I am not under the delusion that I’m a famous blogger or anything. I’ve been lucky enough to find some people who read my blog and interact with me and that’s been a great and unexpected blessing. But in the grand scheme of things, my blog is rather tiny. I get a fraction of the views even a very small YouTube channel would get, if I’m lucky. And that’s o.k. I have never been a person who is attracted to the concept of fame in any way. It sounds…exhausting…

yeah – seems horrible!

This said, I won’t lie that there’s something nice about the idea of people wanting to read your thoughts or know more about you. It makes me feel a little special. At least in the comfortable space of my blog. But I never dreamed of the day this could leak into my offline world and I was unprepared.

I’m making it sound exciting! It’s not. It’s a really boring little story but it had an impact on me, so I want to share it:

There’s a little coffee shop I go to a couple of times a week. It’s on my way to work so hen I decide to go into the office, it’s really convenient. It’s also opened at 5 a.m. and has all these fresh baked goods so it’s kind of my go to breakfast place when I decide I’m hungry that day. I’ve been going there for years so I’ve seen the same handful of long-time employees for a long time now. We exchange pleasantries and wish each other a nice day. I don’t know anyone’s name. I’m not the most sociable type. I wouldn’t mind learning their names, but it seems invasive to ask.

There’s a guy that started working there a few months ago. A nice enough man. He works at the register. About a week ago, I plopped down my bag on the counter to fish out my wallet and he remarked that I had a ton of anime pins. We talked a bit about it and about manga. He made some recommendations. It stopped there.

tokyo ghoul coffee shop
yup, nothing special about this coffee shop at all

Then a few days after that, he was staring at me pretty intently. Then remarked: “Your hair was silver white before, but no it’s pink”. For some reason, people often narrate my life to me, so I thought nothing of it. I smiled and said something along the lines of “yeah, I was in the mood for a change” and figured it would stay at that. But then he said: “You don’t have a blog, do you?”. My mind went blank. This was not a situation I was prepared for. With all due elegance I said “uhhh, umm, yeah, kinda, I mean um yeah, I write one…sometimes…” I’m sure he was dazzled. My communication skills are second to none!

I knew it! You write that anime blog! I read that thing about changing your avatar to match your new hair colour. Your avatar is really cute. It’s a great blog! You sure watch a lot of anime….” I never know how to interact with this type of statement. I usually go “ha ha, yeah, I sure do! I really like it”. Bear in mind that this is a virtual stranger here. I figure he likes anime but then again, he may just have stumbled on that post randomly. I scraped the bottom of my soul to gather up all my social skills and asked him if he enjoyed anime and if he was watching anything at the moment. We chatted a bit more about that and about my blog. It stayed perfectly pleasant and surface level. He invited me out for coffee which relaxed me a bit since that’s a situation I’m way more familiar with.

That’s it. I warned you it wasn’t an exciting story. He didn’t ask for my autograph or anything. In hindsight that’s very disappointing!

But it did throw me off for a little bit. For the very first time since I started this blog, I was confronted with the reality that there are people out there, complete strangers, that know things about me, and I don’t know anything about them.

nothing to worry about

I’m not prone to paranoia or anything. This wasn’t a scary thought. And like I said, I’m not famous by any stretch of the word. But this is a new reality in which I have never existed before. I’m not really a social media person. I didn’t grow up with an internet presence. I’m not likely to have someone recognize me from my Instagram or something. I’m very use to being an outsider and observer. Suddenly having an active role requires a bit of a mental adjustment.

I don’t know how I feel about it yet.

I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I guess banal indifference would be the proper mood here. But it made me reconsider my blog. Do I want to encourage more of this interaction? Should I put more of myself in my blog. Or go the other way and take after some of my fellow bloggers, avoiding any and all personal information from now on?

I guess this post itself answers the question. Next time I go get breakfast I might have an awkward talk with that guy since I posted our shared experience without asking for permission. And I still didn’t ask his name. I am a troglodyte!

a google image search of anime troglodyte is fascinating!

As usual, I don’t have a definitive answer. There are a lot of things I find rewarding about being personal on my blog. Connections and interactions that would be impossible otherwise and that mean a lot to me. But I can see how it can be unnerving to be at an information disadvantage when you meet someone new.

Thankfully, it’s not like I’m going to become a huge star any time soon. It’s likely that this situation may never happen again. But it is food for thought and something I never really include in my posts about blogs and blogging. Putting yourself out there means that anyone can get to know you. At least a little. And you should take that into account when starting a blog.

