When I started this blog, I made the choice to use my real name. My real identity. Hello, Miriam Reynoldson here.
I had read work by other bloggers who disclosed their own names, but used pseudonyms for their loved ones - Allie Brosh, for instance, calls her boyfriend "Boyfriend" (although his real name is known to many readers via his comments on her site). I'd read work by bloggers who use pseudonyms for themselves. Still other bloggers use no name at all, and simply operate as an unidentified "I".
I have a handful of friends now who keep blogs and online journals, and it's occurred to me that I am the only one who has disclosed my own full name.
I never really worried about this until last week, when I found myself lined up for an interview with the house that publishes Gail Dines' books in Australia. I didn't get the job, so it won't become an issue, but I have written some rather scathing things about Dines here. I seriously doubt the publisher would have thought to Google me and read the article in question before deciding not to hire me, but I suppose it might have happened later on. The thing is, I am unrepentant. I don't think I could ever pretend to agree with Dines' extremist anti-pornography stance, anyway. Even if I'd never written a word against her on my blog, I'd still be in opposition to her views.
I suppose, if I had landed a permanent job with the publisher and made an official link between my own work and my employer's, it would be unwise to write public criticisms of its authors. Which is up to me, isn't it? I could easily remove the offending blog post. I'm my own censor. If someone were desperate enough to dig into some cached version and drag out the post again, what would that achieve? It would only show that I personally had an opposing viewpoint, which I chose to remove from the public eye because it clashed with the requirements of my employer. Which should be fine, shouldn't it?
I know not everyone is so lucky, but one important element of a happy life is a career that meshes with your personal values. For some people, the meshing point must be profound - you know, religious workers, humanitarian workers, morally upstanding so-and-sos. But for most of us, this simply means working in an industry that we don't regard as fundamentally evil, and working alongside people who accept us and embrace our methods.
For me, this means working for an employer that isn't going to throw a hissy fit because I value my own opinions. I'm happy to have them outside of company time, but I'm not happy hiding them behind a fake name.
I could be wrong. This could all come back to bite me hard one day. But honestly? I'm not planning to work for God anytime soon. So I think I'm going to keep bagging Him out for the time being.
What are your thoughts? Especially you folks out there who keep blogs and journals yourselves. Why have you chosen to use, or to conceal, your identity online?