At the start of the month I began a blogging experiment of sorts. I described it to myself at the time as “slipping under the radar” – severing ties between the “real world” version of myself, and the “internet” version of myself. Because I work in the internet realm, my real name is all over the place – tied to open source software, thousands of tweets, and spurious posts to social platforms that gather dust in quiet corners of the internet.
Here’s the thing though – alongside the coding, commenting, tweeting, and posting of endless photos of random train platforms, I’ve also been writing a personal blog. I have a pretty accurate record of every word I’ve posted to the blog since the beginning of 2003. I’ve never been entirely comfortable sharing the personal blog with the same audience that know me professionally though.
So this month I decided to do something about it.
I’ve toyed with changing the name of things before, but never really persued a disconnect on this scale. I haven’t just changed the URL – I’ve created new accounts, tied to new email addresses, filled with spurious personal information. An entire ecosystem based around a second identity, completely and utterly divorced from “me” (although also “me”, if that makes any sense).
Over the last couple of weeks the experiment has grown. What started with Yahoo Mail and WordPress has now expanded to cover Twitter, Tumblr, LiveJournal, Blogger, Pinterest, Snapchat, KIK, Reddit, and GitHub. Yes, even GitHub. You’re probably wondering why on earth I might want a GitHub account. Well that’s where it gets really nerdy.
In recent years the archive of old posts has received a bit of a spring clean, and a conversion to the “markdown” text format. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of markdown – only people that work in publishing have usually heard of it – just trust me when I say it’s a really good idea. For a time I kept the archive of plain text files in DropBox, and then Google Docs, but neither really worked very well. And then something occurred to me – GitHub gives you free storage of open source programming projects, and automagically renders markdown files for display. So kind of a “living” archive.
I told you it was going to get nerdy.
The last “mixed pool” of friends I have left to deal with is Facebook, where those that know me in the real world, and via the internet are all mixed into one swirling morass. I’m tempted to do something about it, but haven’t decided quite what just yet. Given that Facebook has been toxic for quite some time, I might just leave it to die quietly in the corner – given the way it works, the longer you remain quiet, the less your existence is advertised to others anyway.
So anyway – yes – I’ve kind of split myself into two on the internet. Voldemort would probably be quite proud. Let’s just hope some Harry Potter type chap doesn’t turn up to start pulling the rug out from beneath my invention.
The best way I can describe the (somewhat planned) end result of all the idiocy is the construction of a rabbit hole on the internet into which I can escape the shackles, expectations, and obligations of “real life” from time to time. A rabbit hole that is mine – disconnected from everybody and everything that typically surrounds me.