On the other hand, I do love learning a bit about other bloggers whenever they post about themselves. When you read someone regularly, it’s nice to get to know them a bit. It puts things into context.

How about we start with a few questions then. If you have a blog, do you write personal posts on it? Do you include anecdotes for your real life? Do you enjoy reading personal posts?

Rini 2020 (12)

60 thoughts

  1. Back when I started as a blogger, I tried to avoid posts that would give away too much about myself (privacy concerns, y’know?), but I came to realise personal posts are a style I generally write in, as well as appreciate from other bloggers (although of course, I’d expect a higher level of objectivity than the typical blogger in cases/from users where such a standard is appropriate, such as a formal review).

    I’ve since developed an entire way of speaking that creates ambiguity (for instance, deliberately “unregionalising” terms specific to my region) so that I can better protect myself online when doing personal posts, which has gotten me into tight spots in real life. The way I type is basically the way I speak and when you want someone to not mince their words, that kind of thing is counterintuitive.

    1. I always assumed no one would read my blog to be honest and I also figured I’m simply not interesting enough to stalk…It’s still a touch jarring an expérience

  2. That is a trip. I see how it might make you freak out for a few minutes anyway. And then, well, it’s kind of nice to be recognized. You do share some personal stories and opinions and so on and that’s why we love you and relate to you as a fellow human being. It’s not like he showed up at your front door… (which I’ve had happen).

    I don’t think I’ve ever been recognized in person for my writing. I used to do Found Art and I did have one sweet girl run up to me one day and say “Ohmigod you’re the person who paints the rocks. I love them! I have several of them. OMiGod.” She obviously thought I was like, famous, or something. Locally, at best. And she still didn’t know my name.

    Nothing I’ve done on the Internet makes me too worried that someone would recognize me though. Mind you, I’m the original WYSISYG girl (according to a friend) so yeah, who cares. If they love me, aww, thank you and if they hate me I’d probably just laugh unless they were actually holding a sharp knife or something.

    I realize these days when people will shoot you over next to nothing it can be worrisome. But short of posting a pic of your house or giving your address (and why would you even do that?) I wouldn’t expect anything to come of it. Crime shows to the contrary – normal people really don’t have the hacking skills to trace your phone, ya know?

    Smile. Take it as a compliment he reads your stuff and cares enough that little details stick in his head and he noticed a fellow anime watcher and happened to put it together.

      1. Sadly I think the website that was sort of promoting this (you could post photos of your rocks and a bit of a profile if you wanted, along with where you left them) seems to be gone. OTH some people are still clearly doing it – I found some pretty painted rocks left around the Bird refuge a couple miles from home! I was painting on beautiful black slate from the river bed in Tulsa, OK (Arkansas River) which made for a perfect canvas – although they are fragile. Here in the desert there are not so many smooth stones – smoothed by water… and I no longer have a big studio and all that stuff. It was fun though 😀 and I still make and leave origami around for found art.

        1. In the area I live (hey, we’re neighbours- halloooo from Alaska!) they started a rock painting scavenger hunt of sorts. You paint rocks, hide them about, and the people that find them can choose whether they want to keep the rock or re-hide them.

          The only rule is that you are supposed to upload the photo when you hide them and (optional) include a clue. The person that finds it is supposed to also take a photo and say where they found it, and then it all gets uploaded onto Facebook.

          It has died down a bit now… I guess it’s time to start painting some rocks! Anyway, this is a pretty fun thing to do… especially when it is left in places when you travel. Just include a link posted on the rock, so people can say they got it.

          1. That sounds like FUN! I’m in Nevada – Haloooo from the desert! LOL. I don’t travel anymore – it would have been amazing to do when I was moving the RV every two weeks…

            1. Well, if you ever head to Brooks Camp to go bear watching or fishing, feel free to sprinkle a ton of rocks along the way!!! (Not in the park though, of course- you can’t take or leave anything there). I love the idea of leaving oragami gift… I am awful about paperfolding though. 😛

  3. Sounds like you handled that well enough! (I’ll happily trade you, though. Try going to the store with your grandkids when somebody slides up with a “Hey, you’re that SOB who arrested me!”)

        1. I talk about my job often. I’m a biochemist and I work with patents. So Intellectual Property law. I post on the subject occasionally but those posts are not too popular

          1. That was a rather lame thing for me to say. I know that you didn’t take offense, but still…

            I do not know much about biochemistry, but your job sounds interesting. Hmmm… in comparison to anime, I think that most occupations would dim. ^_^

            1. Can’t argue with that. Real life has a though time comparing to anime in general…that sounded a little sad….

  4. As a teacher I am generally very careful about what I post on my blog as sometimes parents and or admin does not like it, and I have run into trouble in the past over it.

