a rose by any other name
Should you blog anonymously
My opinion: YES, yes, a thousand times over, yes. I suppose, if you fancy yourself a serious political commentator who plans on recieving calls from CNN regularly, a real name lends credibility. Talking to Larry King from behind a mask, with a voice distorter, using the name "REpUbLiCaN MastiZOR" or whatever isn't likely to garner you much respect. But you better have the resources to back it up.
A name search can yield a million things to someone, and a bit of digging can yield a million more. And even if someone dosen't come looking for you, the fact that you are a real person on the web can damage you.
But here's my problem: finding a cool internet moniker. There's so few out there. There's a lot, a majority, of really, really dorky ones. I used to comment as "Francisthegreat", which has a long geeky history I may sometime share with you. But I'm bored with that, so lately I've been commenting with simply "Francis", which is my real first name. And is both dorky and boring. I kindof like my blog name, Geek Empire, except that I don't do a whole lot of posts on some traditional geek stuff (Video games, for example), and the domain was already owned by these folks
, who are kind enough not to sue me for using it. But I'm at a loss for what to call myself here on Al Gore's Internets.
Waiting for my Muse on that one, I suppose. If there is a "Muse of Dorky Internet Handles".
Anyway, personally, I don't want to say something bad about a protestor I met in Oakland this weekend and have him show up at my doorstep. What do I think are the chances of that happening? Not likely, but possible, and I have neither the time, energy or cash to make myself anonymous against my full name. And once someone has your name, address, etc, they can cause other havok as well, none of which I feel like dealing with.
But there are other reasons. You'll notice that I did a considerable amount of bitching about a company I used to work for here. Never once did I mention that company's name, or any specifics of business conducted there, much to their dismay. Part of it, honesly, is respect. But largely, it's what's called Operational Security to the army. I can bitch about stuff, but as long as nobody outside the company knows what I'm talking about, it can't hurt them, and they can't hurt me.
If I say, "Gee, this company is run by a bunch of f'n morons and they're about to make a very bad decision", that's ranting. If I say "I'm a VP of IBM, and something's about to happen that will cause our stock to plummet", that's a liability, and, honestly, grounds for termination.
Frankly, I don't understand people that write bad things about a company, using both their name and the company name, especially on company time, and don't expect to be fired for it. If you're working for me, I'd fire you.
Beyond that, writing under your real name becomes a part of your resume, especially if you are a somewhat popular blogger. If there is anybody out there that you don't want reading your rants, be it a current or potential employer, a friend, or your dog, don't put your name to it in pixels. Because it will turn up.
Same goes for college: I've said bad things about profs here. What if one of them googled my name? That's not brownie points. Same goes for alot of other things. I like my blog to be a place to bitch when I feel like it; every time it's intersected with my personal life, it's been a pain in the ass. If I could take back ever telling anyone I've met that I blog, I'd do it, just so when I realize I said something bad about them six months ago it wouldn't come back to bite me in the ass.
Working under cover is definatly the way do go, in my book; now if I could just think up a nom de keyboard I liked, I'd be set.
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