Most people use social media to gain clout. It is a great way to be visible and to widen your network. Many people have gained fame and fortune by setting up a YouTube or an Instagram account and interacting with strangers. it has become a dream for most people and rightly so.
But in the distant shadows we have another type of social media user—the unknown, unknowable anon. This user cultivates a social media identity that is distinctly unmarried to their reality. There names are unknown and sometimes are genders changed. An elaborate set if dos and don’t guide their conduct ensuring they don’t slip, don’t somehow drop the mask.
They can’t use they real names (duh). They can’t post pictures. They can’t share they locations. They can’t join giveaways. They can’t attend meetups. They can’t join photo threads. They can’t pepper them with selfies or drown them with drip.
But they can be honest; rude, crude and vicious even. They can speak truth to power. They can say the uncomfortable things, crack the crazy jokes. They can have an escape from the weight of societal expectations and inhabit a world of their making with infinite possibilities and personalities and opportunities. That escape has been my attraction, my release.
I have kept many anonymous accounts over the years and indeed it has become my default. But it never easy. It is a daily struggle between the life of fame, friendship and fortune that might lie at the other side of divulging my identity and my current peace of mind.
I haven’t done badly so far, at least not in my opinion. While a few people might think they know me, thousands have to guess and wager.
But being Anon can be lonely and exhausting and joyless.
Last year for instance, a lovely ebuddie invited me for lunch at Transcorp. We were going to have a great meal, drinks and some exciting stimulating conversation. Did I want it? Yes. Could I have it? No
Even now the uneaten chicken and fries makes my mouth water afresh. I can smell the tender, well spiced, juicy chicken laps. I can feel the ambience of the Transcorp lounge. In my mind.
Some folks have gotten impatient. So they have devised various schemes to get to know me.
“Send me your email”
Anon email given
Let’s connect on Facebook
Anon Facebook sent
Let me have your account details.
Anon account provided
Some others have given up. A sister told me she blocked me for months because she couldn’t figure out my gender. She is back now but it still hurts.
But why do I go through so much to keep things this way?
The answer is peace of mind. I get immense comfort from knowing my cyber life wont intrude into my 9 to 5 or show up in bedroom. I am glad that I can say what I think without my boss showing up with yesterday’s tweetfight details or my bae getting second-hand shaming for any of my indiscretion. What starts here, ends here.
How much longer do I think it can last?
I don’t know. I realize that as my influence increases the risk of coming under closer scrutiny rises. I realize that someday it might just be time up.
But that is okay.
I am here for a good time. If I get a long time; that is a bonus.