  5. The odds, just damn that’s so coincidental that you ran into someone who 1) knew your blog and 2) connected the pieces to actually say ‘hey I know you!’. I doubt that I’ll ever be big enough or distinct enough (I talk about so many things) to have that ever.

    I think I’ve left some hints of my personal life. Based in Japan, some additional location clues from when I lived in the states, siblings, but nothing about appearance so to speak? At least, I don’t think I have.

    I think I’d be the same with boat with you with that whole, ‘whhuuutt, real people read my blogs?’. It’s still a unique situation and it’s been an entertaining read!

    1. But people are so interesting! Why else would we watch so much anime, if not for story plot and to watch others without being rude… and, well, being able to think about what makes us and others tick?

  6. I have a few facts about me that are in the ‘no-go’ zone because of work or requests by family/friends that I don’t discuss online. That said, I feel someone who had followed my blog over the last four years would probably have picked up quite a lot about me at this stage (probably more than even I realise).

  7. Congrats kid, sounds like you made it in this town! That’s a real cool story, if we ever have the unlikely scenario of crossing paths I’ll be sure to make it as awkward as possible. I’m glad he seemed like a fan, I know if someone recognized me the coffee might be served to my face depending on what they’ve read. That’s cool, I’m glad you got to see how you’re reaching ‘actual’ people and not just those who populate the screen.

    To answers your questions: I don’t really know if I have a blog or what I have exactly, I don’t like talking about myself… so I don’t like getting personal. I tried a personal anecdote once and someone guessed what city I was in and I aborted that mission so fast. I’m fine when it comes the awards posts because I respect that someone is trying to get to know me better through the nomination. I do like reading them though, it makes that person all the more real and I do want to know who everyone really is so I can appreciate them for who that is and not who they paint themselves as.

    1. You maybe not but I bet Bill Scamaton has his own fanclub, right. My monthly subscrition is going somewhere…

  8. I occasionally write personal(ish) posts, or include posts with one or two minor personal tidbits in them, but I’m a pretty private person, especially when it comes to my online activities. Part of this is because I worked for several years as a teacher, and I know some people can get super weird about who works exactly is teaching their kids (in a hysterical “Won’t someone PLEASE think of the children?!?” kind of way). To be honest though, I’m just not that well-known anyway, which is pretty okay by me. And even if I was, until very recently, I didn’t live in a major city, so the chances of someone somehow recognizing me from my blog was extreeeeeemely slim anyway.

  9. I would have definitely been a bit uncomfortable in that situation, too.

    When I first started blogging seriously, I was afraid to write any personal posts because they didn’t exactly fit my niche. Eventually I decided to add ‘Spoilers! The Geek Diaries’ as a way to incorporate those personal posts that I was itching to write. I really enjoy writing them, but I definitely enjoy reading others’ personal posts too. It’s nice to get a glimpse of them as a person. 🙂

  10. Oh, wow. That sounds like a crazy story. I’ve never had that happen to me in regards to my blogs. The only people who know me behind my blogs are my friends or some people I’ve shared links to with some of my reviews for examples. I’ve said personal things on the main Ospreyshire blog because I don’t want to be so impersonal and I have to express some honest things.

    1. To be fair it’s only cause I included such an obvious visual identifier. I’m sure it eould never have happened otherwise

  11. I like reading personal posts sometimes. It gives me a better idea of who the writer is, where they’re coming from, all that. I occasionally get into that on my own site, mostly when I start complaining. But I also have no desire for people I know outside the internet to know I have a site. I don’t think I’ve ever written about something so specific from my life that people I know would be able to tell my identity. None of my family or friends even know I have a blog as far as I’m aware. I surely would have heard something by now if there were the case (and not something good — more like “after reading what you’ve written, we’ve decided to have you committed to an asylum.”)

    It’s nice to be recognized for your work, though I totally get why you’d feel partly uncomfortable with it.

  12. I definitely write from a personal point of view. I don’t really have much of a filter in real life either, so I guess it makes sense. I did think about sharing personal information, but kind of felt safe to do so because I’m not using my real name. I wanted to be able to write and experiment without feeling the need to censor myself. I wanted to be able to share my unsanitized thoughts. I wanted to be myself 🙂 I like the way it feels to know someone through their writing. I don’t mind whether or not they share parts of their personal life. My mind always constructs a voice for every writer I read 🙂

  13. I enjoy personal posts it makes me feel like I’m part of a conversation, but with the added benefit that I can take my time to reply and don’t just sit there in silence while I try to think of what to say next.

