Last week, a blog lurker came into my office. She was working on a class project. Sounds innocent enough, right?
Ah. But here's the catch - I'm the project. Actually, this web-based alter-ego, The ZenFo Pro, was the project.
Should've figured. According to my Internet statistics, somebody went through every single post I've ever written - twice - in the last month.
First, I am not my blog. I'd like to think I'm so much more than a string of HTML on a computer screen. I answered some questions about the blogging experience - after I received assurances that my real name, title, and employer's name would not be used.
I had an opportunity to ask a few of my own questions. The answers, well, were...interesting. I'm debating, at this point, whether or not it might have been wiser to simply stay ignorant. I live, work, and generally play in a town that houses app. 22,000 over a six square-mile area. Oxford is an almost suffocating place as it is without the knowledge that there are people watching you.
I'm apparently popular locally amongst women; I'm still trying to figure that one out. The lurker showed me a few Facebook accounts of friends of hers who think I'm hot. Trust me, I'm not hot. I'm nowhere near hot. It's quite terrifying, actually, to be told that there are women - very attractive women - checking you out while you're at the store, at work, or grabbing a cup of coffee.
Who would want to date a dork? I'm a probably one of the dorkiest people in the Greater Cincinnati area. I readily admit it. I've never read the De Vinci Code, but I have read a lot of Elaine Pagels. Desperate Housewives? 24? Lost? No fucking clue, so don't ask me about them. But I own two different Star Trek DVD boxsets and both seasons of the new Battlestar Galactica.
The final damning evidence of my dorkiness? I have a frigging BLOG.
The lurker interviewing me said she was worried I might not talk to her because she wasn't pretty. This woman was frigging gorgeous... why the flying fuck would a 21-year-old who looks like a damned supermodel be worried about what a frigging librarian thinks? There are no words to describe how surreal of an experience it is to be a male librarian and to be told by a woman that she felt the need to choose the right outfit to meet you.
Maybe I should be flattered, but it makes me feel a bit awkward. Last weekend, while at a hardware store, I had a group of female college students wave at me. Then I had a high school student blow me a kiss in the grocery store - that's kinda creepy. Is it tied to this site? Lord, I hope not.
I learned a few other things from the interview. Apparently, my often cryptic writing comes across as mysterious, which has added to my supposed sex appeal. Having a profile picture doesn't help much, either. Personally, the only thing I notice is my big mellon and that I need to clean my office.
There's also this perception that some of the rather harmless "blog flirting" that goes on between bloggers somehow translates into something in the real world. Did you know that there are three female bloggers that comment regularly - two of whom are married with children, BTW - who have been confused with people I know in the real world? Neither did I.
A rather brilliant student at an East Coast university (who, under the circumstances, I'm choosing not to hotlink) has even been confused with a local real-world ex. Why? Because she posted a comment once or twice about having a relative who attends Miami and I guess some signals got crossed. Take my word for it - the blogger I'm talking about has nothing in common with Danno (no sense in using an alias here, apparently).
For the record, I read her blog because she's never posted, to my knowledge, anything on her addiction to Chanel, her perfect nose, or how she's in love with the Olsen Twins - that was basically all I heard about from said ex.
Instead, the blog friend in question posts about the Sudan crisis, the rape culture, Costa Rican getaways, and blowjob queens. She's been getting quite a bit of heat lately on her blog for speaking her mind, for daring to be herself. If she intimidates local college students simply by posting comments on my site, she must be doing something right.
To be completely honest, I debated shutting the ol' ZenFo Pro site down several times since that interview but decided against it. I think I do a damned fine job separating my blog life from my work life. If people want to stare, well, why should I give a shit? If patrons think I'm cute, well, there are worse things they could be thinking.
The experience did, however, sink in that there probably is no separating who I am in the real world from who I am in Cyberspace. That's both fascinating as an information professional and terrifying as a human being. I caught 12 women staring at work this week; one was staring at my crotch. Was Jason the Librarian being checked out? Or was the ZenFo Pro recognized from black-and-white profile pic?
This is why I refuse to take the Blogosphere too seriously and why I treat the perceptions of the bloggers behind the curtain like a rabid wolverine in a nursery. After talking with me, the lurker decided to not focus in on me for her class assignment; instead, she'll be investigating the Blog Culture.
I ran into her in Uptown Oxford this morning. She's going to e-mail me a transcript of her interview with me. Apparently, she decided to not use anything about me because, I guess, she now better understands some of my concerns.
See...who says being a small town blogger isn't interesting?
Fini - Due to my changing job responsibilities and numerous serious personal issues (I’ve been out of work for a month on medical leave) this blog has run its cou...
7 years ago