When I started blogging, there was no question I’d use my own name. I was a journalist, I was returning to work after time off to raise my family and creating a blog what part of re-establishing my solo writing business - I wanted the world to know I was back.
No so with a blogger I’ll identify as “K,” who blogs at Once Bitten as Sookie Stackhouse, the telepathic barmaid heroine of Charlaine Harris’ Southern vampire mystery series played by Anna Paquin in the hit vampire series “True Blood.”
Or Jay, aka, “Mena Grazie,” a blogger who runs an online newspaper for vampires and other paranormal fictional characters called The Preternatural Post.
Or Kathy Murray Lynch, a writer and author who blogs at That China Girl in the voice of Taya H., the main character of her novel in progress.
I never knew so many people didn’t blog as themselves until the 2011 Blogathon. When I roamed through the 200+ bloggers who’d signed up, I noticed a number who used a first name only, pseudonym or the name of a fictional character.
Call Me Anonymous
Out of curiosity, I asked this year’s blogathon participants why they did or didn’t blog as themselves. Based on what they shared, it boils down to the reason they’re blogging in the first place:
- People use their own name if they’re journalists, freelancers or other types of writers or are blogging to build a brand or a name for themselves because they’re working on a book or other project.
- If the nature of what they write about is more personal, they don’t.
- If they’re using a blog as a living lab to experiment with a character for a work of fiction or something else they’re pursuing, they blog as that person.
- If they’re running a company blog, they don’t put a name on posts at all or use the CEO’s name.
In Their Own Words
Here’s what bloggers said about identifying or not identifying themselves on their blogs:
It’s a fiction writing warm up – “The sole purpose of the blog is to feed my fiction, provide character development, do research and play with ideas. I got so much out of the blogathon last year, that I wanted to see if having daily deadlines and readers to bounce ideas off of, could generate the same energy in my fiction. The short answer: It has. On a lot of days my posts have served as a great warm-up for my writing sessions. I think people’s answers reflect just how much blogs have changed over the years, going from the very personal to the very – impersonal isn’t the word – public, more like newsletters, or mini publications. At least that’s how I look at what I do.” - ” Kathy Murray Lynch, That China Girl
I want to own what I say – “Our blog centers around our mother-daughter relationship and us as authors (of) Depression Cookies. I still think it is very important for us to be genuinely exposed, shall we say. I want our readers to know (us) as authors, writers, parents, friends, women. But, to go one step farther, I would want to always blog under my name. I want to ‘own’ something I say.” – Tia Bach, Depression Cookies
First name basis - “I used to blog completely anonymously, but I felt silly about it. Now I use my first name only. It’s not a big deal to me exactly, and most people in my day-to-day life are aware of my blog. But I’m a substitute teacher and a touch of anonymity seems prudent since I do swear sometimes. Then again, my last name is extremely common, so maybe I I’m worrying over nothing.” – Tara P., Two Hands and a Road Map
My blog, my brand – “My blog is all me, all the time, because I’m all about the Reel Life With Jane brand. There are tons of entertainment sites out there, but only one me, so that’s what I push 24/7.” – Jane Boursaw, Reel Life With Jane
More in Their Own Words
Better known than my real name – “I blog under a pseudonym simply because when I started the blog, I was working in a field where doing a paranormal/vampire/gaming blog would not have been acceptable. I’ve been trying to transition to working in the horror/gaming/technology/paranormal genre and there ‘Mena’ is actually better known than my real name. In an effort to unite my ‘personalities’ I have recently begun listing the Post on my ‘real’ resume and the ‘real’ me is listed as the publisher of the Post on the About page.” – JC Hammond aka “Mena Grazie,” The Preternatural Post
From ‘terrified’ to ‘no apologies’ – “This is something I wrestled with when beginning a blog. I was pretty terrified to blog in general, because I knew ladymoxie would be a blog in my voice, uncensored. I have a lot of conservative family, some who think I wasted my education by even creating my blog, but I don’t take it personally. Blogging in my own identity allowed me to further the journey of completely being myself and having my own opinions, no matter what others think. Now I include my blog as part of my portfolio because it shows my style, voice, and sassiness – no apologies for who I am or how I write. The blog has lead to work, which reinforces my goal to be an honest voice.” – Alison Preston, Ladymoxie
Mistake to have separate personas – “Since I’m not a secret agent I have no reason to hide who I am. My blog represents one facet of me and is filled with my opinions. I mention it on Twitter and Facebook and try to tie it all together. I made the mistake early on in my social media life of having separate personnas. Some – such as my primary AOL screen name, my Yahoo name and my Skype name – I cannot change and have too many people I’m connected to on those services. I wish they would let one make a one-time change so I could bring those names in line with the rest of my online persona.” – Peter Weissenstein, Join Me for a Cuppa
Anonymous to protect the kids - “I have been blogging since 2004 and my children were all very young back then. My blog was originally about my adventures in homeschooling and I wanted to keep the protection of semi-anonymity for the sake of my little ones. Over the years, I’ve add several different blogs for several different purposes and still kept using only my first name. But now, with 4 of my children adults and 2 more teenagers and the younger 2 getting close to teen years, I no longer feel the need for complete anonymity.” – Kate M., Teaching What is Good
What about you, do you blog as you or someone else, and why?