Saturday, November 29, 2008

She Don't Keep No Secrets

My clever friend Jazzy has posted an interview with me on her blog, about blogging, including sharing personal information online. It's long. It is looong. Memo to self - employ internal editor.

"As a writer it was never really an option for me to blog anonymously, since my blog is an extension of my professional identity. I knew from the outset that I wanted my blog to have a strong visual element and be personal rather than an ‘expert’ blog, which is why I post pictures of the girls and my home, among other things."

But enough about me, I'm curious to hear from what do you think about me? Ha ha. Seriously though, I know some of you blog anonymously and some are more open - have you changed your methods at all? How did you decide what your boundaries were? If you do blog anonymously, have you ever been outed?

When you've finished reading it, go and do Jazz's new creative challenge, deadline Sunday 21st December. You can win prizes AND help raise money and awareness for a fantastic, inspiring cause. What could be wrong with that? I love, by the way, that Jazz's generosity has another level, inspiring people to think and act creatively. Everyone needs a little nudge along in that direction once in a while.


  1. Penni I tried to cut it down. I did. But there was so much good stuff, I just couldn't! :)

    Thanks for sharing your insights, and about the creative challenge :)

  2. I am in a bit of a quandry about this one. I'm only a new blogger and I don't really want my 'fun' blog to cross over too much into my professional/Academic life. So, I use my first name only at this stage. But if anyone was really keen to track me it would be very easy as I list my full name on a publicly searchable ID, I've mentioned my name in posts, I link to photos with my name on them and so on.

    My 'fun' blog started out really just a place to write about my all things France obsession. At the moment I really only connect with other Francophiles there and it really has nothing much to do with my other life.

    A week back I started another blog to cover writing and 'the rest' and thought I would put my full name on that one. Trouble is, I actually don't feel that inspired about that one at all. It just isn't a good 'fit' so far.

    I'm now thinking I may just see what happens with the France blog, write a bit more general stuff there. I've had email from people (mostly in France)who say they've liked the little snippets of my Australian life I give away. Maybe I will let it grow a bit more organically.

    lol- and you said you talk too much! I've just used as a sort of silent therapist. I babled a lot without saying much. Right now I am in my office on a Saturday supposedly to work! Nothing like reading about the workings of the imagination to kill it (the imagination)

  3. Anonymous9:31 PM

    My full name is on my blog, as you say, my writing is part of me professionally no matter what I'm writing about. Even though I'm not "a writer" or "an author", it's a big component of my professional identity, so I want credit for what I've written.

    Given that I've got my full name on the blog, I am careful about what I publish, there's nothing that would be humiliating if it were found by an employer, for example. I don't write anything specific about places I work because it's too easy then to slip up and mention something confidential.

    My general rule is that I only write things I'd be prepared to say to a stranger in a pub who might turn out to be a journo. I do publish pictures of my son, but I don't use his, or my partner's, real names. Mostly because I'm conscious that my son will grow up with school friends (and not so friends) who may google him some day.

  4. Anonymous3:59 PM

    Hi Penni

    It's Michelle again, same person different account. I gave this matter far too much thought last night after waffling to you. So much so that I resurrected my old wordpress blog in order to resume what I wanted to do in the first place when I set up a public blog.

    lol- then again, I am supposed to be preparing for a big meeting to justify the last two years of my existence at uni. It is just possible I've been thinking about this stuff today in order to procrastinate some more!

  5. Innercitygarden - I love your general rule, it is much like mine. I publish no more personal info on my blog than I'd willingly blurt out to another mum at the park. And at the same time, it has to be stuff that the people most intimate to me can cope with too.

    Michelle - feel free to think out loud in my comments - I do it all the time on other people's blogs!

  6. I don't blog anonymously. I don't use last names, but anyone who knows my family can find it easily using everyone's first name.

    My kids' friends could find it in the future, but their employers couldn't.

    I am cautious about what I write about people outside our direct family, and there is probably some caution with family stuff as well, but it is less calculated.

    I am working on the theory that the signal to noise on the interweb is going to become vanishingly small in the future, and no-one will find anything I wrote...

  7. Anonymous1:13 PM

    I thought more about it too. I think I decided to blog with my real full name (although I don't particularly draw attention to it, it is there) to remind myself not to blurt too much. To remind myself that it's never really anonymous, that anonymous bloggers get caught out by people who join the dots. That said, I'm quite grateful to the anonymous bloggers who do bare all, particuarly about the harder aspects of relationships and family life.

  8. hmmm... i never considered going completely pseudonymous. mostly because part of my blog is for my family, seeing that i live so far from home. i thought it might be a way of connecting...

    strange thing is, i started writing for a different audience almost straight away. you build up a connection with the blogs you read, and the people who read you, and leave comments. so it can be quite a shock when you discover people you know in real life who read your blog but never comment.

    my full name is on my blog if you look for it but it's not obvious. in my last version of my blog it was in my url, and one of the reasons i switched was that my blog was coming up top of the list of google searches for my name. now it's not even on p. 3, even though that old blog is still there.

    yes the audience is a strange issue. i know several Australian medievalists (the ones I want to impress!) read my blog, and I sometimes worry that I appear too frivolous and go on holiday too frequently.

    so my readers are an odd collection of family and friends and colleagues and internet-friends. which definitely leads to a certain amount of self censorship.

    if i ever publish anything worth promoting i'll make my name more prominent, but for the moment i want to be a little difficult to find for the sake of my thesis examiners....

  9. I blog using my real name, because I stand firmly behind my opinions on the things I write about.

    That said, I minimise talk about work (and certainly don't mention it by name). But mostly I don't want to write about work anyway (particularly as work *is* writing).

    I started my blog as a way of overcoming writers' block, it lets me spew out all the words about something in my head so that my mind is clear to focus on my professional writing.

  10. You give great interviews! I really enjoy this exploration of blogging and anonymity and have enjoyed the comments here as well. I wrote about my views on this whole topic not so long ago. I feel particularly fraudulent when I am talking to other parents who don't know I blog and they express such horror about the concept of children's photos appearing on the web. I think about all the blogs I read and all the photos of our children on them and their fears seem so remote.