Over the last month there have been a slow but steady stream of posts - first from Tom Paine, then from Gracchi, then finally Ruthie - discussing identity and the blogosphere. They all focussed essentially on the uses of anonymity. The extent to which you can express yourself free from the encumbrances of an ossified persona.
Sinclair's Musings is a rather different blog to the three above. It is not anonymous and never has been. I post in my own name, the blog is named after me and the tone is very similar to my style in 'real-life'. The background to this site's logo is a painting by my favourite artist, Salvator Rosa.
My blog was never anonymous for a few reasons:
- The freedom of being at university and then working at the TaxPayers' Alliance has meant that the blog has been beneficial to my career if anything.
- My tone is naturally moderate and relatively polite.
- Being in a political career I was going to be publicly identified with political stances anyway.
- I don't need anonymity to escape a persona which might cause people to write off my opinions; I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are.
Another function of my blog is to maintain a voice that is purely my own. While others blog to escape their identities I've always felt that I was confirming mine. The TaxPayers' Alliance is great and I have more freedom there to express myself than it would have been fair of me to expect. However, keeping a little corner of the Internet where I really have the freedom to explore any idea or passing interest that takes my fancy is still a joy. Few things are more satisfying than to see this blog, my thoughts, stirring the thoughts or changing the minds of others.
I think the common thread through the four posts in this thread is that the benefits we've all taken from blogging are based around it opening new channels. So often we are confined to narrow bounds of geography and social circumstance. The erosion of the importance of geographical distance alone is sufficient for blogging to open up incredible possibilities, not to mention engagement across social lines. Where else would a young Minnesota mother aspiring to be a journalist, a British expatriate in Russia exasperated at the direction British politics is moving, a PhD student with a taste for the classics and a pressure group staffer with diverse intellectual tastes find themselves engaged in discussion?