Sunday, July 7, 2013

Should I blog anonymously?

This post may be of interest to those who are considering a blog or those who have wondered why I have chosen to remain (mostly) anonymous as the author of  First, I want to emphasize that if you choose to blog regularly, true anonymity is not likely.  A more reasonable expectation is that if you choose anonymity on your blog, your goal is more likely a moderate degree of privacy.

The most important factor when deciding whether to choose anonymity for your blog is the underlying goal of your blog.  If your goal is commercial; that is to say, if your primary goal is to make money then anonymity is likely a poor choice for you.  I include all manner of making money with a blog in this statement.  Regardless of whether your strategy is to make money through advertising or whether your goal is to make money by establishing your expertise, anonymity is a bad choice.  There is a natural contradiction between publicity and privacy.  If you want to generate traffic, you need to tell others about your blog and once you tell others about your blog, they know it is your blog...

"Oh, you blog?

"Well, yes I do."

"What's the name of your site."

"Well, I can't tell you because it's anonymous."

Furthermore, if you are trying to establish your expertise in a field such as financial adviser, legal adviser, relationship expert or other, anonymity simply does not work.  Simply ask yourself, if you were looking for money advice wouldn't you want to know who was giving the advice and what their credentials were?  It is easy to see that if a primary goal of your blog is to advertise your expertise, anonymity is not for you.

Before starting a blog, I would encourage anyone to start reading existing blogs.  (I would also recommend reading a few of those "Blogging for Dummies" type books that I have referenced in prior posts).  I have established a long reading list of blogs that I skim regularly.  A quick reflection of this reading list would suggest that about 97% of these blogs have a commercial emphasis and none are authored anonymously.  In fact, quite the opposite, most not only make sure you know who wrote the post, but also provide a smiling photo and their compelling professional credentials.  Of those 3%, that are not primarily commercial I do notice that there is some attention given to anonymity.  Typically, this is not true anonymity as I have pointed out in my opening, but rather use of first initial or first name only within the posts.

There are several closely aligned reasons for my choice to instill a measure of anonymity in my posts.  First, my primary goal is not commercial; instead, as the name may imply (MyTurnQuips) my blog was envisioned as a catharsis of ideas and thoughts.  Simply stated, the genesis of this blog was to be true to my thoughts and writings first and commercial interests be what they may.  Closely aligned with this goal are privacy concerns.  I believe it is entirely naive to believe that you can have an intelligent, academic discussion with anyone and everyone.  You will encounter folks in life that you just can't reason with and moreover, you will encounter some who are not only unreasonable, but down right dangerous.  As someone with a leisure blog writing goal, I simply didn't want to invite the aggravation (although, I will restate that if your goal is commercial, lively discussion may be something that you want).

A second compelling reason for my choice to implement a level of anonymity in my blog is due to the need to remain employed.  I wish my finances were such that I could spend my days dog walking, yachting and shopping, but alas I must rely on a job.  I have one of those employers who I have observed to frequently overstep.  Simply stated, sometimes my employer seems to believe that they own you both on and off the clock.  It is for this reason that I am very careful not to identify my current employer.  Certainly ideas and thoughts are an interpretation of your life's experiences and for most of us this experience includes work; however, I want to make crystal clear to everyone (employer included) that the interpretations expressed in MyTurnQuips belong to me.  Furthermore, I want to take full advantage of my First Amendment rights without the threat or coercion of an employer who may be overzealous in their reach.

Blogging is and should be an exciting endeavor.  For those of my vintage, we can recall the days where one could not dream of having an international forum at our disposal.  I enjoy watching my stats grow and enjoy seeing the diversity of the audience, including world-wide readers.  Anonymity is one choice among many to consider in the launching of a blog.

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