Saturday, December 31, 2011

Changing things

I like change. I think it’s exciting. So the one time of year when change is celebrated—New Year’s—is probably my favourite time of all. That makes it an especially good time for me to make changes.

A couple days ago, I mentioned changes, including some personal ones I may or may not talk about on this blog. Here now are the other changes:

I’ll begin with an epiphany I had recently: Politics is bad for me. Every time there’s an election, and things don’t go the way I want, even when I know in advance that’s what will happen, it gets me down. That’s not helpful. So, I’m re-evaluating how I approach politics both on this blog and in life.

Earlier this year, I talked about my “two-day rule”, a deliberate delay in posting about things that rile me up. This has been very helpful; in fact, quite a few would-be angry rants never even made it to rough-draft stage. I’m now applying that to electoral politics, too.

This means that I’ll seldom comment immediately about specific political incidents that anger me, so, more often than not, I won’t say anything at all. With luck, I’ll be more thoughtful and less emotive on the things I do comment on. We’ll see. But if that doesn’t work, I may yet split off US politics onto a separate blog, as I talked about doing last year (that blog still exists, but is set to private).

Related to that, I’ve also decided against getting personally involved in electoral politics apart, maybe, from being a financial member of the Labour Party again. This is actually a pro-Labour position: It’s time younger people took over the party from the old guard, and I’m as old or older than them. It’s because I want the centre-left to succeed that I’m staying out of the way.

However, this also means I’ll be freer to comment on New Zealand politics when I’m not feeling obligated to promote Labour, even when I think they’re wrong (and sooner or later, I probably will). My independence is important to me.

And that brings me to the next area of changes: This blog.

In the New Year, I’ll be linking this blog with my Google Profile, which means that it’ll be associated with my real name (and all the other Google products, like Google+ and YouTube). This actually isn’t a big deal, but it’s important.

When I started blogging, I wasn’t sure how hostile people might be, so I used my “brand” as an online identity. My intention was to maintain some distance, and also to reinforce the “AmeriNZ” brand. In the years since, I’ve been using my real name for most other things—for example, it’s on my podcast site and I mention it when I’m on Nigel’s “The Third Colony” show on FarpointRadio.com. This blog was the main hold-out.

I didn’t change it in part because of the history built-up over five years, but, if I’m truly honest, I left it alone mostly out of laziness. However, during that time I’ve seen politicians, pundits and even mainstream journalists attack what they like to call “anonymous bloggers”. While I’m arguably not truly anonymous because of all those linked places where I use my real name, there nevertheless is an inconsistency there.

I’m proud of much of what I’ve published on this blog, and there are only a few posts I could do without. But I stand behind all of them, even the ones where I’ve changed my mind or that perhaps I could’ve phrased better. That being the case, standing behind them with my real name is the only logical and intellectually honest thing to do.

The name “AmeriNZ” will remain, of course: I’ve put a lot of effort into building that as my personal “brand” over the years. But it will be just that—my personal brand—and I am the person behind the brand.

So that’s it: The main changes I’ve planned for the New Year. That is, that’s it until I come up with more. I really do like change.


Roger Owen Green said...

I always used my name. Initially, it was because I didn't know better (or whatever), but as time went on, i started getting the anonymous bloggers and commenters myself. (Not so much the pseudonymous folks that had a brand, like yourself.)

Arthur Schenck said...

I have no idea—now—why I was so cautious when I started, but at the time it seemed to make sense. Now, though, I don't see any point, plus, to be really honest, I kind of want credit for what I do. After all, as you well know, blogging for years on end means a LOT of work.