Friday, November 17, 2006

To Be Anonymous

I've been thinking a lot about anonymity. And the subtle difference between a pseudonym and a username - or if their really is one. What sparked all this is some back and forth between bloggers. An author, who blogs under her author name but also references her actual name made a comment about her publisher in an interview . Another blogger, who is an agent, but who blogs under an internet name ranted that complaining about your publisher was a recipe for disaster . Several others have responded wondering if the original comment merited the response it got, if this person is really an agent , and if so why her rant offers no suggestions for how she would advise this person to handle this problem, and if she is using anonymity as a cloak to shield her backlash.

Now I have no pretensions that my little blog is anything like Miss Snark's as far as readership or anything like that. But I can - clearly - see reason people might choose to operate on the internet under a different name than they use professionally. They would primarily be reasons of safety - whether personal or professional - but nonetheless they exist. Bookseller Chick - who I adore - blogs anonymously in part (I have gathered from various entries) because she started the blog as a way to vent about her job which involves run ins with customers.

And certainly in this day and age, when employers are still working out the rules about blogging, many people don't want current or prospective employers to be able to find them in an easy first pass.

So, in the end I'm not sure if it matters that Miss Snark - or anyone - uses an alternate name for her blog*. What matters is if you are willing to stand behind what you say - in life, on the net, wherever. This is not to say that you can't ever change your mind. Just that you are willing to take responsibility for your words.

*I have heard rumors she might also operate an additional blog under her actual name, which would maybe suggest that the Miss Snark side is totally for venting that she doesn't want associated with her real name, in which case, that might change the story a bit.