Thursday, 14 January 2010

Time to Come Clean?

I’ve been quiet on this blog and on Twitter for a while now. I’m not going to apologise for it or make excuses. There is a reason. It’s called Life. I have one and it gets in the way of my online persona sometimes.

Because, let’s face it, Marc Nobbs is a persona – one that I use online to protect my offline persona and, more importantly, my family. I know it’s hard to believe, but some people are small minded enough to consider the type of thing I write to be ‘unsuitable’ or some other equally judgemental label and the sort of people that do that wouldn’t stop at taking out their holier-than-thou high moral judgements on the online persona if they knew who my offline persona was.

The truth is that I’m actually very comfortable with what I write. They way I look at it, they are just novels about relationships – all I do is not look away when things get intimate. So why should I hide? Actually, I don’t consider using an online persona as hiding. I see it more as keeping my online and offline lives separate.

But…

The other day, I updated my Facebook profile since I’ve finally come to the conclusion that MySpace is dying a death and Facebook seems to be the defacto place to go. (This is your own fault MySpace. It’s the little things – like considering a Blogger blog as ‘spam’ and blocking the link. YOUR OWN FAULT. Take note Mr Murdoch. If you try and make your newspapers online presence a similarly ‘closed shop’ as you are threatening to, then they will simply suffer the same fate. The world has changed, and so must the media. But that’s a separate blog post – or several – on it’s own)

After updating the profile I started browsing some other profiles. And I found profiles for a lot of the people I went to school with. Note my choice of words. I didn’t call them ‘school-friends’. Don’t get me wrong, I had a couple of good friends at school but for the most part my classmates were just people I knew because we attended the same institution at the same time. I mean, if they were good friends, I’d still be in contact with them, right?

I actually found it amusing looking at the ‘friends’ list for these profiles since most of the people on there would never have been seen breathing the same air as some of their Facebook ‘friends’ when they were at school together. But it left me thinking, should I ‘make friends’ with some of my old classmates using my current profile? Would they recognise me? Would they care? Obviously they wouldn’t recognise the name, but I could add a message to the friend request explaining who I was. Would they remember me then? And how would they react to me online persona? What would they think of the books I write? Would they buy them to see what they are like? How would they react if we ever met again in person? Is that even likely?

Like I say, I’m not ashamed of what I write, but that’s not to say I want old acquaintances saying to each other “Hey, have you seen what that chap we went to school with is up to?”. I don’t want that because the response will probably be “Yeah, I always knew he was a f*^&^g pervert.”

On the other hand, surely it’s a marketing opportunity even if they only buy my book out of perverse curiosity.

It’s a dilemma. And one I’ll probably wrestle with for some time.

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