Three bloggers, one hammock

What better metaphor for the tangled web of interconnections created by this curious phenomenon of blogging than a picture of three bloggers–Jo(e), Rana, and Yours Truly–sharing a single hammock at last week’s ASLE conference in Spartanburg, SC. Apologies for the abundance of hair, lack of identifiable features, and confusion of limbs: both Jo(e) and Rana blog anonymously, and I’m not as comfortable as Jo(e) is about displaying my unclad form online, so semi-clothed and tangled on a hammock is as close to the traditional nude photo as I get. As prior precedent proves, however, I’m not complete averse to displaying an occasional bare belly or my dirty, unshod feet, so here is a flesh-baring shot of three tangled bloggers raising toes to trees.

Toes to trees

Jo(e) and Rana were two of the conference participants who presented along with me at the blogging panel I’d mentioned last week; Chas also presented but didn’t join us in our hammock. The blogosphere is a vast and varied place, and individual bloggers each follow their own protocols when it comes to disclosing personal information online. How much does a blogger which to reveal, and how much does she or he choose to hide?

Whereas Chas and I blog under our real names, both Jo(e) and Rana write pseudonymously; whereas I use first names, initials, or an occasional nom de blog to refer to friends and acquaintances, Jo(e) comes up with witty nicknames like Philadelphia Guy and Artist Friend to protect the innocent. I’ve blogged before about the problematic philosophical questions that arise when you share even a part of yourself online: perhaps it’s easier to untangle semi-clothed bodies in a hammock than it is to sort out the ethics of online self-disclosure.

As for Jo(e)’s account of our in-hammock blogger meet-up, I’m not sure I can identify (with) the High Energy Writer she mentions even though I have been known to talk about sex toys. Sometimes it’s more alluring to disguise a blogger’s real identity rather than showing her or him unmasked. When it comes to bloggish show-and-tell, sometimes you can protect the not-so-innocent by showing them as ghostly blurs or in the shadows. As in the nude photography that Jo(e) is so familiar with, discretion is sometimes as simple as the strategic shielding of significant bits, an eye-level railing going a long way to shroud the identity of three porch-rocking writers.


And when it comes to protecting your friends and sources, sometimes you have to disguise the non-photographers who have been cajoled into recording your not-quite-anonymous mingling. The blogosphere is a tangled web where even a Philadelphia Guy can enjoy his fifteen minutes of faceless fame.

Anonymous paparazzo

    Thanks to Philadelphia Guy for juggling three cameras in order to take the first and third photos in today’s post. Perhaps the title of today’s entry should be “With a Little Help from My Friends.”