Being an Anonymous Blogger

I am a semi-anonymous blogger. I say “semi” because while I use a pseudonym, I also have a picture of myself as my avatar. It wouldn’t take very long for someone from my “real” life to figure out from reading the content of my blog that the author is me. Besides the fact that I’m everyone’s “weird friend” and this blog reads like the inner thoughts of a stripper/rodeo clown, I have also shared facts about where I live, my family and my job (which, coincidentally, is not stripped-rodeo clown). I haven’t tried very hard to keep my identity a secret. Maybe if I just talk really low, like this guy:

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I chose to be semi-anonymous because I didn’t want any friends or family members knowing that I have a blog. I wanted to be able to speak my mind freely and I know that a lot of my friends would judge me for that. My siblings don’t even have Facebook accounts, such is their need for privacy. They would think I was crazy for writing a blog. I know that a lot of people in my life would perceive my blog as immature and inappropriate, considering my profession. It just seemed easier to keep it from them, and I haven’t ever been tempted to tell anyone, apart from a select few that I can trust (Hey Ciara. My head still hurts from our crazy night.) I prefer to keep my blog a secret from everyone because then I can say what I like. Boobs. See?

I sometimes feel a little bit guilty, though. I read your blogs, where you share aspects of your life with such honesty and I feel like it’s almost not a fair trade. You guys don’t even know my name. I remember one blogger being so shocked when I told him that my name was not in fact Jane. I think he felt a little betrayed by the fact that he had been speaking to someone he had come to trust and then all of a sudden, he realises that he doesn’t even know my name. But hey, what’s in a name, right? A rose by any other name and all that jazz. Although there is this quote from the Simpsons…

Lisa: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Bart: Not if you called ’em stench blossoms.
Homer: Or crapweeds.
Marge: I’d sure hate to get a dozen crapweeds for Valentine’s Day. I’d rather have candy.
Homer: Not if they were called scumdrops.

Disclaimer: My name is not Crapweed. Not even nearly.

I want to reassure you all that you do know me. The real me. In fact, you guys probably know me better than a lot of my friends do. And if you don’t, here are some basic facts:
I’m twenty seven, I’m a teacher, I’m Irish, I love owls and sea otters, I have a lot of pets, I like dancing (even though this) and bad karaoke, I’m very friendly, I hate the supermarket and bad drivers, I get emotional way too easily, I love astronomy, I’m obsessed with classic Simpsons, I have a great boyfriend and I like all things weird. There. Now we’re practically best friends.

I’d like to hear from you guys about this. Are you anonymous? Why or why not? What do you think the pros and cons of being anonymous are?

P.S. I just realised that I could literally be anyone to you all… Now I have to go fight crime while wearing an unnecessary cape and my underwear outside my pants. Oops, did I just write that? Looks like the jig is up.

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55 thoughts on “Being an Anonymous Blogger

  1. Sofia Leo says:

    I’m anon for the most part, but a few people that I know IRL now read my main blog. The great thing about total anonymity is that you can speak the truth without being judged. My Mom reads my blog now, and while she finds inspiration there (really?!?) I can’t share everything I would like to for fear of freaking her (and a couple of friends) totally the fuck out. I’ve even considered starting a new blog for all the Real Shit but how would I lead my readers there without giving it away to those I don’t want to read it? It’s a huge problem…

    As for cons, yes, when people ask for a Real Name it can get awkward. They don’t seem to understand that the cloak of anonymity gives you the power to be honest that you just don’t have any other way – they do indeed know the Real You, just not the name you were given by your parents.

    • janeybgood says:

      I think it’s cool that your mom reads your blog! My mother is quite conservative; she wouldn’t like what I write, even though it’s all very tame. She just getting old and very Irish.
      I actually would like some friends to know about my blog, but I figure my secret would get out. Out of the few hundred friends I have on Facebook, less than five of them actively blog. I know some people who have described it as vain and self-indulgent. Obviously I completely disagree but I know a lot of my friends feel that way. I prefer having friends within the community who also blog.

