One thing that intrigues me about the blogging world, and indeed about internet forums of all kinds, is why not everyone makes a proper personal profile available. In particular, why do some fail to show a contemporary photo of themselves when posting or commenting? You may see a photo of something else - a fluffy object perhaps, or an avatar - but not their actual likeness. Sometimes, there's nothing at all. I'm not suggesting that there's anything sinister going on, but it does make it harder to relate to them, and harder to evaluate what they have to say. Anonymity makes it easy to misunderstand, because there's no 'feel' for what the other person is like.
Now I'll admit at once that when I comment on blogs using Wordpress, you'll see no picture of myself. I simply haven't yet worked out how to set one up on Wordpress. And that could be the straightforward answer in many cases for Blogger users (although the Blogger procedure does seem easy to my photo-orientated mind). On the other hand, that can't be the simple explanation in all cases.
A very obvious reason for using (say) an avatar, or no image at all, and giving out only sparse personal information, is that the poster or commentator isn't fully 'out' and absolutely needs to be discreet. That's completely understandable. I follow some bloggers who are exactly in that position, as are one or two commentators whose remarks I appreciate.
But then there are a few who - judging from what they say, and the force with which they say it - have gone through the whole transition process from start to finish, and have lived a complete female life for years, but still use an avatar rather than a proper photo of themselves. And they supply only scanty personal information, so that it's quite hard to decide what they are like as people. I do wonder why there is this reticence. If they are totally integrated into normal life and have no need for discretion, and have important points to make, then why hide behind a kind of mask and risk undermining their credibility?
Is it just me? Am I abnormally free with publishing boatloads of detail about my personal life, including many, many photos. Indeed a huge number of shots, if you've ever clicked on one of the three Flickr links, and taken a good long look at what's on offer. I don't think the Police would be in any difficulty finding a recent picture of me if I ever became a missing person! In fact I think you could reconstruct most of the important facts about my life and current lifestyle from a study of the published material, the Flickr items forming a kind of visual diary on their own; never mind the stuff in the Blogger posts. You won't find my bank account details, passport number, national insurance number and similar things that need to be kept secret; but otherwise all the world can know me inside out. The only important thing missing is how I sound - but one day soon I'm going to attempt a vlog post. It'll be dire, but at least you'll hear my voice!
Contrast all this with the scant details some bloggers provide. Why is their personal appearance and life so invisible?
No doubt the diversity of human nature is at the heart of this. Some are naturally up front and in your face, others prefer a cloak of privacy. As simple as that.
But I would love to know some bloggers better, by seeing their picture, and knowing something about their real lives, even if distance means that we will never meet. Anonymity isn't a good thing.