When I started this blog my focus was on book reviews but now that it has grown, I want to share some stuff other than book reviews. Ramblings Keep Me sane is essentially about, well, ramblings. It could be book-related ramblings… or not. It’ll be like a discussion post where readers can share their opinion about anything under the sun.
When You Are Not Who You Say You Are
A lot of bat-shit crazy things have happened in the book blogging community and while I really wanted to comment on those issues in the past, I didn’t because, honestly, I don’t have the time to wade in the drama. That said, on 18th of October, Kathleen Hale, the author of No One Else Can Have You, wrote an article on The Guardian about how she stalked a book blogger. Say what? Yup, you read that right. See for yourself. Needless to say, it was a mess. I don’t know what sickens me more, the act of stalking itself or her self-deprecating-yet-feeling-justified tone in writing the article. In the said article, Hale made a great deal of Blythe Harris’ fake identity and she felt that her actions were justified because of this. My question today, fellow bloggers and/or bookish people, is this: does it matter if a blogger uses a fake name when he/she blogs? I mean, I get that Hale was hurt because of Harris’ criticism (truly, I get that) and she felt like she could be Sherlock Holmes and unearth Harris’ identity because if her name is fake then her criticism is fraudulent too, right? So Hale proved (more or less) that Blythe Harris isn’t really Blythe Harris, but what was the point? In my five years of blogging in different blogging platforms like WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger, I lost count of how many bloggers I encountered that were not using their real names. Some bloggers use names of fictional characters in books or movies, others use their nickname or a variation of it, some make up entirely different names (a few bloggers admit to using a blogger moniker or alter ego in their blog’s about page). Using a blogging alter ego is not entirely new, at least to me. It’s no big deal. So long as you’re not gaining monetary gain or purposely deceiving someone by creating a fake persona, then that’s okay. When I started Books Keep Me Sane I contemplated using a blogger moniker but decided to just use my nickname instead. You might wonder why bloggers do this. I can think of a couple of reasons why:
- It separates the personal stuff from the blogging stuff – there are bloggers that don’t want to include much personal details in their blogs and they feel the need to use a different name
- It’s cool and mysterious to not reveal your true name – some bloggers just want to be enigmatic
- Using their real names can affect their blogging – this typically applies to gossip blogs where they spread nasty rumors about celebrities.
Bottom line is that I don’t think Harris’ use of a different name online is enough justification for Hale to pay for background check on the blogger, and calling in Harris’ work and pretending to be a fact-checker. We shouldn’t be surprised if we find out that everyone isn’t who they say they are on the internet. It is important to always remember that you really don’t know who you’re talking to online. One seemingly innocent Twitter follower could be your stalker, an unsuspicious comment in one your Facebook status might be from the person who has an extremely weird fixation on you. Be careful of what you share on the interwebs.