Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How well do I know you?

Reading Wendy Wickham and Janet Clarey's conversation about identity on line gave me pause. It's about more than just names isn't it? I mean, you can choose to blog under your real name or not. You can choose to join the various online spaces to which you belong under any name you like. I blog (and Facebook) under my real name, but I use pseudonyms for some of my special interest group spaces for reasons I covered in my comment on Wendy's post.

But I wondered how well we have actually come to know each other, you and I. For one thing, if you've never commented on this blog, I might not know you at all. If you have, I may still have only a limited view of you, based on your reactions to what I say, which is a pretty lopsided way to view a person.

Most of the time, I feel as if I know the people whose blogs I regularly read. I have seen their pictures, so would probably recognise them if we were to arrange to meet in a restaurant, say. But, once we got chatting, would they turn out to be consistent with the person I think I know? Janet once posted that she is quite a quiet person, which took me by surprise. What other surprises might there be? Might she also prove not to be as irreverent as I expect? Would Vicki Davis turn out to be insincere and impatient, after all? Would Stephen Downes turn out to be really great at small talk and not easily bored?

Of course, I didn't join the blogosphere to 'meet' individual people. I signed up to join the conversation. I don't only read blogs that belong to people whose company I think I might enjoy. Far from it. I read blogs that I think will stretch me, challenge what I know, expand my understanding, improve my professional practice. In some cases (especially where I have encountered the bloggers in other spaces, such as Ning communities, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) I feel as if I have gotten to know something about the person behind the blog - and that's a bit of a bonus.

In this space we could pretty much invent personae for ourselves, just as easily as we could invent names - although I suspect the personae would be far more difficult to sustain with any measure of credibility.

There are one or two pseudonymous blogs on my reading list. I often wonder - do the people who know Artichoke in person consider her writing style a dead give-away as to who she really is?

Do I really know you? If I met you, would you be as I expect? Do you really know me? Would you be expecting anything remotely like me, were we to arrange to meet face to face?


Anonymous said...

Karyn, I've beem busy so couldn't comment. To answer your question,You would know me instantly. I write what I feel and mostly these reflect the way I am. About you I feel the same you are as bubbly as your writing. Unless one makes tremendous effort mostly 'normal' people will be the same. I feel dead today and see it's coming out here. Take care.

Anonymous said...

@Rina Hope you recover your bounce soon. Don't be so sure that I've got your measure from what I've read of you - although I would like to think that I'm on the right track!

In my mind's eye, you are a bubbly chatterbox who uses her hands a lot. I imagine that you can jump from topic to topic without pausing. I would expect you to change the subject of conversation often, without even noticing that you're doing it. You might even interrupt an answer to one question in order to ask another on a totally different topic.

Would that be accurate, or have I missed it completely?

Anonymous said...

I'm curious; do you feel like when you've gotten that "peek behind the curtain" that people are consistent with the personalities they show on their blogs, or have you ever been surprised? Do you feel like you know your blogger-friends on Facebook better than you know others bloggers?

I think you post more about your personal life than many other bloggers in the education/training realm. Sometimes I wonder if I know more about you than you know about me, just because I tend to not post the personal stuff as often.

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher said...

Karyn -
Honestly, since the earliest time we started talking through our blogs (I still love your "hairbrush" post - it sticks in my mind.) I don't know somehow but I do think we would recognize one another.

However, sometimes when we haven't met a person we tend to "invent" who they are. Also, it is unfortunate that many of us meet when we are the busiest and unable to make small talk which doesn't make for the best meeting time.

I don't know -- we're planning a trip to England next year -- maybe we should test this out!

Anonymous said...

God , how do you know me so well! Yes I am mostly too excited to hold back. Yes I tend to flow from one to the other topic without realising. And today your observation brought a smile, I really needed it. Had a big fight with husband. I want to tell it today. We have issues about his mother, who stays with us. There is funny ego thing. She was working earlier for 30 years now she's retired, after a gap of 15 years I start to work full-time. Now this is making her restless. She's been looking for a job but is not getting any. It is unacceptable to her to see me going out. This is creating so much tension at home. As usual, Indian daudhter-in-laws are supressed and the norm is to take this opression. I took it since I was twenty-one but am resistant now. This is creating trouble.Husband was leaving for a long time and we had a terrible fight. The blame game thing. Feel that the initial part of marriage when you bond was spent in pleasing his parents' whims and fancies.I feel sick about this hypocracy and Indian values created to exploit the women. I know as I have kids there is no way out but, I will take no crap now. Right Karyn? Why should I live in fear?I am not the feminist or any thing as I attend all his office parties, throw parties. Do whatever it is expected or he asks but the tantrums I conter with my own tantrums now to give them a taste of their own medicine. Don't know if I am right. Can only hope that when I am foury I am much wiser and balanced like you. I don't know if should have said this but today I wanted to. And life is short so it dosen't matter. Hugs. You brighetened my day!

Anonymous said...

@christy I'm fairly certain that you know more about me than I know about you! I am aware that I blog about my life more than most, and I often wonder: Should I change that? Should I defend that? I've always been a very wysiwyg person - heart on sleeve, thought-in-head = word-on-lips. But to answer your other question, I definitely know more about the bloggers I meet on FB, but only those who interact there. Not everyone does.

@rina Been there done that on the mother-in-law thing, only mine never lived with us, so you have my sympathy! However, I now have a very good relationship with her, so there is hope. Assertiveness without aggression - that's the way forward.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Karyn this means alot to me. Since you love colours watch this video. LOve and a relaxed weekend wish for you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Karyn,
I felt like I knew you before I met you for that coffee in Oxford and you were just as I imagined..... genuine, open and amazingly enthusiastic about learning and learners.
As for me, I don't think I'm as open in my blog entries as I am in facebook or face to face.
Not sure why really?

Anonymous said...

@rina Very beautiful. I have always loved the sumptuous colours that seem to be favoured for saris. I used to work among Indian descendants in South Africa (did you know that Durban - the city of my birth - boasts the lragest single population of Indian people outside of India? There are more than 1 million there), and the way the women looked when they dressed up for a special event! Wow - like a collection of exotic birds.

@lynn No, you don't give away a lot about yourself in your blog, but not everyone does. I think there are probably as many ways to blog as there are bloggers and it would be wrong for there to be a requirement one way or the other. Blogging is what bloggers make it.