Wednesday May 07, 2008 @ 09:50 PM (UTC)

So upon reflection and discussion, I’m really quite indecisive about what divides, if any, to forge between my professional life on the internet and my footloose bloggery on the faeryenet. Ryan, the man who manages to mix videogame reviews, rants, and paens to pie with his coding offerings and opinions on, thinks my entire mental framework is outmoded. The idea of ‘personal’ versus ‘professional’ web presences, he would have it, is more or less gone. And I’ll admit, since I didn’t pseudonym up this blog, he may have a point. Regardless of whether I think some coy non-linking and non-use of keywords and a separate domain is a conceptual bright line, the average intertronner probably does not see or care about that line.

So what is gained by pretending? I’m not sure. Perhaps the sense of consequence-free play that gave rise to Justice Man and the Lure of Milk-Bones and Master Taco. If I think ‘serious’ readers or, goddesses forfend, editors might be looking on, would I feel so free to drivel at the mouth and overflow at the brainpan? Does my dim little bright line actually fool even me enough to allow such tomfoolery these days?

And what’s at stake? Well, there are the unknowables. The people who might not want to be associated with me if they read, well, Justy. And there are the archives. By posting it, I said I was okay with it being known; but by making a part of my professional web presence, I’d be owning this as part of my writerly persona. I might have to go through the archives pruning things. That sounds daunting, and even possibly dishonest. But it also, to venture even further into alliteration, bears a resemblance to due diligence.

So, opinions? I know EMeta, at least, has been frustrated by my strange and arcane attempt at compartmentalization. Lemme hear it, folks. Is there a line between personal and professional on the web? At least, when you’re non-anonymous and under thirty? Why did you choose what you chose?

nota bene: whatever the outcome of this discussion, Faerye Net is due for a rehaul. Hopefully it should be shinier, more folksonomic, and more RSS-friendly quite soon.


Two terms came to mind as I read your post. One is the medical term I titled my comment with, and the other is a mental health term for a negative coping mechanism, “compartmentalization.” The first is what happens when blood flow is cut off to an area of the body (usually a limb) for a period of time, and the second is one way in which people manage to blind themselves to their own shortcomings. So I guess I kind of started off with a negative slant on the whole topic, although those things may or may not actually even apply to this particular situation. Or maybe there’s a metaphor in there somewhere. You can decide. :)

Personally, I have a hard enough time keeping up with one me. Shoot, it took me 42 years just to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up; I don’t think I have time to come up with a whole ‘nother me, let alone the discipline and organizational skills required to maintain two distinct personas! I figure I’ll just be who I am and let the chips fall where they may. ‘Course to be fair, I am able to earn my living communicating with an audience that doesn’t get to choose whether they want to hear what I have to say. I guess you don’t have that luxury. :)

All that said, I think the real you is much more interesting and likable than any made-up professional persona you might invent, and I think you should let your fans really get to know you. It takes a special kind of guts to let the public see your real human not-always-flawlessly-perfect side, but in doing so you bond with them in special ways, and show them it’s okay to be human.

I’ve been a devoted fan of Tom Selleck for years - not because he’s any sort of stellar actor, or the best-looking man in Hollywood - but because he once admitted on national TV that his favorite way to eat chocolate cake is smushed in a glass of milk. That makes him real to me. And when I eat chocolate cake in public, I no longer have to eat it dry while secretly wishing I could cram it into my milk instead. No, ma’am, I can eat it the way I love it, and hold my head up proudly as I do! If anyone looks at me funny, I just casually mention how Tom Selleck eats his cake the same way, and they leave me alone. It’s never failed.

I am not below 30, and may not have appropriate understanding of the vagaries of the modern electronic world.

You have initially moved towards separate appearances for your professional and personal presences (which I would liken to interactive billboards). Regardless of whether you can articulate of why you did so, changing that might change the way you feel and make use of both.

That a person could potentially find ways to link the two means that you should treat both with sufficient care that you wouldn’t be embarrassed if strangers knew to link them with each other and with you. Treating them as one, however, implies that your goals are the same. As I understand it, the goal of was personal expression largely with friends and acquaintances, albeit with occasional tidbits of stories you likely weren’t trying to publish otherwise. Your professional site, however, is intended specifically for the viewing and communication with editors, fans, and the results of your profession (potentially journalists, friends of fans, etc).

If you’re looking for whether you should assume or maintain clear distinction between the areas, I think you are and should be aware that it will eventually be broken. If you’re looking for thoughts on why you might keep them separate, I’ll have to resort to analogy: I carry keys, cash, wallet, and other assorted items in my pockets as I might need them. Any and all might potentially be lost, stolen, or needed at a given time. I find it increases usability to have them in distinct pockets. While it could be argued that such is an obscurity-based attempt to hide my wallet from pick-pockets, that is not a driving force for why I do it. While the interactions are very different, you might similarly enjoy distinguishing locations for you postings even knowing that cross-communication is possible.

A) Your success in separating the sites is questionable at best. Googling your name gives Faerye as the second site result, and of course someone could find your author site from reading this one.

B) I’m closer to 30 than you and I do support the idea of maintaining two different sites, if you want. I imagine that when you gain a bit more literary fame you might not want some kinds of the personal attention that fandom often brings.

C) You will undoubtedly bring more fame and success (in sales terms) upon yourself the more you present of your personality in the public sphere. I don’t actually read blogs besides your regularly, but the intimacy Neil Gaiman presents on his blog does endear me even more to him. (And he’s still the first hit when Googling “Neil.”) You have a lovely voice, and you like to write a lot. No reason not to use that to your advantage.

To summarize the above mess, I think you should keep two different sites, but in your shoes I think I would bury a link to this one somewhere in the [hopefully expanded] pages of the .com.

dear, dear… and I thought my thoughts were muddled. My writing ever more so. Where’s the edit / delete previous post link?

I’ll check and see whether that is in the new blog software, but no guarantees :p

Thanks for the really thorough thinking, guys. I must compile and consider!

I have been wrestling with this same question for some time, and have slowly been merging the real and virtual me. However, I think Grizelda is around to stay, because I would grieve her loss, and I enjoy changing skin from time to time.

Well, ask about that one.

Personally, I have trouble with this, too. At the moment i have two journals (in the real world, not online.) One is for me and I write about everything, warts and all. The other one is for my son, where I shy around some of the warts, and tend to write glowing things about how much I love him, and less about how lack of sleep sometimes makes me want to bash my head into the wall repeatedly as I head to his crib at 2 AM. There’s a difference of opinion on this in my mom’s group (two of the women are writers.) They say censorship is bad for writing. In practice, I do find the compartmentalization of my journals confusing, and I am usually writing in the non-censored one. And I wonder…what age will he be when he reads this? I should probably put in more of the warts, especially considering I never got an accurate picture from Mom of what it was like to take care of a baby. I may have been a good baby, but I was still a baby, and as Anne Lamott says, that’s like saying Albert Speer was a good Nazi—he was still a Nazi. There’s a lot of it that’s a pain in the rear. But I don’t want him to read it when he’s six and think I’m sorry I had him because I complained about a few things.

But you were asking about the internet. I think it’s best to be nice on the internet. Well, not “nice.” You’ve expressed yourself forcefully while staying quite civil and I think that’s OK. When I worked in an office and thought someone at work might start reading my blog, I deleted the not-nice entries. They were all about my boss and the inappropriate things he did or said on the job.

Have I won the award for longest most rambling comment?

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