You’re on a date. The guy opposite of you seems attentive, interested, and personable. But there’s something not quite right.
Maybe he’s commenting a little too much on the décor of your date venue. Perhaps he’s got a lot to say about the menu or is critiquing the clothes of passers-by. And when he asks you again where you’re from, your age and appears to make a mental note of your eye colour, you need to beware.
There’s every chance you could be sitting across from the scourge of the internet: the poison pen-wielding, faceless web coward that is the anonymous blogger. Avoid. Why? Here’s why:
The true cross that every anonymous blogger has to bear is that most people don’t know (or indeed care) who they are.
For some bloggers, this adds to the mystery and appeal and so they value their anonymity (yes, I’m talking about me now), but others regret that their face sits behind a paywall that nobody is going to shell out the pennies to peek behind.
That their genius will remain undiscovered or that they’ll never receive recognition for their toil is a constant source of worry. They consider ‘coming out’ and revealing all to much fanfare, realising it’s the only way to realising their ambition of getting a publishing deal for a toilet book of their tweets out in time for Christmas, without taking into account that it’s the anonymity which makes them interesting.
“This would make a great blog”
Everything is material. Everything. Whether they’re the kind of scribe who slates restaurants or drones about fashion, every single sight and sound is potential content for their wry musings.
With an armchair movie reviewer, for example, the pleasure of a date to the cinema would be destroyed with every tut and deep sigh, along with the fuzzy glow of your blogging beau’s iPhone being removed from his pocket so he can tap out some withering notes about Keira Knightley’s similarity to a pine summer house.
Everyone’s a critic, yes, but perhaps your other half could leave the fault-finding eye – let alone the gushing superfan plaudits – at home for the evening.
Being their nearest and dearest – no matter how much your enthusiasm might be dwindling – you are of course expected to be their number one devotee.
When they ask you if you have read their latest tirade against the state of the London Underground or their new blog about Blackpool Fashion Week, don’t let the panic shoot all the way up from your gut to your eyes. Pretend that you did, make your excuses as quickly as possible and adjourn to the nearest toilet and get busy with your smartphone – and pray it’s only a short essay.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling a bit argumentative and are looking for an afternoon more interesting than discussing what your paramour thought of the sausages in the 100 local cafes he’s reviewing for his fucking super-amazing blog, confess you haven’t read it and probably won’t, because the last one wasn’t your “cup of tea”.
If there’s one thing a nameless scribe can’t abide, it’s being compared to a cup of English Breakfast.
Do you know who I am?
The answer to that can only ever be “no”. If you will insist on dating an anonymous blogger, you need to make sure that the most interesting thing about him isn’t merely that nobody else knows what makes him so interesting.
And that misguided self-importance? The belief that what they’re doing is SO vital that they couldn’t possibly do it under their real name? Not to mention the hand-wringing over the impact their posting will have (none, usually). As unsexy as it gets, really, unless they’re bad in bed to boot.
The power of anonymity enables the secret blogger to develop a persona quite distinct from their humdrum everyday Mr Average.
Perhaps in his blogs and on Twitter your codenamed scribbler will come across as a hot, sexy wordsmith, with lashings of snarky asides, cogent thoughts and a trailer park full of witticisms to make your heart thump.
Rip him away from WordPress and his tweets, however, and you’re left with a ratty, pensioner-in-training with a myopic worldview, endless bad jokes and a skip filled to the brim with unbridled anger and missed opportunities.
You can’t log off from real life, remember.
NB: Absolutely none of these pitfalls apply to me. Not a one. I’m a joy to date. You’d be lucky to have me. Maybe. (Possibly not.)