Anonyblogger Recognition Paranoia
The assumption by a blogger/blogreader that an anonymous blogger they've come across is really someone with whom they have/had some offline contact/connection.
ARP can be triggered by a wide variety of factors, including but not limited to - the (written) linguistic traits and idiosyncracies of the blogger, the topics the blogger tends to write on, the facets of the blogger's offline persona that they choose to (seemingly) reveal, clues about the blogger's life that other bloggers may refer to, and the number of common friends that they both seem to know.
ARP is usually encouraged by the rationalisation that it is highly probable that the subject must know the blogger, given -
a) The relatively low percentage of bloggers amongst total internet users
b) The distinct social sub-type that almost all bloggers belong to, viz., the middle-class educated urbanite.
c) The number of people who the blogger cannot be, after eliminating bloggers who post under their real names
d) The number of literary-minded friends the individual has, who are likely to have blogs
e) The wide social circles they both seemed to have circulated in
When the subject knows or suspects that the blogger resides in the same city/town, ARP usually results in the subject making a greater effort to spend time with those friends that are considered possible identity-matches. The subject usually utilises this time to try and get to know more details about their friend's life, in order to match them to any details revealed by the blogger. A risk-taking subject may even raise the subject of blogs and blogging, in order to gauge the friend's reactions.
In early-stage ARP, subjects are known to re-read all of the blogger's posts. All subjects that have been studied say that they do this in order to gain a better understand of their 'friend' from their writings, as well as to try and see if the content of the posts appears differently, now that they can put a face and voice to the writing. However, under more in-depth questioning, some subjects have admitted that they largely do this to see if there is any reference to them in the posts, or to see if they can identify any other mutual friends that the blogger may have (supposedly) written about, so as to gather any 'interesting' bits of information about them, or the blogger's relationship with them.
When Chronic ARP (when the subject is fully convinced that they know the blogger) sets in, it results in a distinct change in the way an individual reacts to the blogger's posts, this change reflecting the offline relationship the subject (believes they) had with the blogger, viz, the subject becomes more appreciative/disdainful depending on how well they got/get along offline. It also results in attempts by the subject to indicate to the blogger that their identity is known, by 'hints' that refer to past shared incidents, or things the blogger has done.
In the case of widely read anonymous bloggers, ARP can morph into a group-experience phenomena, with the identity of the said blogger being the subject of a mass puzzle-solving exercise.
This can take the form of a coordinated approach, with the various bloggers taking turns to ask a series of wide-ranging questions that are designed to help fill in/eliminate as many aspects of the blogger's persona as possible, and which are raised in a tangential, off-the-cuff manner.
ARP can cause a subject to alienate their friends, as they seem 'too friendly' due to their constant questions and generally chatty behaviour (as they attempt to discover if the friend is the blogger in question).
Comments made by the subject where they indicate the supposed identity of the blogger, often only results in providing the blogger with much amusement and/or irritation, as well as confusing others who may be themselves (consider themselves) close to identifying the blogger
Additionally, if the group ARP tactic is not subtle enough, or is too prolonged, it runs the risk of causing the blogger to suffer from Identity Discovery Paranoia, which can cause the blogger to become even more discreet.
Anonyblogger Recognition Paranoia
Labels: Blogging 101