I received an e-mail two days ago asking if I was concerned about my identity and the ability for someone on the Internet to track down additional personal information since I use my real name on my blog.
My response was that I was not really concerned about anonymity due to the following reasons.
I do not write about my current employer
I do not write about anyone associated with my current employer
If I write about past employers/clients, I do not use their names
If I write about issues with friends or industry peers, I only refer to them as colleagues
I mainly write about the IT industry, technology, general management issues, personal development topics, and current events
This way I do not have any conflicts at the office or have to worry about any disclosure issues.
The e-mail made me think about why the vast majority of blogs are essentially anonymous and how I value those blogs compared to other blogs that provide some information about the author.
I have not come across many blogs that are critical or really talk that much about their employer. I have come across one or two true “hate” blogs but the 99.999% of all blogs that I have read are tame to only mildly provocative. Only a couple have ventured into the very provocative or delved headlong into “indecency”. I can understand the need for anonymity if you write a very personal (diary) blog, if you get my meaning, and for the moderate to very provocative blogs. Again, these are minority of the available blogs.
I believe what I write, on my blog and the comments I leave on other blogs. This blog is who I am, and I do not have an issue with letting the world know it. Who knows, if I play my cards right, it might help me down the road with name recognition. If I play it wrong, it will certainly cause me great harm. Once on the Internet, always on the Internet.
Is this why people embrace anonymity?
I always read the “about” link on every blog I visit. I like to get a little glimpse of the author as a real person. I place a higher value on blogs where people do not hide behind the wall of anonymity that the Internet offers.
Whether you write a provocative blog or not, be proud of it and do not hide from your readers. I do not recommend that you post your home address but being just “John Doe in Noware, USA” does not give your readership much of a personal connection to you, the author, as a real human.
I am speaking from the male point of view, and as I write this, I am aware of that fact. I do not have concerns about my personal safety and I do not write a provocative blog. So does this change my thoughts, no, not really. I recommend that people with concerns for personal safety be more obscure, but as a reader, I prefer more information about the author.
I guess it gets down to the simple fact that I value the opinions of people who stand up to be counted in the full sight of the world.