23 August 2010

Quietly Unfamous

It is so nice to be able to walk around anonymously in public. No one comes up to me asking for my autograph. No one can type the word "Via" into Google and quickly find my blogs. No one follows me down the street trying to take photographs of me without my permission.

I do not receive requests for interviews from journalists or invitations to appear on television chat shows. My personal life is not the central focus of attention in the lives of bored teenagers and unfulfilled older women. And I am very glad my life does not revolve around promotional events, theatrical and film premieres and the pages of fashion magazines.

Whenever a misfortune has happened to me, a camera and microphone have not been thrust aggressively in my face with the question "How does it feel?" insensitively and insistently uttered at me by an eagerly intrusive reporter. Publicity is something I would find traumatic at the best of times. I hope I never have to do anything to please, excite or entertain strangers to my own detriment.

The desire for popularity, fame and status are signs of insecurity, in my view. Perhaps people with a less stable sense of identity and an unclear sense of purpose in life are more likely to have permeable boundaries between their private and public worlds. Perhaps they have not read my By Any Other Name blog.

My online life is something I keep separate and distinct from my most important relationships. I have no intention of becoming a "celebrity" or a politician so I do not need to worry about what other people may think about my past behaviour. I do not need to have an employer, either, which is another reason why I do not have much concern about my online identity.

But if you are dependent on a salary or a public image, or you may be in the future, then perhaps you need to think about being quietly unfamous too (rather than infamous!):

Your past online identities

Many of us enjoy expressing aspects of ourselves online. I have reflected on my travels through my Continual Journeys blog, and on my family history through Ancestors Within. Expressing aspects of ourselves can be a risk, especially if we suddenly find ourselves famous against our will!

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