For the last six years I've blogged anonymously here at F/A. I decided to blog anonymously because I wanted to be able to write about whatever I wanted without worrying about it having an impact on my real life. It wasn't any grand strategy of creative freedom. F/A began as an exploration of blogging, then a new technology and cultural phenomenon that I thought I should understand.
For the first year of blogging, over on Blogger, I was so anonymous my wife didn't even know what I was up to. For the first few months, as I developed a voice and got familiar with the technology, I don't think anyone even read what I wrote. Then one day I wrote something about cartoonist Ted Rall, and someone linked to it, and I got comments. I have no idea how anyone found me, but suddenly I was on the web, live and with a (tiny) audience.
Not long after that I moved over to Typepad, which allowed the posting of pictures and captured rudimentary traffic data. When my wife told her siblings what I was doing, I got as mad at her as I ever get because all of a sudden people who knew me in real life were watching me on the web. I got used to it and they're now regulars here, commenting occasionally and sending me things to write about. But my own family doesn't know much about this; I have a brother who drops by once in a while, but that's about it. I enjoy being able to spout off without having to live down what I write.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try something new: a presence on the web that is deliberately anything but anonymous. Under my real name, with real information about my life and a real picture of me right there on the front page, I signed up for Facebook. My motivation for going on Facebook is a lot like my motivation for blogging: it's something I feel like I need to understand. Social media are a huge cultural phenomenon and an emerging factor in my business, so I'm in the midst of an aggressive effort to participate and understand. I'm spending four or five hours a day exploring and reading and asking around, and my schedule for the next month is full of lunch and cocktail appointments with smart people who've thought about this more than I have.
For now, there's not going to be much crossover between F/A and my Facebook self. Maybe that'll change some day, but for now, this is this and that is that. When I'm on Facebook, I'll miss the anonymity of blogging, and when I'm blogging I'll miss the ready-made interactive audience of social media, which will go out and find friends for you if you can't find them yourself.
There are a couple of my regular readers who know enough about me that they could find me on Facebook; maybe everyone could if they strung together enough clues and searched hard enough. I don't know why you'd do that. Believe me: I'm really not that interesting.
Still, I'm going to ask those of you who either know me or who can find me to please respect my anonymity. I'm less concerned about F/A readers finding me on Facebook than I am about Facebook readers finding me on F/A. Trust me: if the people I work with knew how much I write about women's undergarments, no one would go to lunch or out for drinks with me ever again.
So if you come across me over there, please let's keep this blog just between us girls.