      Yes, I really appreciate that I can be very honest on here. I just would not have that luxury if I revealed my real name or showed this blog to people in my life. Anyway, thanks for your comment! You gave me plenty to think about!

      • Sofia Leo says:

        I hesitated to give Mom my blog address, but at the time I was feeling reckless and angry over my escape from the narc and just wanted to shout to the world that I will not be a doormat ever again, and well, things got out of hand with the passing out of the blog address. Now I’m kinda sorry, but not exactly sorry, KWIM? I have other blogs that are much more public and family friendly and those are the ones I tend to share nowadays.

        I don’t see blogging as vain and self-indulgent, but rather as a large community of people who are strolling around a town square, stopping here and there and talking with their neighbors, discussing world events or gossiping or offering advice. We don’t have that IRL any more, so this is our Town Square. You can choose to be involved with others or just sit quietly in your corner, putting your words out, hoping the person who was meant to hear them walks by and stops to chat, filling in that little puzzle piece of your life that you didn’t quite know was missing. If your words help another along the way, that’s just a lovely bonus πŸ™‚

      • janeybgood says:

        That’s perfect. That is a perfect description of the blogosphere. I love it! You’re so right. You can be any kind of blogger you want, and if people like what you are saying, they will come to you. If they don’t, they generally stay away and that’s the way I like it!

        When you put it that way, sharing your blog with your mother was a brave thing to do but ultimately, if you feel your blog represents the real you, then surely that’s a good thing. I like your defiance πŸ™‚

  2. openyoureyes145 says:

    My blog is semi-anonymous like yours.

    I don’t write under pseudonym, I just use my blog title “Random Ramblings” which describes me pretty well as I tend to be quite random and ramble on a lot.

    I think a few of my followers are real friends in real life. But for the most part everyone who reads my blog found it anonymously. I think it’s pretty cool! I wanted my success to come from other people, not force blog on people via Facebook or email.

    I enjoy reading everyone’s blog posts and I tend to write about my deepest feelings on my blog. I enjoy people from all over the world being able to read my posts and inspire me.

    Maybe someday, I will reveal myself. But who I am isn’t the key part of my blog. Reaching out to others is.

    • janeybgood says:

      I really like what you’ve said here! I like the fact that, like you, my readers have come from within the community. I feel like if I shared my posts on Facebook, my friends would feel obliged to praise me. I’m not knocking anyone who does this, sometimes I feel a little envious that I can’t, but I am more grateful that my readership has been build on the kindness and honesty of strangers.

      Thanks for a great comment!

      • openyoureyes145 says:

        I absolutely agree. My acquaintances on Facebook that are constantly posting their writing or shoving it in people’s faces make me cringe. I want to earn my success and help people without shoving everything in their faces!

        You’re welcome!

  3. Chelly says:

    I am a member of this amazing migraine group on facebook. We’re like family and I can literally talk about ANY of the weird things that have happened to me since becoming chronic. Sometimes they talk about meeting up sometime and then I start to feel guilty, because I don’t use my real name while I’m pretty sure they all do. The name is like another name for my middle name so it’s not a complete lie :P…but I’d be worried someone I know would come on there and then they might get judgemental you know? Or they would realise how much worse I was than I liked to let on and I hate that tragic sympathetic look! The group knows I’m from Ireland and I’ve even said what part of the country I’m in but they dont know what I look like or even that I am lying. And even now I’m writing this and I know I won’t use my real name here just in case someone would know me. So don’t feel guilty, at least everything else about you is real, and i think we all do it at times. Sure what’s in a name? πŸ™‚

    • janeybgood says:

      It’s funny, because I’ve often revealed what part of Ireland I’m from and which part I live in and I’m always afraid someone will go “oh my God, I KNOW you!” I know it’s highly unlikely, but it’s a small country. I’m a teacher, so it’s my worst nightmare that a student or thirty will stumble across my madness!

