What Does Blogging Anonymity Mean to You?

by Denise

Most bloggers choose to blog under a handle other than their actual name.  Most keep specific details about their location and work private.  As I prepare to publish something that is a little weightier than my usual fare, I wondered whether I ought not attach my actual name to it.  The reason is that I’ve always believed that people ought to have the courage of their convictions.  A truth that you claim to believe in but will not publicly attach your name to seems to be a truth that you don’t believe in enough to be openly identified with.  To be honest, the HBD supporters seem to be a prime example of this.  Many claim that the public simply cannot handle such “politically incorrect” truth.  But politicians, ideologues, and intellectual pundits argue with one another all the time publicly.  And throughout history, many people on all sides of the political spectrum have fought, bled and died for what they believed to be the truth in light of extreme opposition.

When we insist on anonymity, are we attempting to sway others to a position without being openly seen as doing so?  Are we dodging valid scrutiny and criticism?  Are we trying to give ourselves cover and permission to say something we would not otherwise say, in a manner that we would not otherwise say it?  Do we not want the people in our lives to know the things we write and our real feelings?  Are we really concerned about someone from the internet harassing us, when plenty of strangers and casual acquaintances in our day to day lives can ascertain just as many details about us?

There was a hilarious comic I came across on another blog:




Everyone has thoughts and ideas that they have an intuitive sense are not quite right.  A person’s deep-seated prejudice against certain members of society would be an easy example.  They may mention it at the dinner table or whisper about it to a friend, but will nevertheless put on the friendliest face if they ever encounter such a person.  Those feelings and impulses that come from the id, which have not been refined by a conscious reasoning process and the choice to be a better person are feelings and impulses that, in polite company, we would know to restrain.  And we restrain them because we know within ourselves that they don’t come from a good place.  But the anonymity of the internet allows people to indulge their id, and find others who will normalize and support those hidden thoughts and feelings.  Internet anonymity ends up meaning that every idea, every thought, and every feeling whatsoever gets a voice and a platform and a support group.  

And so I ask myself why I blog anonymously, and why I was so irritated with Google for forcing Google+ on everyone, and why I don’t want my YouTube account to carry my real name, and why I attempt to keep my professional circles separate from my online identities.

I’m genuinely curious to know what other bloggers think about anonymity and why they choose it (or don’t choose it).