The Anonymity of Celebrity.
I have joined, and subsequently left, a number of e-book publishing and writer-interaction sites on the internet in the past two years. I am not a joiner, and went through the process of joining, integrating, and participating, as research for books that I have in mind to write.
What I have discovered is not surprising, and it will make fascinating reading if I ever get it written.
One thing that stands out for me, is the way that people use the anonymity of cyberspace to become someone or something that they aren't.
A good example is a woman whom I will call Birdie.
She is a member of a website that claims to connect readers and writers, and allows writers to publish their books for sale. It also has a thriving community of writers who communicate with one another within groups that they, themselves create and run and moderate.
It is within these groups that Birdie resides.
The anonymity that she enjoys, has allowed her to create and style for herself as persona that is little short of god-like.
She is, in no particular order, a teacher, a graduate of a prestigous US English Language institution, a sought-after editor of top-level books, a successful, published author, a no-nonsense mentor of all who belong to the website, and the matriach of all of the communities. She has built this persona by telling people about what she is and does. She has marketed herself strongly as a person at the top of the writing fraternity. In doing so, she has attracted a fawning following of readers, who hang on her very word, who defend her from detractors by censoring adverse comments, by extolling her impressive virtues, and by holding her aloft as an inspirational person.
But not one of them have personally met her. Not one of them have researched her to verify her excessive claims.None of them have questioned anything that she has told them about herself. She has hidden behind her carefully-built facade.
I researched her. And found her to be a fraud. I told her followers.They censored my messages. I questioned her self-styled academic achievements, I attracted vitriolic attacks,and warnings to leave her alone.
She has become a celebrity. One that doesn't have to appear in public to be recognised. She is an anonymous celebrity who has fooled a large community of writers into believing everything that she writes.