To be or not to be… an anonymous blogger?

As a blogger, you’ve probably had this on your mind at some time… to be or not to be, anonymous. Today you’ll see why it is getting rather pointless trying to be the latter.

Alex Halavais has written an excellent piece on how “blogs bite back” on this very birthday of everyone’s favorite popular culture theorist, Marshall McLuhan. Marshall was a well-recognized as a communications theorist, a founder of the study of media ecology and an honorary guru today among technophiles. If you still don’t know who he is, he’s the legendary writer who penned the words “The Medium is the Massage” (he obviously loved wordplay). We as bloggers owe him a big one for who’d known that blogs, as a medium, went beyond the publishing of our daily quibbles, but served the greater mission of shaping our everyday identities.

Speaking of identities, Alex has made reasonable claims that even though he had talked about it in the past, recent events of “blogs biting back” in terms of jobs and careers, brought him back to an idea that certain kinds of non-anonymous blogging tend to lead to the integration of identity, rather than multiple fractional identities. We see this in recent examples of blog-firings and related issues is a symptom of this new sort of integration of identity.

As such, Alex explains that there are two reasons why he doesn’t think that anonymous blogging is the answer for everyone:

First, I anonymous or pseudonymous blogging is never really possible. The patterns that you create lead to connections to your real world that, with enough time and detail, are difficult to ignore. Over time, it becomes difficult, I suspect, to maintain a blog that is not entirely fictional, and difficult even to maintain one that is entirely fictional.

Second, and more importantly, I think there are definite benefits that can accrue from blogging as a “real” person, tied to your real identity. The greatest is perhaps credibility. It’s never entirely clear whether someone is invested in their discourse if they can disappear without having lost very much. I do think that over time, you can come to trust a pseudonymous blog, but when it is tied to a real live person the words come with, I think, more consequences.

Adding to this, his earlier post entitled “Does Google make libel easier?” demonstrates how it is easy to discover related information that may connect to you. Remember: Anything you post the Internet mercilessly stays on the Internet, even if you forgot about it!

I agree with him that while one may still have multiple blogs, it’s a good idea to have a main identifying blog where family, friends, and colleagues might find each other through this personal network. One could possibly create greater opportunity for everyone by fusing their various networks together.

4 thoughts on “To be or not to be… an anonymous blogger?

  1. Hi Kevin,

    Actually I’ve listed all the software/services/MT plug-ins I’m using on the “credits” page. Would you like to have a look at that? Hope this helps.

    Anonymity was seen as the characteristic of the Internet, at least in those “old” days. At that time seems online identity was (intentionally) seperated from offline identity. People were enjoying the masquerade a lot then. Now the online identity is becoming the complement and extension of offline identity. Digital being?

  2. I won’t say being anonymous is passe in the sense that I don’t see the concept as necessarily linked to being ‘fashionable or not’. I think there are those who still need anonymity (even if they really don’t want it themselves but are ‘forced to’) depending on their particuluar circumstances. ;p

  3. No matter how much anonymity may appeal to people, it’s a concept that doesn’t exist in this age. You are never really anonymous, even if you omit your name from your blog/comments, and your face from your pictures.
    The truth will out. And if you’ve been a bad girl/boy, the proverbial will hit the fan. That’s why it’s always better to be honest and upfront. And that applies to both real and virtual life. ­čÖé

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