Friday, March 30, 2007


If you blog using a pseudonym, why do you do this?

Let me clarify that I have nothing against people who do blog under a pseudonym. Saying anything you want to say using your own name is not always what is best in the land of the blogs. Employers, family members, neighbors, etc. can be hurt by your thoughts or become angry.

When I began blogging, I was only going to be my name. It's relatively unique, and where I live if you know my name, you can probably figure out who I am. As Phill joined with his own blog, any pretense I had of being just my first name was gone. He publishes books; he wants you to know who he is. He does have a nom de blog. Because of this he never discusses any patients. Any medical stories are sufficiently blurred such that the former patients wouldn't even recognize themselves.

Also, when my father died, a change occurred in me. What I had been hiding in terms of emotions leaked onto the screen. I wanted everyone to know that this man was gone. I wanted you to know his name. I wanted you to know how much I loved him and how wonderful we all thought he was. You get his name. You get my name. Any one can find me.

I reveal myself every time I begin typing. Oddly, I am comfortable with that.

So, what makes you blog anonymously, or what makes you keep your name while you type?


Trixie said...

When I started to blog back in DC, I was instructed by ITGIRL to come up with a screen name. It was a lot of fun doing so and it has just stuck. There are a couple of people who call me only by this name now. I love it!

I wasn't worried about security really. It was more of a game. But since that time, JohnnyBlog has reminded us on more than one occasion about security issues and then I had someone I didn't know post a creepy comment about my neighborhood - in enough detail to be certain that I knew they were a neighbor. So now I think twice about personal identifying information.

When the baby comes, I will probably lock the site and send passwords out.

turtle toes said...

I use a screen name because of security for my children's sake. I should probably lock the site and then not have to worry about it.

Sarabeth said...

As some of you know, the blog I keep for my children is password protected, and I still use screen names for them. It is one of the reasons that I have a "me" blog. The kids need some privacy.

jmb said...

Hi Sarabeth,
I guess I was a commenter long before I had a blog. When I created a profile I just used my initials. Several people when I worked in the hospital always called me jmb,because that's how I always signed myself. We always had to initial everything we did and for some reason I have always used my three initials. But in my profile I used one of my real email addresses.
When I started my blog the name was inspired by an Italian blog I read , the author of which uses unonessuno, which means a nobody. So I called it Nobody Important and only meant to have an introductory post.
When I started to post I didn't tell anyone because I am so insecure about writing, I didn't want to appear foolish to anyone I knew. I then replaced the email with another anon. email account. Mainly worried about spam I guess . I don't seem to worry about seeming foolish in front of the blogosphere, I guess because I can always disappear if needs be.
A few people out there actually know who I am, but of the people I know, only my daughter and one friend (who is so kind she would never say anything not nice to me)read the blog. Some others know I have the blog, but are not interested which I would be if it were the reverse. I don't think they even know what a blog is.
TMI, sorry.
Have a good trip.

CJ said...

I used to blog using my actual first name. It's an ordinary name, not like Clotilde-Mariette or something else conspicuous. I didn't use any other real names, was careful not to disclose where I lived, didn't include any information besides my first name, my hair color, and the fact that I volunteer doing something that thousands of other women also do. On very rare occasions I posted pictures, but they were always hidden (i.e., you had to click a link to see them) and I took them down after a week.

So I was really surprised that every few months over the two years that I maintained the blog, someone new from my real life would write to me and said, "Hey, I found your blog!" It just kept happening.

Last spring I was reading about a family in a difficult situation -- I clicked over to their blog from one I read regularly. It took me about five minutes to realize that they live in my town. On a whim I typed the name into Google, and the phone book listing, with a link to a map, popped right up. A week later, I ran into the mom at the library.

It's a small world. I wanted to be able to write a bit about the work that I am doing, and so I am disclosing a different set of facts this time, excluding my real name. The odds that someone would use the information from my blog in a malicious way are not very far from zero. But they're not zero either. I use pseudonyms to make it a little more complicated for anyone who might be maliciously inclined.

Genevieve said...

I blog with my real name. I felt that since I was making the effort to do a good job in the writing and photography for my blog, I would claim it with pride with my real name.

I don't blog about my personal problems or other such things that could be embarassing. I don't express political opinions that could put off a future employer.

I have not yet had any complications, but I try to be careful about keeping things private that would be a blatant invitation to burglars, etc.

Awesome Mom said...

I blog anonymously because of my husband's job. He is in the military in a branch that is noted for it's smallness and the speed at which gossip travels. I wanted to keep those details hidden so that I would not jeopardize his job in any way. I probably should have come up with nicknames for my kids too but it is too late now.

Liz Self said...

I never worried about using my own name or Wes's. Both of us have jobs that are somewhat in the public eye (I have a website for my classroom and Wes has published in several journals, already). Since I took Wes's name, nobody could probably connect me to my family without the maiden name, and Wes's last name is so common it would be hard to match up there. I use pseudonyms for anyone I write about who doesn't have a blog or doesn't use on on their own site (like my sister Laura). I do that just to respect their privacy. The fact that I don't blog anonymously, though, means I don't write about everything that's going on in my life -- like my work, Wes's work (darn HIPA), frustrations with my family or his.

Ami said...

I blog under my own name because I hope to be published someday, and I want any exposure (which isn't a lot since I switched, but I knew that would happen) I get from my blog to help that.

So I also pretty much keep my kids out of it. I certainly don't mention their names.

Sarabeth said...

Thanks for answering the question. We all have different reasons for writing under real or blog names.

Interestingly, my husband was recently contracted about a job in Texas. He lists his blog on his curriculum vitae. For a few seconds he worried that he would be dismissed out of hand because of his political thoughts regarding our current President. Then, his thought was, "If they don't want me because of my political stance, then I don't want to work there." We'll see if we leave VA for TX. Oh, help. I'm not ready for that.