Monday, October 11, 2010

Anonymous Forever?

I'm feeling a bit torn about being in the blog closet.

I started this blog anonymously and with no intention of having it otherwise. As careful as I may be about what I put into my posts, I felt like I might say something damning at some point, or that I might not be as truthful or forthright if it was not anonymous, which undermined the point for me. My intention was to talk about the difficulties and joys of being a graduate student, a wife, and a mother (although that's not actually been the focus of a lot of my posts!), and I wanted to be honest about those things. I had worries about my committee seeing something I had written, or a future employer finding a post about how I would NEVER consider doing the xyz job they had just interviewed me for... or that I struggled with time management, attention span, and long-range planning (which I do). What employer wants to see that?

In the past few months, though, I've been following big-wigs like Boraz and Ed Yong on Twitter, inadvertently also reading re-tweets (I can't say that without feeling embarrassed) and replies to and from other followers of theirs. I started having out-of-the-closet jealousy! These people reply and tweet to their favorite science writers with abandon! My Twitter account is personal; its updates also go straight to my Facebook profile so they have become inseparable (Facebook and Twitter, BFF). I would like to be This Scientist on Twitter so that I can unite all of my Internet presences, comment on people's tweets, be linked to my blog, be linked to the actual work I do, talk freely about location-specific issues, etc. I wish I could either get a new Twitter profile as This Scientist or just bite the bullet and unveil myself. I know it may not seem like a big deal because I am a humble, infrequently updating, wet behind the ears blogger, but it has the possibility of dramatically changing how I see my blog and what it represents to me.

On the other hand, if I admitted to being This Scientist, that would open up my readership to people who know me in real life (I can't bring myself to use "IRL" quite yet), which could be beneficial. Any traffic is good traffic, right? But would anything productive come of that? Another one of my goals with blogging was to get used to putting together prose, possibly even about science, and maybe getting my (pseudo)name out there as a *raise eyebrows* science writer. Would it get me any closer to that goal if my friends were reading my stuff?

How do you feel? Are you in the blog closet? Do you have separate accounts for everything, living a dual e-life?

1 comment:

  1. I feel your pain. I blog anonymously because my blog is about atheism, and because I don't know where I'll want to apply for a job and I don't know what my future will be like, I'm not sure I want my real name all over my blog. Atheists: still the most hated minority in the US.

    If you really want to be able to write (relatively) freely about professional or personal issues you're dealing with, it's probably good to remain at least Google-anonymous (I mean, a search of your name would not turn up this blog). There's a higher level of anonymity in which you refrain from mentioning unique hobbies, specific trips you're taking, etc. in case one of your readers just happens to know you in real life and might be able to guess it's you. I'm not sure that that much is necessary in your case, but it's obviously a difficult and very personal decision.