Anonymity and Pseudonyms Amongst Bloggers

Yeah… that’s me!

*cough* anyway, I’m actually going to write something that makes sense today.

Anonymity amongst bloggers is an interesting thing, it’s something that I started thinking about last night in the shower (why am I telling people that?) and decided that I should explore.

I think that blogging offers something that a lot of other media outlets don’t- the chance to be famous and at the same time completely anonymous. People can write what they like and not have to associate themselves with it- now, that sounds kind of worrying, but what I’m actually talking about is not people spouting hate or unpopular opinions but people talking about difficult, personal things that they would otherwise keep to themselves.

I think that anonymity in blogging allows people to take their masks off and speak honestly and openly about things that they’ve kept secret for a long time. It’s a wonderfully freeing experience and allowed me to start taking the same approach in real life.

People feel braver when they know they aren’t going to face any consequences for their actions, when they know that they can talk about something horrible and not make the people that they love hurt. I think that’s a massive reason why people do things like go into therapy, write to agony aunts or start blogs.

There’s an aspect of distancing yourself as well, you can be someone else online- you can smooth over any awkwardness that you have in real life, gloss over things you don’t want to talk about. If you feel angry about something or someone you can sit and spew hatred and say awful things about them without them ever knowing. You could rip them apart in a post and be lovely to them in real life… and they would never know.

Distancing yourself also helps when you’re writing about awful things- it makes it feel like you were an observer, instead of it actually happening to you, which sometimes makes it easier to revisit and write about. You can stand back and think- ‘yeah, that happened to me as ‘X’ not me as me’ with a different name you’re a different person, a stronger person. You can be who you want to be- not who you’ve been your whole life.

Names can also carry burdens; think about when you’ve sat in a classroom and someone has said someone elses name and the whole class has had a collective groan, just the sound of the name makes everyone react with disappointment and annoyance. Choosing a new name can be like washing away years of abuse and false impressions. You can be who you want to be, not what people have made you into.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this because in planning a little vintage fashion photo-shoot I’ve realised that I might have to show my face… or cut off all the photos at my neck… or cleverly cover my face with something (I’m looking for a fan or something cool) I don’t like doing this. Partly because I want to show you all my era appropriate hair and make-up and partly because I always feel rude when I hide my face in things. I feel like I’m standing talking to you with my hands covering my face… which would just be weird.

Some bloggers hide their identity and the identities of the people that they talk about with fervor, they use pseudonyms everywhere and barely reveal what country they live in.

I understand why they do that, but for some reason or other I don’t… this wasn’t a conscious decision, I just felt a little silly hiding where I lived and coming up with pseudonyms for everyone I knew… so I haven’t (for the most part)

A little alarm bell is ringing in my head, telling me that I shouldn’t be giving so much away… but at the end of the day I don’t think I mind. The chances of anyone I know stumbling across this blog are so tiny that they barely matter (I think I have more chance of winning the lottery) and if they did they’d work out it was me even with pseudonyms.

But I still use false names sometimes- and you’ll notice that when I do use names they’re used rarely. I think I’ve only named Claire, Jess, Callum, Michael and Joe- my closest friends- I know a hell of a lot more people than that but won’t use their names.

So why do I even try to hide?

Because at the end of the day I wouldn’t be able to sleep comfortably if I knew that I’d posted such intimate things on the internet with my real (name-on-my-birth-certificate real) name and my face attached (though the latter may change soon :P)

Oh yeah… *laughs awkwardly* Rhoswen Saille isn’t my real name, it is the name I go by in a lot of circles though, so it’s more of an alternate name or official pseudonym than just a made up name. Wren is nickname given to me by both the people who know me as Rhoswen and the people who know me as ……… haha, I actually wrote my real name then! Oh dear 🙂

The stuff I post here can be (when I’m not twittering on about random things in my daily life) personal, raw and come from a place that I locked away a long time ago. If I used my real name I think it’d feel a bit too much like I was posting it on Facebook… I know that it’s different, that on Facebook all my friends would be able to see whereas if I wrote a blog under my real name they wouldn’t, they wouldn’t go out of their way to search for me.

You may or may not be seeing my face sometime soon- I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s fairly pleasant- but you won’t be learning my name. I want to keep this blog honest, and if I use my real name I’ll have to face the fact that people who know me in real life might be able to find it (or the other way around…) and that would make me censor myself too much.

If you saw me in the street/knew me in real life, what would you notice?

Well, the most obvious thing is that I’m tiny- 5ft 1″ (and 1/4!)- slim, pale skinned… I have crazy brown hair and crooked teeth and scary eyes. I have a very dark sense of humour but can and will laugh at almost anything. I’m a compulsive, obsessive worrier, and am very confident- I like to natter on to strangers like I’ve known them for years- I LOVE music and dresses and hate wearing trousers and am fiercely independent and surprisingly strong… and most of all… I’m quite nice 🙂 I always want to make people smile.

So there you have it- and I hope it’s given you something to think about. Feel free to comment or email me with any thoughts you have on the subject- I think I’ve covered everything that came to me last night but if you can think about something that you want to post about or talk to me about then go ahead!

Spread the love 🙂

Wren x

NOTE: I’ve managed to spell the word ‘pseudonym’ five different ways in this post… literally every time I came to write it I just spelt it a different way… *sigh* hopefully spellcheck will save me.


3 thoughts on “Anonymity and Pseudonyms Amongst Bloggers

  1. Great post. I think you have it spot on. If I used my real name, I would be so scared of someone I know reading it as well. Well depending who they were! Some close friends have my blog address but for the people that I have perhaps taken a dislike to and written about such as the doctor and one of the nurses, that is why I keep my anonyminity. (I know I’ve spelt that wrong :/)

  2. Awesome post! I wish I was anonymous! In fact I tried to transfer my blog after I started mine and had time to reflect on what I was going to be writing about over to an anonymous blogger but I can’t figure out how to do it. Oh well what’s done is done and I am just going to have to not worry about it, one of my friends asked why would you want ANYONE to know what you have done and been through. My mother read my first blog and she didn’t really know what to think, I think she thought I was posting my raw past on a medium similar to Facebook, which clearly I am not. I don’t want my many so called ‘Friends’ from Facebook linking me to this stuff but I have also decided I am not ashamed, I am not going to feel ashamed about my actions and a past that I clearly can not change. Like you, I will sometimes talk about issues that not everyone is comfortable acknowledging but heck I’m not asking anyone to agree with my opinions or actions, I’m just sharing mine.

    • Thank you! I think it’s easier having complete strangers read it than people you know. It’s good that you’ve decided to face things and not be ashamed, that’s always really empowering. I know that I wouldn’t want my friends to read anything I’ve written on here, but then I generally don’t like people knowing about my past anyway.
      Thanks again for reading 🙂
      Wren x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s