Blogging. It seems there are as many ways to configure your blog as there are blended coffee options at Starbucks. Some people put it all out there, giving their name and the names of all their family members. Some blog under a monicker but use their children’s real names. Others give everyone a nickname and stick with them. A few even keep their city or state safely hidden behind pseudonyms. Many bloggers post pictures of themselves and their families while some never show their true face.
I blog under an assumed name and I’ve given one to my partner. I use my daughter’s real name, I’m not sure why. At some point I wanted to change that but I already had “Isa” written in so many places in my blog it felt impossible to go back. I have divulged where I live and posted countless photos of myself and my little girl.
On my new blog I use my same assumed name (Esperanza). I thought of using my real name there but I linked to it many times from here so that felt counter productive. Still there is nothing on that blog I wouldn’t want associated with my IRL self. Anyone I know could read that blog if they wanted to.
I suppose that is why I keep this blog anonymous. Without my real name I can say whatever I want about anybody I want. And I have said things about colleagues at work that I wouldn’t want them to see. But really, that’s about it. My girlfriends do know about this blog and I’ve had to filter what I say about them accordingly (I learned this the hard way). Actually, I posted a link to my blog on Facebook during NIAW so I guess anybody could have clicked through and then scoured my backlogs for shit talking. The reality is I knew they wouldn’t. I didn’t even expect them to click to the miscarriage piece in the first place. That is why I put it out there, because I knew it would be ignored.
And I have no reason to assume it wouldn’t continue to be ignored. And yet I’m not sure if I’m ready to test fate (or my friends’ curiosity). Do I want people who google my name to find my blog? I don’t know. If I knew they could do that would I censor what I write? Probably, though I can’t point to any specific topic that I would handle differently.
I am not trying to remain completely anonymous. I’ve sent things through the post to myriad other bloggers and they’ve sent things to me. Most of my daily commenters know my name and some even have my address. I suppose my pseudonym is more to protect my blog from the people I already know and not to protect me from the unknown Interwebs. But maybe it should be about protecting myself, and my family, from the unknown dangers of the Internets. I’m certainly all sorts of naive about that.
None of this would really matter if I weren’t faced with two separate issues simultaneously. One has to do with BlogHer. Mel recently offered to syndicate one of my pieces. I dressed up my BlogHer account a bit and posted my piece, but for some reason, on BlogHer it felt strange to use my pseudonym. Don’t most bloggers there use their real names? Don’t most writers, in general, want their work associated with who they are?
At the same time my local mother’s group, Golden Gate Mothers Group (GGMG), which has thousands of members and puts out a bimonthly publication to its dues paying constituents, has asked me to be the subject of their inaugural interview column. They solicited me after putting out a call to all blogging GGMG members, requesting our URLs to compile a list of San Francisco Mom Blogs. I guess they liked Second Hand Happiness and wanted to interview me.
They would also like to use my real name in the interview (but are fine if I’d rather stay anonymous). As I said before, I have no real issue associating my name with my other blog except that I’ve linked from here to there so many times I’d basically be outing both places.
So now I’m not sure what to do. Using my real name in the GGMG article will out me on my other blog, at least to all the mothers who read that publication (which I believe only appears in print, not on the internet, so the “damage” would be contained). Of course if I used my real name on BlogHer I would be outed on this space anyway.
I’m not sure what to do. I feel ignorant of all the reasons I might want to keep my identity secret (at least to a google search) and I worry I’m being too presumptuous in assuming that my IRL peeps would ever take the time to read it. And if they did, would I really care? I’m a pretty open person, for better or worse, and I don’t really mind people knowing what goes on in my mind. But maybe I only say that because I know they don’t. Maybe if I knew anyone could find this place I wouldn’t feel nearly as comfortable here.
The reality is I have no idea what to do.
Do you write anonymously? Why or why not? Can writers branch out under assumed identities? Or does maintaining a moniker automatically prevent them from making a name for themselves? Should I use my real name at BlogHer or GGMG?