    I can’t help but get personal in my reviews because I always think of them as me telling people my experiences with a show. I like to give context with my opinion and if it’s a long running franchise that I have a history with then I want to tell people that history so they know where I’m coming from.

    1. I have to admit, I do really like that about your reviews. And the art work of course. I love it. It really does create a package that feels unique and special. Like it’s just for me…

  14. This was nice and I agree 100% it is nice to have some context of the individual whom you are reading the material of. I tend to include quite a lot of personal experiences in my blog writing. I personally enjoy the transparency of myself. I am also wishing to build relatable grounds on which other readers and bloggers feel comfortable interacting with me. ^^

  15. Given the fact that I made fairly personal post just now shows what kind of blogger I am, I’ve written about my life a fair bit and include things I did in posts as well. I’d love more interaction and i prefer getting to know people.
    Blogging to me deals with community, and while I cutify some things I think getting to show some personality and a real stuff is a great way to make followers care! I’d rather have 1 real follower than 25 glancers.

    Doubt i ever will be recognised though as my real friends dont even read so let alone other dutchies xD

      1. Aww that makes me kinda happy, at least I am hitting the tone I want even if there is plenty I can improve on , I am really glad my style at least shows! And cleary you read or you would not know me! Double yay!

  16. Given the way I’ve structured and presented my site — as a Site About Games, rather than Pete’s Site About Games (or Pete’s Site About Pete, Also There Are Games) — I tend not to do too many personal posts; I save that for my Patreon blog. There have been a few times where I’ve felt it was important to post something that was about *me* rather than about a game, though; they’ve always actually been quite well-received and supportive, usually because said posts tended to coincide with a period of poor mental health and a need for support.

    I do try and put something of myself into the things I write, though. I talk about honest reactions and the way I feel about things, and I make an effort to inject something that approximates my sense of humour into my articles.

    I don’t recall being “recognised” at any point, but then I don’t get out much. Although when I went for a job interview a while back, the people doing the interview did comment on that time I criticised that reviewer of Gun Gun Pixies for being a joyless Puritan with no understanding of what “target audience” means. Given that the interview was with the people who published Gun Gun Pixies, I would have gotten that job hands down no problem if I didn’t live a hundred miles away from it. Ugh, the one that got away.

  17. I write the odd personal post. I’d love to write more, but honestly, that’s a little scarier than simply talking about whatever anime episode I just watched. Rehardless, I do enjoy reading some personal posts. It’s nice seeing what everyone is like outside the anime and gaming bubble, even if it’s only a brief glimpse.
    Getting recognized is definitely nerve wracking though. I used to get it a bit from the wrestling. Mostly it was fine, because it kidna came as part and parcel of it if you did it well. Not so good when I was playing a bad guy though. Some fans took it really seriously, which led to some unfortunate moments. I’d like to think that it would be more positive if soemone recognized me from the website or my books 🙂

      1. It was that. In some ways it was good, because it meant I was really hated, which was what I was trying to achieve. There are only so many times I can handle people trying to start fights before it becomes troublesome though, especially when it was happening in general life, not at shows.

  18. Well for me, I can get usually get really personal in my blog and feel like that’s kind of the whole point of starting a blog you know? To put your thoughts and feelings out there in a way that you could never bring yourself to verbally express to others. The sense of relative anonymity gives less sociable people like myself the courage to talk more about my feelings on thoughts on a variety of different things. Even if “complete strangers” are the only ones there to listen to you and learn more about you, I feel like those who feel that your thoughts and feelings are interesting or similar to their own, are those who will stay. That what makes up your community (people with similar interests/thoughts or people who find your thoughts are interesting and want to talk it out/discuss).

    1. I guess personal thoughts and feelings (subjective posts) are one thing. Pretty common. Personal info like your identity is a bit different. I also have zero issue discussing perspectives but I might stop talking about my job for instance…

      1. That’s true… perhaps it’s because I only recently started following you that the only content I’ve really seen is more of personal thoughts and feelings rather than personal information that discloses your identity. I’m not sure under what circumstance you decided to share that information but if it’s something like comparisons between anime and reality or something, I think that if you really want to share your experience, it would be better to talk hypothetically rather than saying outright that you are talking about yourself.

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