The other day some random guy on Manhunt asked me where in Wisconsin my hometown is. I do not mention the name of my hometown on my Manhunt account and hadn’t mentioned it in the e-mail exchange. So I asked him how he knew the name of my home town, and he said it was on my Friendster or Facebook account. I didn’t recognize him and he didn’t divulge who he was (still hasn’t), so I was kind of creeped out. I quickly went over to my Facebook account and locked down some of the privacy features there. People who don’t know me don’t need to know that kind of stuff unless I divulge such facts directly to them.
I know I’ve been putting myself out there on this here blog for many years and I guess this sort of thing is to be expected. People mention to me that they read this blog all the time. But some context and reference point is helpful if you approach me as a stranger to initiate a conversation. If you walk up to me without introducing yourself and drop some kind of reference or mention from my blog – that’s weird and sometimes startling to me because at first I don’t know what you’re talking about. The basic rules of civil conversation still apply – even to bloggers – and it’s amazing that there are so many people in our Nation’s Capitol who can’t start up a conversation, or conversely get frightened and run away when I try to initiate a conversation with them. As usual I blame the Internet, cell phone abuse, and people’s unwillingness to socialize face-to-face these days. Soon we’ll only be able to communicate with each other in cryptic, broken text messenger pidgeon-English.
Anyway, I think another problem here is that a blog is a two-way mirror – the reader picks up a lot about the author, but the author can only learn so much about the reader from the server log data. I know what browser you’re using, what pages you visit, and how long you stay, but that’s about it. On a side note, I think that’s why some of my friends who read this blog fall out of touch – they think just because they’re keeping up with what I write on the blog that they still maintain a rapport with me. NOT SO, so give me a call on the telephone, Little Missy AWOL. Yes I mean you.
I digress again…if you are a blog stalker, voyeurism isn’t a crime but being socially retarded is. I think some blogstalker dos and don’ts are in order. First, if you happen to recognize me in public, start with direct eye contact, followed by a smile, handshake and introduction. Then mention that you have read my blog/profile/Flickr/whatever (this applies to online chat as well). Give me a point of reference, but don’t start with some kind of random reference like “OMG Saliva Pit Gurl Wuuuf OMG Skwurl Charlene Hilton HA HA !!!” Saying something like that will make me confused and frightened. After that, prove you have social skills with a graceful conversational segue into some other non-blog related topic, like the weather or sports or hot guys or something. Weather chat is inherently boring, but always a safe way to start up or maintain a conversation.

JAPAN! culture + hyperculture: Kennedy Center

The same goes for the characters mentioned on this blog, like Gurl, Darth Jersey, Skip, Martini Gurlatalova, Skwurl or SuperStar Brettie. Approach with civility and don’t yell out “OMG ARE YOU ‘GURL’ FROM JIMBO’S BLOG!?!” if you see him in the bookstore. Don’t frighten or stalk these people or I’ll kick your ass.
Totally unrelated, but I thought this looked interesting:
JAPAN! Culture + Hyperculture at the Kennedy Center Feb. 5-17.
Random complaint of the day: Waaah, everyone is going skiing or snowboarding but me and the local snow conditions are really sweet. All my ski buddies have either moved away or are now shacked up with a boyfriend and are totally AWOL in typical neotenous gay fashion. OK, are there any straight readers out there who like to ski and snowboard on the weekends at Wisp or Whitetail?

11 Comments

  1. henry says:

    Fame comes at a price…. especially now that you are the poster boy for the Tom of Finland perfume??
    http://www.etatlibredorange.com/

  2. http://openid.aol.com/imachias says:

    I agree with you completely regarding blogger stalker etiquette. I once had a man walk up to me at a mall about 60 miles from our house. He was gorgeous, big bushy beard, 6-foot-2, beautiful eyes… swoon. As he was approaching me he shrieked, “Oh my god you love Two Guys!” and then put his hand over his mouth. Confident that I wasn’t wearing a “monogamy sucks” t-shirt or anything, it took me a few moments to realise that he was referring to a blog entry I had written years ago regarding the old department store chain “Two Guys”.
    It really creeped me out.

  3. Boo Augustus says:

    I don’t know if it makes you feel any better or not, but I haven’t noticed anyone new lurking with me in the bushes outside your windows at night or under other stairs on your block. If I do, I’ll know to start urinating in the bushes to mark my territory and scare them off.

  4. anger hangover says:

    “…I think that’s why some of my friends who read this blog fall out of touch…”
    I was just having this conversation the other day. I hear from my friends less since I’ve been blogging and I have no idea what they’re up to unless I start stalking them with email and text messages. I don’t think we even know how to talk on the phone anymore, let alone actually make plans to meet up in person.

  5. shaw rez says:

    I definitely pulled a “OMG–it’s JIMBO-DOT-INFO” at a blowoff last year soon after I started reading this blog.

  6. tonkamanor says:

    Oh, like mentioning former roommates out of the blue…..sorry about that…You were a little freaked by it. Until you figured out who I was/am.
    Anyway, I miss Wisp. Yes, I have awesome skiing out here, but I loved that little family run resort. I have some great memories of skiing there and learning to ski there back in ummm, early 80’s.
    My sister and her partner (who live in Herndon) still go there all the time. I could hook you up with them. They also like Snowshoe in WV. Which reminds me, I have to text them that I’m going to the Mountain Sat and Sun. Oh yeah and Next Friday Night…..

  7. Raybob says:

    While it would, indeed, be nice if we could dictate our (it goes without saying) civil behaviour to others, the fact exists that they simply are not under our control. To ‘publish’ means literally to ‘make public’. And once we do that, our content is out of our control. Scary fun.
    I had a similar instance of someone parroting back a very private piece of information I’d published in one heady moment, still not retracted because I thought I was anonymous. But as you also found out, no matter how I try for anonymity, people can piece things together and identify me by various clues. Yikes.

  8. jake says:

    I must admit, if I ever find myself in D.C. and stumble upon your majesty, I would likely be breaking all these rules in short order.
    Until that time, I shall stalk you from afar.

  9. publius100 says:

    Anonymity is impossible; discretion, though, can probably be had. The interesting comment you made (one of them) was the substitution of the electronic blip for live personal contact. That’s very true, and it’s scary. Blogging may very well be our attempt to cast out for people, to put ourselves into the lives of others in an increasingly impersonal world. I just don’t know.

  10. Cham says:

    You so speak the truth on this. If you want to make someone under the age of 30 pee in their pants and run like the wind, simply attempt to start a conversation with them.

  11. Anon says:

    I have a corollary to this. I do public affairs/media consulting and from time to time have acted as a spokesperson for clients/employers. So although I don’t blog, I do have alot of results when conducting a web search. So guys on first dates will often bring up random/out-of-context information to act like they know something about me. My reaction is to get creeped-out. So there is no reason to even debate whether one should share the results of a google search or blog-read. If most of the subjects of one’s affection get creeped out, then it isn’t worth doing it.