personal life documented here – and I do have certain rules for who I will and won’t tell about it which are rarely broken.
But sometimes I wish I had a completely transparent online/writing life. I don’t really think my job is very amenable to having an online persona, but I don’t think that’s the only reason I am – for a blogger – quite private. There was a time when my blog was at its most popular that I would receive far more emails than I do now – more than I could respond to – and once got recognised, and it was difficult to prevent my full name coming out and being associated with this blog on Google. And now things are easier but in some ways I wish they were easier still.
I would like to be able to say, “oh I have a blog.” It would be nice if my Facebook privacy settings weren’t ridiculously complicated to prevent people I work with knowing that I’m writing a book and my blog’s Facebook page separate from all that. Sometimes I wish it was just something everybody knew about, and accepted. But it’s not just the fact that I write very candidly here: it’s more than that. It’s that I am not sure of the professionalism of having a personal blog. And that I’m not sure to what extent I want people to know about my other writing accomplishments, and about what I’m trying to achieve. I’m not sure I want to be Google-able to that extent. But that time might be coming. I can’t see a time where I publish a book and don’t tell my blog readers, but I’m also not sure about how I feel about publishing under a pseudonym. Would it really be possible to keep my identity completely under wraps?
“Ah,” I say to my acquaintance. I don’t say, “oh hey, I do have a blog as matter of fact, that thousands of people read,” and I don’t say, “funny that, I am a writer in my spare time and I’m getting closer to getting published.” I simply say: “I suppose I do.”