Friday, August 28, 2009


This isn't a post about "Anonymous", the 4chan meme (although that is a fascinating story, so maybe I'll have to do that some other time)*. I want to write something now about being anonymous. I've been thinking about blog anonymity a lot lately, but I'm still really uncertain about it. Maybe writing will help me make up my mind. Maybe you can help me out in the comments.

First: I started a blog a while ago. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do with it, but I thought it would be good opportunity (and excuse) to force myself to practise different ways of writing. Which is what it's actually been, more or less, I think. I posted as "Thoapsl" because in my mind, that stood for "think of a pseudonym later". (Yeah, I know, I know...)

BUT. As of Wednesday, I'm no longer anonymous: my blog now carries my actual name. So? Even before, it was possible for people to figure out my identity if they tried hard enough. But I'd always had a vague paranoia that without anonymity, I was more vulnerable; that I couldn't post anything without fear of it haunting me irl. Anonymity meant the freedom to relax.

That's what I thought my motivation was. But in fact I've always cared about what I post, anyway, whether anonymous or not. Thoapsl's reputation isn't my reputation, but it's a reputation that I care about. I've even gone out of my way not to swear online, mostly, despite the fact that my natural inclination is to swear like a m*therf*ck**g c**tf*xed tro**er.

So if it's not really about freedom, what's my real paranoia? Am I maybe worried about potential employers not hiring me, because of something on my blog that they don't like?

I know I'm definitely conflicted about angling for employment via my blog. I want my personal blogging to be for fun and random – I don't want to feel constrained by purpose. I definitely don't want to seem mercenary. But if someone actually emailed me tomorrow and said "Hey Tim, I read your blog and I would like to give you money for something" – that would be great, wouldn't it? And if there's nothing on my blog that would actually lose me a job – at least, any job worth having – then what's the worst that could happen?

Maybe I've talked myself into it. Maybe I'm still unsure. Either way I probably need to work on my blogger profile some more. (Maybe I'm just embarrassed that I don't have a real "occupation" to fill in on my profile, yet.)

Is anonymity worth it? Do you care about it, yourself? Would you (or do you?) blog anonymously, or under your real name? Best answer wins a prize.

anonymous cat
*Hey, wait a minute! I just noticed, I am totally jumping on the mentioning-4chan-but-then-not-actually-talking-about-it-although-still-leaving-open-the-possibility-of-talking-about-it-later bandwagon. What a weird coincidence. Hat-tip to Carla!


  1. prize?
    hm, no actually when i started blogging a year and a bit ago i wanted a space to show my work, a space to ask questions and get feedback from like minded people. i care about what i post, and so ive always used my name. but then i also figured no one i know would probably visit, so i guess thats a kind of anonymity.
    when ive travelled i met up with people ive 'met' through my blog, and im glad i was never really anonymous because if i had been this maybe wouldnt have happened.
    the profile thing is worrying me too. at the moment mine is just a list of random likes, im always unsure whether or not to show my age etc. its tricky. i guess it comes down to how 'real' you want to be. do i want a job from this? (yes, but probably unlikely) do i want a space with no strings attached (which probably puts limits on the rewards)? i have some thinking to do.

  2. Hey Marie - if no-one you knew was reading your blog, how did people find it? Did you just post things and wait for google, or did you go out and do things to let people know that you were there?

  3. i guess i meant no-one i know 'in real life' - i comment on other blogs so people found me through that i guess (not many though, but i dont really care about numbers). then some people posted about my blog which was nice, i guess that helped too :)