Friday, February 24, 2012

To Be or Not To Be...Anonymous

The other day my friend Ann Marie over at Household 6 Diva mentioned on Facebook that she was hanging out at the mall when a woman she didn't know approached her to ask if she wrote a blog.  Ann Marie was so excited to meet one of her readers, and I'm sure the woman was just as excited to meet her.  It got me thinking about how much I would love to randomly run into my readers in real life.


But in the two plus years that I've been blogging, I've never run into one of my readers.  Or at least, I don't think I have.


Because I blog anonymously, most of my readers have no idea what I look like or where I live.  I've often shopped at the commissary or sat in the waiting room at the clinic on base and wondered if I walked right by someone who reads my blog.  It's very possible.  And for now, I think the fact that no one recognizes me is a good thing.



On one hand, I think I might enjoy having people recognize me.  I'd love to sit down and chit chat with other mil spouses who read my blog and pick their brains for input.  On the other hand, there are reasons I've chosen to remain anonymous.  Privacy is one of them.  I know, I know, there's no such thing as privacy when you put your life out there on a blog for anyone to read.  But by writing under a silly name and not sharing pictures of myself or my family, I feel that I can maintain a comfortable balance between sharing my life with strangers and protecting my privacy.  Plus, anonymity gives me a little more freedom with my topics of discussion.  I highly doubt I'd share certain details about my job if my boss knew I was a blogger.



Friends have asked me if and when I'm going to "out" myself, when I'm going to shed my anonymity and let it all hang out.  I usually respond jokingly that I'll reveal my identity when I publish a book and need publicity.  But in all seriousness, I don't know if or when I'll ever blog as someone other than Wife on the Roller Coaster.  I'd like to think that my name doesn't really matter, that people read my blog because they feel they can relate to me and because they find my posts funny, touching, useful, or just simply entertaining.  And even though it means I won't be running into any of my readers at the mall and chit chatting at the food court, I think I'm going to hold on to my anonymity for awhile.


At least until I publish a book and I need the publicity.  :)



Do you blog anonymously?  If you don't, do you wish you did?  Do you relate more to bloggers who share personal details like their names or doesn't it matter?


19 comments:

  1. You made me smile today. I've had so many pseudonyms for my writing. Like you, I was thinking that under a different name I would have the freedom to write more broadly, without care for what people would think. But after 7 years, I'm just me...and in the end, that's who I am comfortable with. And I found that being me did not stifle my posts or my writing. :D

    Privacy is my only issue right now, but like you said, privacy doesn't exist anymore. I figure, I might as well have my name out there for people to recognize... when I sell a book! hahaha.

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  2. I share my name and some details on my blog, and in some ways I wish I had not. But, this all started as just a little something for my friends and family, so I never realized that a couple years later there would be several people who I've never met reading my thoughts every day. I like it because I've actually become pen pals and Facebook friends with some readers. I love how the internet can help you make friends with people you may otherwise never have met. When I'm reading other blogs, though, it doesn't matter to me if I know the person's real name or location. We can still have just as much fun getting to know each other and sharing thoughts.

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  3. lots of days i do, or at least wish i had never told my family. oh the stories i could tell. i have only had one person come up to me and say she knows who i am.

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  4. I am semi-anonymous. I don't use my last name or my husband's first name (his choice). However, I do post pictures, location, and my first name so it wouldn't be too hard to figure out who I am. I originally started it as a way to read stories about life here, and so I don't clog Facebook with pictures. However, my family doesn't read it so I have branched off into other topics. I am okay with the amount of information I have put out there. Since very few people read the blog, I am not too worried.

    I feel like I can relate to either type of blogger.

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  5. Well because I am creepy...and been on the hunt forever to figure out who you are, I finally did figure it out through pictures/comments through a mutual Facebook friends. OMG I AM CRAZY!

    Anyways, some days I wish I were anonymous because I feel I could be more opinionated, but I try not to get too crazy with what I say. I'm sure things will change when we both dive into the military life more, because I want to respect Ben's privacy with his job, but for now it's okay.

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  6. I do blog without posting a ton of pics of myself or my family though I have posted some. I hope it doesn't bother my readers that I don't really get too personal but I prefer it that way. Some bloggers let everything out there while others censor more. I am a bit guarded over most of my stuff and I don't have a problem with reading other blogs that do or don't share a lot of themselves. Your name doesn't matter and what you choose to share is up to you.

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  7. We've had a similar convo in the past, you and I. Then, I said I like to have a face or a name to relate with (so, you told me your first name- no worries, your secret is still safe with me!).