      I totally get what you’re saying about the Facebook group. Sometimes I see a news story in my newsfeed and I might have some very strong opinions on the topic and I’m almost afraid to comment because it will pop up on everyone else’s newsfeed. I don’t like the idea of everything in saying been seen and judged by others. It’s gas because they’re technically my Facebook “friends”, I should probably be more comfortable with them but I definitely have too many people in my friend’s list that I don’t know that well.

      Thanks for an insightful comment!

  4. cheergerm says:

    I always knew your were really Batman! I thought I was anonymous until I realised that I had linked my blog to my FB page. (never said I was smart…) Seriously, it was a deliberate choice, I guess I feel they are my friends and it’s usually food related, who doesn’t like food? I still am a tad anonymous, when you write about your children and husband I don’t feel quite right to use their real names. I think my boys are going to throttle me one day when they read some of the stuff I have written. (I too shall suffer for my art…??) My avatar is of me but only my hair. So, in a squirrels nutshell, I am less anonymous than you but I like to think people know who I am from what I write. I really feel that I know quite a lot about you and I think it’s great you have a safe space where you can write boob. Which I can’t really do so maybe, every now and again, may I visit here and write ‘ boob’.?

    • janeybgood says:

      You can visit any time and say what you like! I love your avatar.
      I’m sure your friends would actually really appreciate your blog. I know my friends would. The thing about mine is that I feel that I don’t really offer anything and people would just think I’m silly. Maybe I’m being silly now. Oh, I need a cup of tea.
      I’m sure your kids won’t mind, and if they do, you can always bribe them with delicious and healthy treats, right??
      Thanks so much for commenting! Your comments always make me smile πŸ˜€

  5. bensbitterblog says:

    I’m thinking I should have been anonymous because then there would be a little mystery to me. And maybe when my employers/co-workers read it, they might think I hated them. But I have no problem not being anonymous, because I’m pretty sure no one cares.

  6. Jessie Reyna says:

    I sometimes wish I had been a little bit anonymous. It would be nice to share nearly everything about myself without there being consequences. I’d like to get my own work published someday, so I figured my blog would be a good place to find me πŸ™‚

    • janeybgood says:

      That’s a very good point Jessie. Having an established blog always looks good and gives you a sense of identity. It’s always a great place to steer people when they want to know more about you. I’m pretty screwed on that front πŸ˜€

  7. Shauna841505 says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhh love this. So I have the opposite issue: I am not anonymous, and all of my friends/family read (or tell me they read) my blog. I would loveeeeeeeeee to write about some things (read: my in-laws), but can never do that. So I do agree with what you’re saying, that although your “real” identity is hidden, we get the real, true you through your writing. I like that better. πŸ™‚

    • janeybgood says:

      It’s nice that your friends and family read your blog, but I get what you’re saying, I can imagine it might be frustrating at times. I know that I like to have a good rant from time to time and it’s nice to have the freedom to do it!
      It’s nice that you can share the real aspects of your life though. I often find myself having to scale back posts and leave out pictures. Your blog has a lovely authenticity to it πŸ™‚

  8. Rees Design says:

    I think it’s a great choice to not divulge your name! My blog is linked to my business so I have to be cautious in what I write. I’m also mortified in publishing anything. As if I think I’m deadly lol. That’s ’cause I’m Irish though right?! πŸ˜‰ Keep your anonymity. I means you can continue to be more honest in everything else πŸ™‚

    • janeybgood says:

      If I had a business, I would definitely have a blog and link both. I think it’s a great idea, and let’s people get a better picture of who you are.
      I definitely will keep it, mostly because I like that I can be personal/weird on here. Thanks for your comment! It’s always great to chat with other Irish bloggers πŸ™‚

  9. Britney says:

    I think that even though it seems we are sharing things from our lives and being “open and honest”, we are actually not 100% honest. I talk about my husband and my job and I have no secrets for my identity, but then it’s harder to talk about all the nitty gritty stuff in your life. If I was anonymous I would be writing things A LOT differently. Lol probably more cursing

    • janeybgood says:

      Haha Britney, even I find it hard to curse on here! I’m always paranoid someone will find me because Ireland is such a small country.
      I think the upside to writing under your real name is that your readership may appreciate what you write a little more in that they may personally know you and what you are writing about and that way, they feel more involved.
      Thanks for commenting!

