Before I started @FibroJedi I had a ‘personal’ account that I used from 2010 – that’s a long time on Twitter! When Fibromyalgia meant I had to give up ‘normal’ work I removed that account. Twitter is a great place to engage with people, businesses and communities. And I can honestly say that I have made some amazing, supportive and encouraging friends via this micro-blogging site. But in an age of trolls, fake accounts and the like, why do I have an anonymous Twitter account? Why not just use my name? My reasons have changed over the years, so here’s the updated version!
I’ve also put in random screenshots that are very loosely related to the topic at hand. Click/tap the pictures if you want to see a bigger one!
1. Keeping Things Clean and SeparateOriginally I set up @FibroJedi to give me a safe space on Twitter to just rant about life with Fibromyalgia.
— Fibro Jedi (@FibroJedi) April 16, 2014
At the time I had personal and business accounts and I found that being honest about my struggle lost me Twitter followers on those accounts. Go figure. So I oringally expected to have zero followers ad infinitum and I was happy with that. I was wrong, but that’s beside the point!
I also rarely post on Facebook for various reasons so Twitter is my platform of choice.
And an unexpected side effect has been since my wife I had our little girl – “NJ” as I refer to her. By keeping things anonymous I am also protecting my family. I rarely post pictures of NJ, but when I do her face isn’t showing. That’s intentional by my wife and I – NJ should choose when to start her digital footprint and not us.
2. I Want to be Anonymous – but Findable!A major difference between my anonymous Twitter account and those used by “trolls” is that I can be found. It isn’t really hard. I have a website (you’re on it, by the way), I’m on Twitch so you can see my face (you decide whether that’s good or not!) and Discord. Trolls’ anonymity furthers their desires to say what the heck they want, and they hope with little or no consequences. They don’t want to be found. I may be an introvert, but I still want people to find me. Sometimes, hahaha.
3. Connecting with other Sufferers of Fibromyalgia or Chronic Illness
Although I don’t major on this any more, nonetheless Twitter has helped me to find, and be found by, other Fibromyalgia or Chronic Illness sufferers. This allows support in both directions. An unexpected but welcome result is that I have made some awesome friends who don’t have illnesses/conditions but have been exceptionally supportive of me through the ups and downs of chronic pain. And I am so very grateful to them for that.
4. Connecting with GamersWhen I first joined Twitter, I played mostly one game – Star Wars: The Old Republic. And some Skyrim, which I had to abandon due to its combat mechanism and foes unexpectedly jumping out at me. The combat mechanism hurt my hands, the jumping out hurt my shoulders. It was thanks to @swtorfamily that I began to connect with fellow SWTOR players, and originally joined the Guild led by the owner of that Twitter account.
In recent years, Twitter has helped me to connect and get involved in the communities of LOTRO and SWTOR in a way that couldn’t have happened without it. I don’t need my real name to do that. After all, I doubt many people give their characters their own name. Mine would make for a poor Jedi or Hobbit name that’s for sure!
5. Accidental “Brand” Creation!
It wasn’t until another gamer pointed this out that I realised it was true – I accidentally created a “brand” by being anonymous on Twitter. I’m known as Fibro Jedi, Fibro (which I understand, but am not a fan of) and FJ (which I didn’t design but really love!). I’m not a business or organisation. I have some very kind friends who donate a little each month to help my family (via Patreon or Twitch) and I’m exceedingly thankful of them. But having a “brand” does make me recognisable – and saves re-introducing myself over and over!
Beyond ExpectationsSo here we are over 4 years later and over the 3600 Followers mark, which given I was expecting zero is a huge shift from the early days! I feel part of two gaming communities and still dip into chronic illness tweets from time-to-time. But I never thought my account would get this many follows. I do follow folks back, but usually based on those that chat with me. Except for those businesses/organisations who I would follow but never expect them to follow back, of course.
If you follow or chat with me on Twitter, thank you so much!
TL;DR Why Have an Anonymous Twitter Account?
Yes, I have an anonymous Twitter account. It gives me a freedom to express how I feel that my own name would not. It helps me protect my family’s identities to certain degree too. No, I don’t troll people – and you can easily get in touch with me if you want to. Being anonymous doesn’t give anyone a license to misuse their freedom of speech, nor should it. Despite the lack of a ‘real’ name, I am myself on Twitter and I love giving to and receiving support from both chronic illness and gaming communities. You honour me by following and/or chatting to me on Twitter and I hope to return that honour with respect.