I never imagined that this would happen so soon. That just four months into my blogging journey I would find myself having to re-evaluate and explore further my ideas concerning the slightly oxymoronic concept of privacy on the internet. Blogging and boundaries - now there's a tricksy topic. A real slippery fish of a subject. This could take a while... I mean where do you even start?
Perhaps with... I know you've been reading this, T.
You see a couple of days ago I was looking through my stats when I discovered that a new reader had visited my blog and had spent quite a while looking at it - clicking through all my archives and categories and even going so far as to check out my 'contact me' page.
Checking the e-mail address to see if it's the one you recognise?
On closer inspection I saw that this reader had found my blog through Technorati. My initial reaction was one of pleasure in that perhaps submitting my blog had in fact been worth it after all, and so absent mindedly I clicked on the referring link, expecting to see my technorati profile (which uses the name Gappy) come up. Instead, what appeared in front of me was a 'claimed blogs profile' which I had never even seen before, and which used my real name. For the sake of this post, lets just say my initials are M.H. The profile I was looking at had in large letters at the top, 'M...... H......'s Claimed Blogs, and then a small link and picture of my layout at the bottom. After a few minutes of confusion it suddenly struck me that whoever had found this profile must surely have been searching for it under my real name. Oooookaaay I thought - there's plenty of M.H's in the world - perhaps it's just a coincidence. But it didn't feel right and so I went back to my stats for a closer look. They showed that the reader also happened to come from the same city as someone I know. Still I thought.. it's a big place... it could still just be a coincidence. But when I looked yet more closely and saw what posts the reader appeared to have skimmed through, and what they had suddenly stopped on and really spent time reading, I knew that my suspicion was almost certainly correct.
I notice that you clicked on my 'personal stuff' category and that you lingered there for quite a while. Just the page where there happens to be a post that I wrote about love and relationships. So did you find what you were looking for T? I'm assuming you did.
I have just had the loveliest weekend spent enjoying the company of friends. But how to handle this situation has been playing on my mind. I told my friend about it and she just looked a bit blank. 'But... it's on the internet' was her eventual reaction, which I interpreted as meaning, 'don't put your stuff in a public space if you don't want people to read it'. The thing is I do want people to read it. I just don't want people I know to know it's me - which is why I blog anonymously.
Do you remember asking me where you could find my blog when I told you during that phone conversation that I had one? I know I know, I should never have mentioned it at all, but when I made it clear to you that I didn't want anyone I knew to read it, I absolutely trusted that you wouldn't go looking for it. You said you wouldn't.
My blog is no longer completely anonymous. I am - let's be frank - a pretty rubbish anonymous blogger. I'm not technically savvy enough to be able to do it properly. My anonymity was dependent on a certain amount of trust, which has now been broken. Am I hugely morally outraged by this? Well nooo.... not really. I'm human and I can understand how it feels to be curious. I can understand how it feels to be tempted too. The line shouldn't have been crossed, but there are worse crimes I suppose. I do feel a bit strange about it though, as if my space has been invaded and someone has read my diary, despite the fact that I know a blog is fundamentally different (and perhaps even the opposite) to a private journal.
So what I'm saying to you T (and I hope this is clear) is don't come here again. It's not for you. I didn't write any of this so that you could read it. You know, if you want to know how I am or what I'm up to, you could always ring. Now get lost and go and do something else.