Public Persona

EEEEEEE! Gretchen Rubin emailed me! *faints*
EEEEEEE! Gretchen Rubin emailed me! *faints*

Previously I wrote about my reluctance to go public with my real name.

I ended up emailing Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project. Reading that book was what gave me the idea to start this blog.

And I got a reply! Hurray!

The emails are in the picture above and I’ll repeat them in the text here. First, the email I initially sent to Gretchen.

“Dear Gretchen,

My wife got me The Happiness Project last year and I’ve enjoyed reading it slowly and applying your advice to my own life. One of your happiness projects was starting a blog. I liked the idea so much that I’ve started my own. The blog is called GoCorral and you can find it at gocorral.wordpress.com if you’re interested. Now that I’ve gotten into a rhythm of sorts with the blog I wanted to ask for a little help from you.

So far I’ve been running my blog and associated sites anonymously. I was worried about unwanted attention in my personal life if my blog ever took off to epic proportions like yours has. By maintaining anonymity I’ve kept the option open of disappearing in the future, but I fear I’m also alienating my audience by doing so. All the serious bloggers I’ve heard of use their real names. I get the feeling that personal identification naturally improves a blog because so much of the content is about the author’s personal life, thoughts, and experiences.

I wanted to get your opinion on using your real name and your family’s names in your writing.  I’m interested in the positives and the negatives. Do you ever feel uncomfortable using your real name instead of a pseudonym? How do your children and your husband feel about it? Have there ever been any real problems associated with having a public persona that you’ve encountered or heard of? What are some of the good things about going public with your name?

I’d appreciate anything you can tell me!

-Mister Ed”
And the reply I got back:
“Terrific!
I use my name online, but don’t use my family members’ names (though I do use those in my books).
I didn’t really ponder this, because I wanted my work to be associated with my name. Everything I write is with the expectation that it’s public.
I’ve never experienced a negative with it, nor has my family.
Good luck!”
And then my thank you note:
“Gretchen,

Wow! Thanks for your reply! I think I will go public with my name then. I appreciate your help.
-Isaac Shaker (Mister Ed)”
And now I am public on my blog!
For most of the people reading the blog this will mean almost nothing. My family and friends already know I’m writing this and access my blog through Facebook or Google+.
For everyone else? Still almost nothing. I’m still the same person and I’ll still write the same stuff. I’ll even keep writing Mister Ed at the end of each post.
The About Me section of the site is pretty much the only thing that’ll change.
That’s pretty much it. I’m no longer worried about any negative consequences. I’ve looked for them and they just don’t seem to be there. Steven King’s Misery really is as fictional as it seems.
-Mister Ed
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Privacy vs. Public Life

Who is this man?!?
Who is this man?!?

When I started GoCorral I intended to reveal almost no information about myself.

My plan was that if the site took off and people were trying to hunt me down in person for autographs or something I’d have the option of retreating into anonymity.

I’ve slowly revealed more and more about myself.

My initial posts talked about “the town I went to college” and now its just Davis, California.

I still haven’t identified myself or anybody within my life by name, but I’m sure a dedicated detective could put the pieces together and figure out who I am.

I’ve started posting videos of myself on my Twitch and Youtube channels. Realistically, I don’t think I care much about privacy at this point.

I don’t know many professional bloggers that maintain anonymity either. Notable blogs like the Happiness Project, Perez Hilton, and 538 all use the author’s real names (Perez Hilton is a pseudonym, but the author has revealed his real name as well).

Even the smaller blogs that I read like Squidi and Twenty Sided have the authors’ real names attached to the work.

Another worry I have is that if I revel my own personal information, inevitably some information about my family and friends will leak out too.

While I might be comfortable with a public persona, I shouldn’t be making that decision for them as well.

This is all conditional on the blog or video channels taking off though. There’s no reason to be concerned about privacy if no one is listening!

My current plan is to contact a few established bloggers and see how they juggle the invasive personal commitment that a blog requires with their private lives.

I can make a decision after that.

Until then I will remain The Talking Horse.

-Mister Ed

Taking the Bus

The college-run bus stop a few blocks from my house.
The college-run bus stop a few blocks from my house.

Because my bike was effectively unusable for the past three weeks I have been taking the bus.

I’ve never really taken the bus before. When I was in elementary school I lived a block from my school, so I just walked.

I was homeschooled for the second half of elementary school and I biked to my middle school and high school.

At college I’ve always biked or walked to class. The bus was for rare occasions when I had a poster board too big to carry on my bike.

I rarely took public transportation anywhere else besides school either. I’d bike, drive, or walk. I do this because I don’t like waiting for the bus. When I transport myself then I can go wherever I want, when I want, and I can leave in the same fashion.

I did take the train every day to summer school one year, but that is the extent of my knowledge of public transportation.

From what other people have told me, public transportation is not a pleasant experience. There are crazy people on the bus or train that yell at you. There are thieves and creepy people who seem like they’ll jump you when you get off at your stop.

There’s also the fact that someone has probably peed in your seat at some point before you sat in it. Sure, it’s been cleaned by the bus janitor, but how well did they clean it? Did they use sanitizer or did they just wipe it off with a pee sponge that has never been replaced?

Do you talk with the person next to you on the bus? My wife’s experience with this is if you do then it’s rarely a good conversation.

When I took the train for that one summer I talked with the person next to me and often had good conversations. That’s probably just coincidence though.

Taking the bus was an adjustment for me. I noticed a couple things.

I am a large man, so people don’t want to sit next to me. If I sat in a seat, it was typically one of the last few to receive another passenger.

Nobody talks on the bus except friends who got on together. There aren’t any crazies on the bus route I rode, but there aren’t any “friendlies” either.

I spent most of my time on the bus playing Candy Crush, writing notes on my iPad, looking out the window, or reading from my pocket copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

My sister says she takes the bus because its like an extra twenty minutes of time each day while someone else drives you to work. I guess that’s true, but I still prefer freedom from the bus schedule on my bike.

That’s all for now!

-Mister Ed