I attended a meeting last night as a guest speaker to discuss my blog and blogger life. It was great and I loved the dialogue that happened before I spoke, during my portion, and after I sat down again. One very good question that was posed was why do bloggers write anonymously. GREAT QUESTION!! It’s interesting (and equally frustrating at times) to see someone deliver provocative content without a trace back to the author. I know audiences want to put a real name and face to the blog but that doesn’t always happen. I actually started out wanting to be anonymous as well and on some level I keep a lot of my information off of this site. I enjoy my privacy. I also have a family that I would prefer for you NOT to get to know. I’m extremely protective of them (I don’t even share their pictures on social media). However, I do at least let you know the basics on my About Me page and there are pictures of me on this blog so you can see that I am a real person. It also helps if someone wants to get in touch with me for other opportunities.
All that being said I started thinking about why some bloggers prefer to live their life behind the generic avatar and keep their identities a secret. This is the best I could think of for an answer.
- Safety– No one wants to be harassed, harmed or have their families bothered because they express their opinion. It’s also good because when you divulge a lot of your information, you raise the risk of gaining a stalker. The Internet is a very profitable tool for tracking people down. I would hate to think that I gave away enough information about my everyday whereabouts to have some creep following me around.
- Job security– Many, many bloggers have full time day jobs that keep them from being homeless and starving. People have been reprimanded and/or fired for simply ‘Like’ing a group on Facebook. These days organizations and companies have policies in place about employees expressing themselves on social media. Government agencies and For-profit businesses do not want their employees representing them in a bad light on or off the clock.
- To be totally un-PC. You know what news website I like to read? Patch.com. Why? Because of the comments. People on that site can comment anonymously and oh boy do they go HAM on the comment section. They let you know how they really feel about social and political topics. And for me I get a sense of what people are really thinking but are afraid to say because they don’t want to seem ____________ (fill in the blank). Being PC is cool but I personally don’t feel comfortable around people who can’t be themselves because they’re so busy being nice. I don’t trust folks like that (I have trust issues in general but that’s a topic for another blog). Yeah I know what you’re thinking. People can be such a$$holes. They just wanna say stupid stuff without consequences. I agree with that. Anonymity protects a$$holes but at least you can take a head count of how many a$$holes there are.
- To escape being stigmatized. I blog for one website that discuss sexual health and HIV. Some health issues are extremely political and many people won’t talk about it no matter how desperate we are for discourse. Some of the bloggers on that site are HIV positive, gay, bi-sexual, or a part of a religion where sexuality discussions can get them persecuted. We need people to talk about being HIV positive to lower stigma and get folks tested but the only way some people will talk about it is through anonymity. I’ll take that over silence.
- To let their inner ‘Sasha Fierce’ out. Beyonce had an album called Sasha Fierce a few years ago. Sasha Fierce is her alter ego; the person she feels like on the inside at times. Some bloggers use their site to live their lives as their alter ego. It’s fun to be able to take on another personality and live a double life through a blog. I am always thoroughly entertained by the bloggers who are teachers, nurses, secretaries, bus drivers, entrepreneurs, etc. by day and at night they blog the funniest stuff about bad dates, restaurants, sex, relationships, and the other topics.
There are ways to find out who bloggers are because no one is truly anonymous on the Internet. But I would like to think that people who blog incognito are helpful at times. They show the other side of life that people don’t want to admit exists.