The other day, I saw a link (on the front page of Blogger as it happens), about a blog owner who had recently died. I followed the link, read the last few posts of the blog, thought how sad it was…. and then went away and got on with my own life. I don’t think I thought of it again until I read a post to a completely unrealated mailing list I was on. One of the members clearly had been following this blog for some time, and she had posted to the list because she was feeling upset and disillusioned…. because it turns out that the deceased blog owner had apparantly not really existed at all in the first place. There are a couple of looooooong threads on Metafilter about it if you want the gory details. It’s all very strange. It doesn’t bother me personally, since I hadn’t heard of the girl before I saw the first link, but it looks like a fair few people are upset.
What I actually found interesting was the number of other ‘fake’ online journals that were cited. I haven’t, to my knowledge, come across one of these before, but it doesn’t surprise me at all that they exist. After all, it’s not that hard to do in an environment like the internet – what proof is there that I’m who I say I am? Yes, there are some people that know that I am (Hi Megs! *g*), but there must be a lot more that don’t. Though come to think of it, it would probably be fairly easy to find out my details….. but then, maybe I’ve taken on the persona of someone else who is real…… (and kiiiiiiilled them…… mwahahahahah.). But the thing is, on the internet, it’s pretty much traditional to disguise your identity with nicknames/handles. I do it – in fact, until relatively recently, I never mentioned publicly online that my name is Louise. Lots of people know it, but even those I now know in real life have been known to call me Soul’ to my face. And I even answer to it. *g*
Not long after I started my first (‘proper’) website in winter ’98/’99, I came across a site called The Realms of Darkness, which at the time was dedicated to Spike & Dru from Buffy. It was run by two girls called Sharyl and Sarah, and I emailed them to tell them how much I loved the site, had a reply and a short dialogue ensued. I linked them, they linked me, I was surprised to discover they’re German – their English is perfect and I’d assumed they were in the states from the site, which was up to date with the then ‘current’ episodes of the show. A few months later, I started Spiked & Skewered, and joined their Spikeaholics club, and we started chatting more often. I think it was me who told them about James Marsters going to Nocturnal 2K, sometime in the autumn of ’99, and at any rate, we all booked tickets. When they came over to London in November-ish, we met up, had a meander around then went back to my flat for a Spike-fest – it was excellent fun, and we got on really well. By this time, I think, they had gradually started using the net handles of Noxy and Luna, respectively. But anyway, we kept in touch fairly regularly over the next few months, sent Christmas cards and packages and all that, and then I suppose about a year ago, or just over, I had an email from Sharyl/Noxy, in which she said she felt she finally had to come clean…… her name wasn’t really Sharyl. I felt a bit silly – I had always assumed that because it was a real name, that it was her real one, even though it wasn’t very German. D’oh!! So anyway, I replied that it didn’t matter at all, and jokingly asked if Sarah wasn’t really called Sarah either. Not long after, Sarah mailed me. Guess what? D’oh, d’oh, d’oh!!!! She actually thought I wouldn’t be able to pronounce her real name properly, but a singing teacher I had at one point was called the same thing, so it wasn’t a problem. So why hadn’t they told me when we first met up? Well, because they felt silly. “Hi, we’re Sharyl and Sarah….. except….. umm….. we’re not.” See? They were a bit worried I’d be upset or offended, I think, but I wasn’t at all – thing is, even though I didn’t know their real names for a while, I knew/know them, and that’s what counts. And I spose that’s why I don’t mind being called Soul’ – it’s just a nickname, and it’s still me.