      • Britney says:

        lol well i’m mormon so i SHOULDN’T be cursing…but we all have our faults lol you have no idea how many times i have wanted to say the phrase
        “now let’s sew some sh*t” lol but i am trying to be a good example of a mormon so i haven’t cursed once! and it’s made me better in real life too i think,
        I find that i am a very open person in daily life so i never thought it would be any other way when i was blogging and i do think it helps my readers connect more personally like you said. which is how i want it to be! but then like shauna said in a comment up there ^ are we really being 100% open and honest? maybe not lol

      • janeybgood says:

        I don’t think any of us are ever *totally* honest but that’s a good thing. I was watching the movie ‘Interstellar’ this evening and the robot was programmed to be 90% honest because he said that complete honesty isn’t always a good thing. I suppose we need to keep a little mystery too!

  10. Betty says:

    Well my real names not betty. It was actually never meant to be a fake name….I was just trying to use a clever synonym for girl because “running girl” sounded kind of boring…people made the assumption it was my real name and I decided I kinda liked it! It seems cute and cheeky! πŸ˜‰ I’m not really anonymous, most my friends and co-workers know about my blog. My mom is my most loyal reader! I also like bad karaoke and dancing! And your blog! Whatever your real name is Jane! Mystery is fun! And you’re still a rose to me! πŸ˜‰

    • janeybgood says:

      Aw thanks Betty! Or should I say, “Betty.”
      I’m pretty mind-blown that it’s not your name haha! You’re right; it’s an adorable name!
      I can imagine that your blog inspires your friends/family and provides motivation to people πŸ™‚ thanks for commenting!

  11. amandalyle1986 says:

    Waaaaaaait a minute! Your name is not Jane? …I feel so betrayed! *shocked face*

    I think it’s safer when friends and relatives aren’t aware of our innermost thoughts and feelings… Unfortunately, MOST of my friends now read my blog, which means I need to monitor what I say a little bit more.

    I just hope my mother-in-law doesn’t stumble across it one day, and think, “SHE CALLED ME BITCH?” – That would be my life, pretty much over! Eeeeek!

    • janeybgood says:

      I know, I know. I remember I was trying to come up with a blog name and I happened to be listening to Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode”, hence the name. My name IRL is quite boring and common (although you can all call me Night Hawk if you so wish).

      The fact that your blog has such a huge readership means it would be pretty hard to stay anonymous anyway! I think one of the biggest appeals of your blog is the insight we get into your life πŸ™‚

      Geeze, that would not be good haha. Jack’s family tend to monitor my Facebook quite closely so I would hate them seeing my blog! *shudder*

      Thanks for commenting Amanda!

      • amandalyle1986 says:

        Sorry for the delay in responding (naughty Amanda!) It’s the dreaded half-term at the moment, which means my children are running a riot… and therefore I am getting very little done! Fortunately they go back to school on Tuesday (Damn you teacher training day!) …not that I want them to go back or anything *guilty face*… because I totally haven’t been rocking back and forth in a cupboard under the stairs!

        I love the name of your blog, I think it’s originally and fun…but would it be strange to call you Night Hawk from now onwards, or would you just embrace it?

        And thank you for the kind words, you are a sweety πŸ™‚

        Plus…you love owls, so… yep! You’re a girl after my own heart πŸ˜€

        Have a wonderful weekend!