    Since then, my views have changed in some way. Although, I still like haveing a face or a name to relate with, I wish I had done like you- never revealing my name, image or any other somewhat personal details. I like my readers knowing who I am, but sometimes people can push the boundaries of being a reader or fan to thinking you are the best of friends to the point of them obsessing about you and cyber stalking you on FB (Lord, I only hope it's just on FB).

    I have met a couple gals that recognized me from my blog. It is nice to meet people and become friends with people who like how and what you write, and for them to tell you how much they can relate to you.

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  8. I think we all do what is comfortable for us. I think it would be pretty cool to know what you look like so *if* by chance I see you out and about I could think about saying "Hi!" ;) I probably wouldn't do it because I'm a big chicken and extremely shy "in real life." I'd probably just smile and go about my business. But I know everyone is not like that and some would not think twice about stopping you ;)

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  9. I was going to begin my blog anonymously, but then I decided I wanted to share pictures. I wanted to look back on my blog and see more than just words, I guess. And because my husband was ok with that I have outed myself. I do not post my last name or my husband's name,though.
    I like sharing my life. And because I only have like 145 followers, I really don't think I'm ever going to run into someone who recognizes me. However, I do feel a little bit of constraints when it comes to what I write. Obviously because I am not anonymous I can't ever really go too deep into my feels. There are days I want rant about everything and anything, including my husband's unit. But I can't. That's when I wish I was anonymous.

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  10. Sometimes I wish I did blog anonymously but I think I just like pictures too much...lol

    So I guess I have to go to the Milblogging conference to find out who you really are? ;)

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  11. I, too, blog anonymously (I use my first name only). Often times I have felt like I am missing out on some of the camaraderie and social networking in that I don't want to link up my blog to my personal facebook or pinterest boards or anything. I guess that's just the trade-off you make. For now, I feel the same as you do though. Until this space is needed for publicity (if ever, lol), I'm keeping it wrapped up. Even then, I might still keep my current space anonymous. It's empowering in its own way.

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  12. Sometimes I wish I did... I know it would be better for privacy reasons, but really this blog is how a lot of our family and friends keep up with what's going on. I love having the account and pictures to look back on!

    I remember you were the first blogger to approach me and you knew my name and even when you said yours I had the "I have no idea who she is" look on my face until you said, "I'm Roller Coaster!" It still makes me laugh.

    And if I go to the conference (fingers tightly crossed) I totally owe you a drink this year! Silly cash onlyness.

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  13. I guess you could say I'm semi-anonymous. A casual reader might not know who I am at first glance, and I generally try and not post SoldierMan's info on the blog, which is the only reason I don't just sign my name. It's not really for me. It's for him. (He doesn't care, to be honest.) When we were outprocessing at Benning, the librarian (whom I've never met, to this day) recognized him from pictures I've posted. He thought it was *so* cool that some random person read my blog. I think he felt famous :) I have this weird (and probably false) idea that by not putting his name or our last name directly on the blog (though it is contained in things I link to, like pinterest or my outside publishing) I have a little more freedom in my choice of blog topics.

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  14. Sometimes I wish that I blogged anonymously because there are things that I could write about only with that freedom. Even without that freedom there are things that I say that I probably shouldn't.

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  15. I think as much as I would like to meet a nice person like you. I have loved your anonymity it gives you certain qualities that make you who you are. I like that you aren't being anonymous to say rude or offending things, you're doing it for privacy.

    I have thought about being anonymous before. But my personality just clashes with that because I like meeting people and letting people relate to me on a more personal level with life's experiences.

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  16. I think you are perfect just the way you are. To be honest, it is kind of refreshing JUST seeing some good old fashioned words sometimes :) I would definitely like to hear more from your views as a teacher, a runner, and a woman who I just feel like I could sit and have a glass of wine with one day. Not once have I wished for photos on this blog :)

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  17. Finding the time to keep up more than one blog is really rough. I've had more than one...too hard to keep up with them. :) Yours is great! Keep it up.

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  18. I like not being anonymous. For me, a big reason I blog is for myself to look back and see where I was, how I was feeling or thinking, and can see the pictures of myself at that time.
    I can completely understand why others choose to be anonymous though!

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  19. I am semi-anonymous, I put my first name, pics etc., out there, and if people really wanted to they could probably find me on FB as well.

    That's the one side of it.

    The other side is that my blog is very public, because it's automatically published to my FB feed, and in that manner, I am very open about it. The other side of that is that I choose to limit my FB account, and only have people on there, that I'm comfortable having read my blog.

    I don't put anything on my blog that I would be ashamed of anyone seeing, but there's a difference between that and then opening it up to random acquaintances.

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