Meme of Pseudonymity

Nabbed from jo(e):

Is your blogging persona more serious than your real life persona? Hell, no. More the opposite, I’d say. Online, I rant, I snark, I snipe and only occasionally do I tackle something serious here on my blog: usually only to do with politics oracademics, although I can turn serious on other topics.

Do you think the only safe way an academic can write publicly is to write anonymously? That’s a straw horse — we see a number of academic blogs that are clearly attributed. And I didn’t even start blogging until I was tenured, so I can’t say that I blog pseudonymously from fear. However, I think that a mixed focus blog (parenting, recreation, politics, academics) would dilute my professional impact were it too closely associated with my academic name. As it is, I’m sure that more than one colleaugue would think that if I have this much time to blog, I should publish more.

Do you think that your blog could ruin your career? No, since I have tenure. All I worry is that someone could run across postings here in my blog and take them out of context regarding situations at work. We all know how much easier it is to misread tone online.

Do you use a pseudonym out of fear? No. See above re: tenure.

What is the biggest drawback to writing pseudonymously? Probably being unable to take credit for online work that closely relates to my academic interest (though I hedge my bets and reveal my identity in a few situations where I want to be taken seriously and cite the work in my annual report).

Has anyone stumbled on your blog and found it accidentally? Last spring, a student dropped by and mentioned he’d found my blog. I can only assume that was through something dropped by our secretary who’s had my domain email address for forever. I know several colleagues come by here. My entire family also has the address since I use the blog to share pictures of the kids. And I’ve tracked IPs to let me know that a few old acquaintances have lurked here on occasion.

Have you outed yourself to any other bloggers? Yes, though I’ve yet to meet anybody face-to-face solely based upon my blogging contacts (but I have many online acquaintances who’ve translated over into real life thanks to previous online connections). Basically, if you email me and ask, I’ll let you into my little world. It’s not that sturdy a pseudonym, in any case.

Has your blog allowed you to experiment with writing? Somewhat. Not much stylistically, but, then, I’m not a scholar of literature or creative writing. I’ve experimented in other ways: chronicling online gaming and participating in an online symposium.

Why do you use a pseudonym? It’s my name just as much as the name under which I teach and publish, my legal name or the name I answer to when talking to people at the girls’ schools. We all have different personae we adopt in different situations: we just don’t all admit to that. (Am I dating myself when I start thinking of Billy Joel’s “The Stranger”. I guess I am.) I’m just making that a bit more clear when I sign off under a different name. Anyway, I like my pseudonym. It’s been my internet identity for more than ten years now and it was a name that I answered to in the SCA for years before that. I was “Ancarett’ in Everquest. I was “Ancarett” at iVillage. I am still “Ancarett” in pretty much any online space I inhabit.

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