      • janeybgood says:

        As a teacher, I’m on half-term and I’m DREADING going back (even though I’ve changed jobs now). I can’t imagine what I’d be like with kids running around my home but I am picturing myself also in a cupboard under the stairs…for some reason, holding a broom.
        Night Hawk does make me sound kind of like a ninja, so maybe Jane will have to do 😦

        Anyway, enjoy your weekend with your darling kids πŸ™‚ I know you’ll really miss them when they go back….right? πŸ˜€

      • amandalyle1986 says:

        Haha! Yes… Rather than a broom, I’ll be holding a bottle of strong spirit to get me through the day…

        …i’m just kidding!

        There’s nothing wrong with ninjas, ninjas are cool… But Janey has the edge! I’ll just call you Janey! πŸ™‚

        I shall savour the last moments of having my children home, because I am soooo going to miss then when they go back to school! *slight hint of sarcasm*

        Enjoy the rest of your weekend! And good luck when you go back. You might need it (frantic kids after school holidays?) although I’m sure you are an amazing teacher and will have it all under control πŸ™‚

  12. dapplegrey says:

    I actually have two blogs, believe it or not, one anonymous and one not, and it can get confusing. The identity I appear as here is of course the anonymous one and although by now after blogging for three years there are a number of people who know who I am, I do enjoy the feeedom of not writing it under my real name – it’s somehow liberating and I can write more freely and comfortably. Added to which I like to keep my head down because I have chronic health issues that I occasionally write about but don’t want to be defined by, and that’s a wonderful thing – so long live anonymity!

    • janeybgood says:

      It definitely is liberating. I completely agree with what you’ve said about health issues (although I’m sorry to hear it). I have often thought about writing about my struggles with depression and this is the only place I would feel safe doing that πŸ™‚
      Thanks for your comment!

  13. Whovian says:

    Although my blog is anonymous, I do share details of my life where you might realize I’m *me* if you know me. But you’d never find the blog looking by name or anything like that, and I try to keep general enough details that it couldn’t be found that way. No one in my real life even knows I have a blog (let alone 2!) and I intend to keep it that way! πŸ™‚

    • janeybgood says:

      It is certainly easier in a lot of ways to be anonymous. I have a greater peace of mind anyway. I find that it’s our own friends who are more judgemental than strangers are.

  14. girlseule says:

    I have two blogs, the one I write under this name is the anonomyous one, I’m not sure if I’d want my full name on this blog, mostly for employment reasons, I’m not sure I’d want a future employer Googling me and reading my girlseule blog. My other blog is under my real name it’s mostly a travel blog that pretty much only Mum reads! But I haven’t updated either in a while now.

    • janeybgood says:

      Evie! It’s good to hear from you. I hope all is well. It is certainly easier in a lot of ways to be anonymous. I know that if a potential employer or student got a hold of my blog, it would be pretty hard to be taken seriously. While it’s harmless, it’s really really stupid.

      Anyway, how are you? I read on your blog that you had been planning a trip to South America?

      • girlseule says:

        Yes I am in Columbia right now! I love it over here. I haven’t been blogging in a while I feel like I am all out of ideas so now I am just hanging around enjoying other people’s blogs.

      • janeybgood says:

        That’s cool. You lead a fascinating life. Mine is very mundane in comparison. I blog absolute crap, but it’s kinda become my thing so I just embrace it!
        We’ve missed you. Perhaps tell us all about Columbia? Interesting country for sure!

  15. Elle says:

    Im totally anonymous. Well, some of my friends know that I have a blog, but they don’t know the address. I guess it is more comfortable to express yourself anonymously because the people in your real life won’t judge you, or at least think you’re fishing for compliments.

    • janeybgood says:

      I certainly find it easier. You’re right, it’s the judgement that I couldn’t stand. It’s easy to say that I wouldn’t care, but I would. Happy anonymous blogging! πŸ™‚

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