Over Memorial Day weekend, I…
…created a Facebook Fan Page for my blog
…personalized my Twitter profile.
…got headshots done by a professional photographer- Yea!
…ordered myself some blogger cards AND mommy cards- double Yea!
…purged my emails, which includes finally responding to various community invitations (Bloggy Boot Camp, anyone?)
…and started commenting on other people’s blogs again. (Something I’ve been really bad about doing since switching to a Blackberry. Sorry.)
After all that work to better promote my writing, I spent the following weekend trying to draw less attention to those whom I write about.
I’ve been going back and forth over the issue of using real versus online names for quite some time. Those who have been following me from the beginning know that I have gone back and forth.
When I started blogging in early 2007 I used my initials and referred to everyone else in the possessive. My hubby. My son. My mother-in-law…. My blog was a place where I vented. Also, I was new to blogging, so it made sense to hide my identity.
Once we moved to London, my blogging became a way to keep in touch with friends and family back home. It was freeing to use our real names. Not unlikely, that is when my passion for writing took off. I eventually shut down my first blog and launched this one in its place.
Part resume, part calling card, transparency best suited me anyway. Where it had once made sense to hide my identity, it was much more fun and profitable to allow it to be an extension of me.
Last weekend, I went through some favorite blogs to gather some consensus. I wondered who’s using real names and who’s using pseudonyms and, of those so good enough to write about it, WHY.
Then, I reached out to my community and received a variety of responses across a variety of networks. Here’s what I learned, in summary:
1. The names don’t matter, so long as they’re not off-putting, annoying, or cutesy. (Subjective)
2. Stalkers, crazies, and p*rn0graph3rs are everywhere.
3. Online privacy is a myth! What’s the harm in using real names. Dooce does it. We all should be more like Dooce.
4. Fake names = Fake person. Blech!
5. We’re all one Google search away from getting fired, disinherited, and disowned
6. “… as if anyone would care that much about YOU. Gawd. You’re so narcissistic. You probably tweeted what you had for breakfast today. Didn’t you?”
7. Blogging 101: Let’s start by NOT posting your home addresses for all the stalkers, crazies, and p*rn0graph3rs to see. (Someone I know IRL actually does this on the same blog where she posts photos and real names. Yikes.)
8. Started blogging as a hobby or way to update long-distance family and friends and never planned to make it big, big, BIG. You wish you had never used the kids’ real names in the first place, but switching now would be DISHONEST to your hundreds and thousands of readers and millions of Facebook fans. Oh well. Whatcha gonna do?
There. Are you convinced?
Ultimately, I chose to protect my kids’ privacy.
While my writing is all my own, the stories I tell are not. They belong to my family. I rarely talk about anything too personal or uncomfortable. I’m not that kind of person in real life either. The things I would only divulge over martinis with my best girl friends will not be found here.
Still, I don’t know that my blog is necessarily something my children will want associated with them in the future. Unlike my husband who censors reads every post, my children have no say in what I write.
It probably seems dishonest to change things after over two years of blogging. People who have been following me already know my kids’ names. So be it.
Moving forward, I am going to let my children create their own online personas… age-appropriately, of course.
I asked for my son’s input on his online name and he was adamant that it be “Monk-a-moo”. Yeah… I decided to just go with Scout from here on out. It’s adorable, but not to cutesy. It’s timeless, adventurous, and brave.
My daughter will go by Lou. It’s her nickname in real life and it’s sort of… I don’t know… fits! It’s short and sweet just like her.
I plan to continue posting photos, but hopefully my kids (and their unique first names) won’t be one Google search away from all of their potty training stories being revealed to their entire graduating class. It will at least take two or three.
Online versus real names. Which do you prefer? If you’ve written about you reasoning on your blog, post a link here. I’d love to read it!
In term of promotion, what other things do you do to get your name- real, fake, or otherwise- out there? Do have a fan page for your blog? Are you part of any networks? If so, link to it here too so I can fan/follow you.