The Perils of Being an Anonymous Blogger

Does it ever strike you as odd the breadth of imagination you find on the internet? All the blogs, the websites, even the occasional oddly-poignant Tweet or mysteriously wise comment. There’s a lot of talent to be found online. The internet is a playground, and we are its children. And a lot of us are wearing the face of anonymity.

If you’re anonymous, why? Was it necessary or not? And if you aren’t anonymous, why do you use your own name?

I’ve already mentioned why I choose to be anonymous. But sometimes I think that even if that were not true I might still be. There’s a certain freedom to the act. It’s a kind of fresh start. When you log in under a username you drop the mask of your life and wear a new one. It’s like going to work, or going to visit your relative far away. You become someone you didn’t know you were, or someone you haven’t seen in a long time. Someone greater than you thought you could be. You can express your views online in a way that it is difficult to do outside the internet, and more importantly, there will always be an audience for those views. You may not find one right away, but it’ll sure be there. Of course, there are myriad problems associated with being an anonymous blogger.

Often, you can’t tell your audience about yourself, not in entirety. Some detail is fine, but some aspects of your life you might wish to use to connect with your audience can’t be shared. Not at the risk of exposing your identity. And it can deprive you of a really good post, or of a really good comment to make on a post with which you can personally empathise.

Pictures depicting you or your private life are a big no-no. This might seem trivial to some, but of course it isn’t. A lot of readers out there like to see the face behind the words they read, or they like to see pictures the blogger has personally taken. This isn’t such a big deal on a photography blog, because those sorts of bloggers tend to get out and about, but others like me who have occasionally thought about using an original picture to go along with a personal post find it difficult. What if the background is recognised by someone we know? Perhaps it’s just our paranoia, but the issue still stands.

There’s a constant wall put between you and your readers. This isn’t always so bad. Especially when your blog is not geared towards you but a hobby, like reading or photography. However, if it’s a personal blog it’s more difficult. It’s like meeting someone in real life, having a deep conversation and yet never learning their name. And as much as you like them, you might never.

There’s the constant fear of being uncovered. A friend of mine (not a blogger, but they use a social network) had their anonymous account followed by someone who knew them in real life. This person had discovered their identity behind the wall of anonymity. Nothing malicious happened, fortunately, but there is that constant fear of discovery that follows a blogger who feels the need to be anonymous. In my fact post, I was debating with myself for some time on what to include, knowing full well that too much information could be detrimental to my anonymity.

But in spite of the detractions, there are still many benefits to blogging anonymously. Your reason behind it can actually help you connect to your readers, anonymity allows for freedom of expression and you can build bridges with other bloggers without being weighted down by your past or your life. Going online is rather like going abroad; you can build a whole new life without having to lose what makes you, you. And that keeps me going. Blogging is the wonderful new journey where I don’t have to hide myself. 😉

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I Tweet now. Yes, this is very possibly the most foolish thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never used Twitter before. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, much like beginning a blog. In the next few months I may either come to regret it or come to love it; I suppose I’ll have to wait and see. Care to see too? If you want a follow, feel free to drop a link below.

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19 thoughts on “The Perils of Being an Anonymous Blogger

  1. NicoLite Великий

    I tried to remain anonymous, until my dad commented on a few of my posts… I guess I am at fault, since I told him to join WP to reach a broader audience for his writing (yeah, he writes, too, and not bad at all…) Next thing I know he’ll be using my posts for tests in school!

    Reply
    1. dlaiden Post author

      Haha, at least it’s good that he’s supportive. 😀 I’ve always wondered what it’s like to have a family member read whatever you write on your blog. Do you steer away from sensitive topics/opinions you’ve not discussed with them, or just write it anyway?

      Reply
  2. lemoed

    I prefer to anonymous because I feel it gives me greater freedom to express myself. On the other hand, I try not to write anything on here, that would be absolutely crushing for someone IRL to know about me so that if someone does find out who I am (and it isn’t all that difficult if you know me) it is okay, too. You are right about how not knowing someone’s identity creates a little bit of a wall between you but I think it also breaks down one. A good conversation is of great value even if you never see that person again. They will always have had an impact.

    Reply
    1. dlaiden Post author

      I certainly agree about the freedom. I intended at first to follow the same principle, not revealing too much in case of anything, but now? It’s strange. Despite the huge fallout which could happen, I both do and don’t want to be identified. And yes, I suppose it does break down walls, doesn’t it? Both blogger and reader still take away something from the exchange. I know I’ve certainly learnt a lot in my couple months of blogging, even in talking to fellow anonymous bloggers. Hmm. You are very right in that respect! Thanks for the comment. 🙂

      Reply
  3. originaltitle

    I’m anonymous because I can be myself. Weird that it takes a mask to truly be free, but that is the case. I wrote about a similar topic early this week when I touched on Victorian culture which was defined by restrained. Robert Browning also shied away from publicizing his writing career and assumed many different characters for his writing, masks to hide behind. It’s happened even before blogs and it will likely continue. Thanks for sharing, I enjoy reading your posts!

    Reply
    1. dlaiden Post author

      Completely understand here. It brings a freedom of expression that’s hard to naturally find. And maybe it is because of our restrictive society? Hmm. That’s an interesting point, I’m not sure that we’ve gone much further than Victorian times in terms of social restrictions. Some things may have changed, but many have not. Thanks for reading and commenting; I’m glad you enjoy them. 😀

      Reply
  4. livesinstone

    I’m anonymous because it makes me feel safer, even though I don’t talk about personal things. It probably wouldn’t matter much to other people if I wasn’t anonymous, but it matters to me. Blogging, for me, is sticking my toe in the ocean and seeing how the water feels. I might eventually work my way up to my ankles or knees, or jump right in and swim with my personality hanging out in the bloggy waters. I’m not there yet. Right now, I’m still getting comfy with my toe. This could change, just not yet. I agree with your points. Nice post. 🙂

    Reply
    1. dlaiden Post author

      It is definitely a great way to test the waters. Seeing where your journey leads you, how people react to little snippets and deciding whether or not to edge in further. Got to say, all of these have been great points. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
    1. dlaiden Post author

      I’m glad you could relate! 🙂 That’s an interesting position, having a couple of people knowing. Are they bloggers too or do they just read your blog?

      Reply
  5. oscarjamieson

    I don’t blog anonymously, mainly due to the fact that it wouldn’t bother me if people knew me or not.

    I think it’s important to recognise the boundary between what is said and who said it. If that is recognised, then it wouldn’t really matter who I am. And that’s a comforting thought.

    Still, good points raised! Difficult to find objective observation.

    Reply
    1. dlaiden Post author

      It is an important boundary, but of course there are always the people who like to take things out of context. Interesting reason though, non-anonymous basically because you trust your readers to have common sense. And I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Reply
  6. D.C.

    Thank you for this! Recently I almost put up a personal picture but took it down at the last minute – after an interesting internal debate. Sometimes it IS hard to be an anonymous blogger especially when you have to be one..

    Reply

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