BumblingAlong is taking part in @Erica‘s guest post day! Last time we were matched up with the lovely New Mummy. This time we have the equally lovely T-J Hughes, owner of bras4mums, Maternity & Nursing specialist bra fitters, and writer of blog Support4Women. As you’ll read below, we met recently – only she didn’t know 😉
So over to T-J:
I’m delighted to be writing for @BumblingTweets on this #guestpostday, because we ALMOST met last Saturday in the flesh. So, I thought it was a good topic to explore. Why do some people remain anonymous online? Does it really matter?
Some people won’t connect online if you don’t have photo of yourself, or your profile isn’t complete. Is it so important that we see what someone else looks like before we commit to ‘liking’ or ‘following’ them? I quite like the fact that you don’t really know who people are, yet you can still exchange views and have conversations through comments on blogs and twitter.
I was amazed how many comments I got when I finally uploaded a recent, decent photo in early May, instead of a random ‘avatar’. People commented that it was ‘nice to see me’, and, ‘good to see who I’m talking to’. I felt quite chuffed that I was valued enough for people that I follow to comment on the change. People seemed to connect more with me as a person, and someone who runs a business and a family. But why? My tweets and blogs hadn’t changed in content?
So when I had a twitter conversation last Saturday morning with @BumblingTweets, before the NEC Baby Show to book an appointment for her Sister-in-law to get a bra fitting on my stand (bras4mums), I got all excited. I’m not a full-time tweeter, so when I have conversations with people I really enjoy the connection.
I wrote on the appointment sheet across a few spaces, “@BumblingTweets”, and expected that when they arrived they would introduce themselves. They didn’t. I was disappointed at the time, but why?
Hubby is quite happy not to remain anonymous. I on the other hand have times where I want to remain anonymous, but it’s impossible. Online I guess I want to become known so that people will know who I am, and what I do. In ‘real life’ I sometimes like to hide and pretend I haven’t seen someone so I can keep in my little world of make believe, or maintain my chill time. Is that wrong?
So why is it wrong for people to remain anonymous in other parts of their life? It’s not. We all have our reasons for doing what we do, and as long as we’re not hurting anyone else, physically or emotionally, then surely it’s up to us how we conduct ourselves? Do I give different bra advice to those women I haven’t met? No. All are treated the same.
Just like ‘terms of engagement’ in a business meeting, or personal relationships, there is also ‘blog etiquette’ and ‘what not to do on twitter’. There are certain things that are OK, and other things that are frowned upon. And if you don’t want to publish a photo, or engage in real life with someone you’ve met online then surely that’s fine. Who makes up the rules anyway? If you want to engage with someone who has a silly photo, or none at all, surely that’s up to you?
We all have our own expectations, our reasons, so I want to encourage everyone on this #guestpostday to show a little respect of each other. Acknowledge our similarities and value our differences – it’s what makes the world a better place us all working together.
I respect @BumblingTweets her for her anonymity and have this week learnt that everyone is not like me online. Just like ‘real life’!
Thanks T-J for such a thought provoking post. It’s an issue I struggle with. If I’m absolutely honest, the reason I didn’t introduce myself to T-J as “bumblingtweets” is because it was a bit embarrassing! In real life, I’m a little embarrassed about my online life, even though it is probably a better reflection of the real me than the persona I project in real life.
And generally, the reason why I stay semi-anonymous on the blog and on twitter is because I’m a little nervous of people I know in real life finding me there, moaning about Moo’s lack of sleep, or asking what to do about her nasty cough. Because, as you will see over on T-J’s blog today, in real life I am a professional person, someone who needs to be seen as capable, competent, a safe pair of hands. My blog and twitter give me a chance to be the person behind the job, to wallow in my mummy-ness, and to express my non-work, non-mum self too – I’m learning to be more creative, and more opinionated!
But it’s certainly not that I don’t want to engage in real life with the people I engage with online. There are now a number of readers of this blog who know me in real life. There are a number of twitter friends I know in real life. And I’ll be speaking at Cybermummy, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out which speaker I am (although I’m not specifically linking the two up – you’ll have to come to find out for sure 😉
So, anonymous or open, or somewhere in between – which are you?