Gas station without pumps

2010 December 27

Privacy of bloggers

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 08:42
Tags: ,

zshiner asked about using real names on blogs.

I made the choice to use my real name… now I am second guessing that decision.  It isn’t as though it was kept a secret; I’m sure anyone in the least bit internet savvy could figure out all they want to know about me.  In rereading my posts I even realized that I started day one  by writing my first and last name.  The difference is that now it is so accessible.  And it’s not just the name thing that worries me; the last thing I want to do is have something I say blow up in my face and ban me from doing the job that I love.

There are (at least) 3 approaches:

  1. Use your real name and treat the blog as professional publication that you always want associated with you.
  2. Use a pseudonym and an email address that exists only for the purpose of the blog. Never mention anything that could be used to figure out exactly who you are. Don’t tell anyone in real life about the blog. You can say what you want on such a blog.
  3. Use a pseudonym, but don’t worry about your name leaking. You still have to be careful what you say, but it is clear(er) that what you say is not something you feel represents you professionally.

I’ve chosen option 3.  Many (maybe even most) of the readers of my blog have been directed to it by me using my real name, and those who’ve come across it otherwise could probably figure out who I am in a few minutes. So, my identity is not secret, but the use of the pseudonym makes it clear that I am not speaking in any sort of official capacity for my institution.  For me, this is good enough.

I have no intention of saying things on this blog that I would not say directly to people, so I don’t really need anonymity, but I also want it to be clear that these are personal reflections that should not be taken as official pronouncements of any sort.  The thoughts I put down in this blog are ones I wanted to share, but are not necessarily ones I believe in strongly.  In some cases I put out ideas that I would like torn apart, so that I can rebuild more sensible beliefs.

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