The Great Firewall
Unlike some other bloggers, my blogging here is focused on just one topic area. I keep things from my regular life out of this blog, and much of the content of this blog would (I believe) be quite a surprise to most of the people who know me in my job, personal friendships, etc.
I think everyone does something akin to this. In a classic clip from Sienfeld,(specifically, the 7th season episode The Pool Guy), George Costanza worries about “worlds colliding” if Relationship George is introduced to the friends he knows as Independent George. We’re all like that to some extent.
That said, this blog seems to be a rather extreme example. There is a lot I don’t get to say because I want to keep my worlds separated. In some ways, my self-imposed firewall is quite limiting.
For example, I considered making a Simpson’s-style avatar in lieu of a picture, but having made one, I decided that as stylized as it was, it might nevertheless give more clues than I want to about who I am in real life. Likewise, one of my upcoming posts will be about voices, and it would be nice to share my own or at least talk about what I sound like, but given the shadowy nature of my persona here, I’m going to have to tread carefully there too.
It also means that if I’m quiet for a while because I’m busy with other things in my life, it will be indistinguishable to you from simple laziness on my part since I’m not going to say “I was in Bombay that week!” or “I was in piloting a hot air ballon from Alaska to China”. You’re just going to have to miss out on all that stuff. The most I’ll concede is that I have a real life, doing things I love doing, and sometimes that life means I’m not always able to sit down, reflect, and write something here.
In short, the most you’re going to get out of me about the rest of my life is on my about page, which gives you some sense of who I am without going into any serious details.
I’d like to be able to say that at least by being circumspect about revealing too much about my real life, it does allow me to be as honest as I like about issues that I would otherwise consider very personal and private. But actually, that’s not completely true either—I have another layer of self-imposed firewall. I have to considered the possibility that despite all my care, someone might figure out just who I am anyway—all it takes is one slip on my part (e.g., a computer left open when a friend stops by). Given that reality, everything I write has to meet the criteria of being something I could live with if a friend did read it. Curiously, that restriction doesn’t chafe at all; so far, there is nothing I’ve said that I’d actually be unwilling to stand behind if I had to.
On the positive side, by omitting so many details, the blog stays more-or-less on topic, which is hopefully good. And I think there is another curious phenomenon: I also enable you to imagine me in a way that matches what you are looking for. If you want to think I’m just like you, it’s probably easier to do so if you don’t know that much.