A rose by any other name…
What’s in a name?
Does it really matter if you don’t use your real name when writing your blog? It’s a question a new blogger asked of me awhile back. She was uncertain how much of herself she wanted to put into her new blog. There is no easy black and white answer.
I would say in most cases I would advise using your REAL name, but there are some circumstances where using a pseudonym might make some sense. Here are three reasons to for faking it and three reasons to keep it real:
REASONS TO USE A FAKE NAME:
1) It’s best for your career – Money talks. You might have a desire to share your thoughts and words all over the internet. But certain employers will look down up employees who are “out there” online with opinions that might alienate potential clients and customers. If you still have the desire to write a blog, a pen name isn’t a bad choice. But you run the risk of being found out either by the boss or those clients you might be offending. Will your employer be angry if he/she finds out?
2) A Loss of Privacy – Some people have a lower degree of tolerance for the world knowing their business. Social media doesn’t hide much and a pseudonym gives you some protection from trolls and people who could steal your identity.
3) Freedom – With anonymity comes freedom. Don’t believe me? Just look at any online comment thread. People are pretty free with their thoughts when they don’t have to tell people who they are. Would some people actually say what they’re saying if they were forced to leave their real names? Would you be so quick to criticize a local anchorwoman on her haircut, if you had to leave your name on that comment? Probably not. Blogging isn’t much different. If you’re a shy person, and can only be free to write if it’s under a made up name, it’s not a bad choice.
REASONS TO USE YOUR REAL NAME:
1) Credibility: If people know the person behind the words, those words often hold more weight. If I know that Jeff Tiedeman is Chef Jeff, I’m more likely to pay attention to his cooking blog. I know I can trust that content because I know trust and respect the person writing it. In a way, your name becomes your brand. It is valuable.
2) Responsibility: There’s something about standing behind your words. What you say may or may not be popular, but you’re putting it out there. History was not written by anonymous writers. Have faith in what you say. If people, disagree so be it. As Dr. Suess once said, ““Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Trust in yourself. If people disagree it’s not the end of the world.
3) Promotion: The promotional benefits of writing a blog reach far and wide. Talk to any Areavoices blogger writing on behalf of their business. They’ll tell you, it’s a great place to share what you know about a subject. While you’re not overtly advertising your business, you’re setting up a reputation as an expert in a given field. That goes a long way.
In the end, do what you think is right. The best part of online writing is you can always change your mind if you decide you made the wrong choice.