This post started out as a comment on some musings by The Science Goddess about male vs. female tendencies to use pseudonyms on blogs.
Here’s my coming out speech from the Blogger platform…
Choosing between a pseudonym and a real nym involves some complex thinking, but I’m not sure it’s anything but an emotional decision.
Writing as Repairman, although I still exercised enough restraint to remain “professional,” allowed me the belief that if I came on a little strong, there would be no consequences outside of civil, or at worst, flaming disagreement on the net. Then I spotted a local stalker who stumbled on my blog and put two and two together with local events and news. I realized that, even for a restrained anonymous blogger, anonymity is largely an illusion, and the only person being fooled is the blogger.
The next thoughts are reflective, and you think, “Is what I have to say worth saying if I attach my name and reputation to it?” That’s where the rubber meets the road, because the answer is, if you’re going to blog under your own name, you need to follow the same rules of civility that apply in face-to-face interactions with both people you know and people you don’t know.
So I’m thinking that the pen name versus real name question can be answered by deciding the purpose of your blog. If you’re into satire and criticism, or humor at the expense of your doughball local educators, there’s no doubt that you need a pseudonym. If your purpose is to discuss education issues and comment on life in general, and you’re not afraid of people pointing at you and laughing at your thoughts, your real name bespeaks belief in your own words and vouches for your integrity.
I get the urge now and then to rip someone a new one (I was born and raised a Brooklyn boy, after all), but for that I would need to be someone else, immune to the hurt and injury I may do to the victim. But that’s not my blogging purpose, even though I sometimes feel the pull to stray into that minefield. (But all bets are off if someone engages me on my own turf, and abuses truth and logic.)
Lest some of my blogging friends feel I am disapproving of anonymity, let me say that I dearly love to read the satires and the reports of unnamed education clowns. That’s entertainment for me and catharsis for the writer. Go for it. But protect yourself.
If you find yourself leaning mostly toward “non-fiction,” however, a real name makes you think twice about what you say, and that makes what you have to say better.
I do know of bloggers who have multiple blogs that serve their various personas. Maybe that’s the ticket. But real name or not, remember that nothing is ever truly anonymous on the web, and it never goes away. (The Science Goddess is the first blogger who made me aware of that fact.) l
Now, let me ask one more question here…does the predominance of female use of pseudonyms (according to The Science Goddess) mean that women are more snarky – in general – than men? 😀 (Oooh, I can already feel the flames!)
From MW Webster’s Collegiate…
Etymology:dialect snark to annoy, perhaps alteration of nark to irritate
1 : CROTCHETY, SNAPPISH
2 : sarcastic, impertinent, or irreverent in tone or manner *snarky lyrics*
-snark£i£ly \-k*-l*\ adverb
PS: You’ll enjoy this post by Miss A on Blogging Professional Development…