Blog anonymity. Overrated?

There have been times I haven’t always been able to be as open as I’d like on this blog. It’s not because I don’t want to or don’t know how to express myself, it’s just that sometimes expression has consequences. Now wait a second.. before you think, “Hello! Isn’t a blog supposed to be a place where you’re UNCENSORED?” Let me tell you that self-publishing can be a double-edge sword. But I’m sure some of you have already considered this, particularly when you were deciding whether or not to blog under another name or identity. Even if the answer was obvious for you, at some point you still had to consider your options.

On one hand blogging openly is a way to thoroughly spew the contents of your mind and get feedback from people you know. I know that when my aunt who lives six hours a way is thinking of me, she types my url into her browser and then, poof, there’s my life spelled out for her. We stay connected and, without even trying, I let her in. When I decided to start this blog to document my last year as a twenty-something, I knew I wanted to be “sandyb”. I knew I would be comfortable posting pictures and talking about my husband or sister or neighborhood. All these things are a part of me – it just seemed natural to blog about them.

There are days I couldn’t imagine separating my reinvention journey from my real life. I even send out links to my posts on Facebook hoping that people will enjoy my writing and possibly even get inspired. I am a journalist by day, so it seemed like a good idea to connect with people the best way I know how – with my writing. And when someone takes the time to tell me that they’re feeling inspired to start their own Lists or that they simply enjoy reading my posts, it seems worth giving up a bit of my anonymity. I mean, don’t you love knowing that your thoughts are enjoyed?

On the other hand – the other edge of that sword – there have been days I wish I could just confess how hard it can be to look this deeply at my life. For all the fun I have coming up with new things to try and add to my growing List, there are moments when introspection is rough on me. There have been days when I wished I could just blog about my sadness, my fears or my anger. These emotions are as much a part of my journey as the good ones, and lately they’ve even been more prevalent. These are the times I second-guess my decision to be semi-public with my blog and when I wish that “sandyb” didn’t have a Facebook page.

More than once I’ve considered deleting my blog or going underground, only to emerge under a new identity, emailing only a few loyal readers and fellow bloggers to tell them, “Hey, it’s OK.. I’m over here now. Same gal, new url.” If it sounds like I’ve given it some thought, well, you wouldn’t be far off. But not to worry, I’m still here with no plans to abandonblog any time soon. I have a lot of work to do yet, both on and off the keyboard.

My final thoughts on the subject go a little something like this:  Anonymity seems to break and create boundaries simultaneously. For every anonymous post that connects with hundreds, even thousands, there is a part of you that never gets to bathe in the thrill of that recognition. But, but.. For every post where you’ve had to hold back for fear of offending, divulging too much or patronizing, there is equally a part of you that goes unnoticed.

In either case anonymity, or the lack thereof, creates limitations and that, my friends, is the sharpest edge of all.

 

Just a little something on my mind tonight.

 

So, where do you stand on bloganonymity?

And if you don’t have a blog, but read them, what’s your take – do you read anonymous blogs or public ones?


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15 Comments

Filed under stuff on my mind

15 responses to “Blog anonymity. Overrated?

  1. bittersweetm

    For me, I choose to remain anonymous. Mostly. I have about three people in my real life who are aware of my blog. Otherwise, no one knows who I really am, or my name. I think the decision is truly to each person, depending on how they feel about their own privacy and how much involvement they want from people in their real life. My blog is a place for me to be completely open without worrying about who in my real life will get offended.

    I love reading blogs… and I am fascinated, and respect, those who are completely open and do not remain anonymous. I think it takes guts to do that, to stand by everything they write.

    • I admire those who keep anonymous blogs! Hat off to those who simply keep a blog for personal pleasure (does that sound right?) or just a place to be themselves.

      In any case, blogs are always best when created and kept for no one but YOU.

  2. I guess you could say my blog is semi-anonymous? Only a small handful of friends know about my blog/twitter. Besides that I tell no one else. At the same time I mention things on my blog that would allow someone to ID me. For instance, if a colleague were to stumble upon my blog, they’d easily be able to tell it’s me.

    The only reason why I’m holding back is because I’m scared of future interviewers (like if I apply to med school) finding my blog and getting offended by something I wrote. Besides that, trying to remain anonymous hasn’t affected what I want to write.

    Like bittersweetm above, much respect goes out to bloggers who aren’t afraid to show their real identities.

    • Ah yes, the employer thing. I’ve tumbled with that one myself, and I don’t even talk about work on here! At the end of the day, a potential employer can’t hold your personal thoughts against you, even if they don’t agree. But I know that doesn’t make it any less of a worry for some. I think a lot of us have been there. Blogs are so popular now that more and more anonymity is becoming something many self-publishers consider. Eff! Decisions, decisions!

  3. Helen Peacock

    I’m sure you know the saying” it’s none of your business what people think ( of you)”…well in your case Sandy you need to be you…that is why i visit your site. It’s because of your blatent honesty & humour that draws me in. Please don’t abandon us, I would be sad & disappointed ….there you go my honest feelings hung out to dry……..that is why you are here….

    thank you for being you…

    • I am completely anonymous – not one soul in my real life knows about my blog and I like it like that.. It gives me the freedom to say what I want without feeling judged.. but then it gets complicated.. you start off writing what you want but when you build readership (and I don’t have that many), and then you start to feel the expectations – of all the regular readers..you start to feel you need to write a certain way, about certain things to keep them there.. but then I try to fight that and so far I have always succeeded. I have written some of my darkest thoughts in my blog, some of my naughtiest thoughts and some just mundane and boring.. and I think I can do that more easily with anonymity..

      • I agree. You can really let loose with anonymity, can’t you? It’s a dilemma for a lot of bloggers though, which is why I felt compelled to bring it up. Interesting to see what other bloggers think/do about this.

        Interesting point about the expectations though. Hm. That’s something anonymity can’t even help us with. I think it’s a struggle for a lot of bloggers, especially when their blogs take on their own ‘personalities’. I mean, there must be some days you just don’t feel like being your blog, right? Now that’s hard.

    • Helen, as always, you’ve made me smile girl. Thank you!! That is so awesome to hear, especially these days!

  4. traynharder23

    i dunno. i’m not really THAT anonymous, but no one has spotted me on the street. i do keep some part of my life hidden (and i don’t put people’s FULL names on there except mine.)

    you on facebook!? i’ll add you?

  5. flatbrokegirl

    I’m semi-anonymous. I let my friends and family know what I’m doing, and I post links to all of my new entries on Facebook. I figure my blogging about the cheap lifestyle isn’t as potentially controversial as political blogs or damaging as slamming your employer (not to say anything is wrong with either if someone else wants to do that).

    But a lot of what I do for a living already comes under scrutiny. It’s sometimes even dangerous. If I have my full name, where I live, etc., on my blog, it could basically open up a whole new can of worms with some of the more “upstanding” *cough* citizens I serve.

    • Now THAT sounds like an interesting job. I think it’s great that your blog is about something different than your “real life”. A good distraction from your stressful work, no?

  6. I’m anonymous and that’s the way I like it. It means I can be me, tell the stories that I want to tell, without recriminations or the fear of hurting others.

    I have absolute admiration for those who blog completely openly and publicly but unfortunately that’s not an option for me. Only one other blogger knows my true identity and that’s the way I hope it will stay.

  7. My blog is anonymous and for very good reason! I blog about things that I would never want my family to find out.

    My friends know that I used to have a blog, but they were starting to get too nosy, too intrusive, so I closed down shop & started over totally anonymous this time!

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