Blog under your real name, and ignore the harassment

A lot of people ask me if they should blog under a pseudonym. They ask me because I started writing under a pseudonym eight years ago, and it ended up being such a mess that I turned it into my real name. So I advise everyone to start out using their real name. Here are the reasons why:

1. Your blog could get very popular, so plan for that. Blogging takes a lot of time. If you’re going to put in the time, you may as well do it assuming that you will gain a very big readership.

Imagine you get phone calls from the New York Times and they ask for you using your pseudonym instead of your name. What do you say? Imagine you get an inquiry from someone who might hire you and you have to explain that you are not exactly the person they’re calling. Mostly, though, imagine that when you use your real name and people don’t know who you are. No one wants to hear a long-winded explanation for a name. They just want you to use a name that works. Take it from me.

2. Blogging is good for your career, if you allow it to be. Picking a topic helps you focus your career energy on the intersection of your strengths and your interests. And really, it’s hard to blog and not become an expert in your topic. You read about the topic all the time, you think about it when you think about your posts, you have conversations about it constantly via links and comments. One of the best benefits of blogging is that it’s a great education. But how can you get credit in your field for this expertise if you blog under a pseudonym?

If you’re worried about how to keep a personal blog while you have a corporate job, check out Steve Rubel at Micropersuasion. He is employed at Edelman and is sort of inventing the wheel as he goes along. He makes mistakes very publicly, and we all learn from them, and he’s a great model for making a blog and a corporate job work together. Other examples of bloggers who have personal blogs and corporate jobs are Tim Bray and Melanie Parsons Gao (both at Sun Microsystems) or the hundreds of bloggers at Microsoft.

3. Blogging is a great way to network – if you are being yourself. Blogs are one, big conversation, so your ability to meet people and make real connections with them increases geometrically through blogging. People were very unsatisfied to hear that they thought they knew me but in fact I was not giving them my real name. And people who were just getting to know me got hung up on the name issue – they couldn’t believe that I was so well known by a name that wasn’t my name. Having a pseudonym is like having a wall up between you and everyone else. It doesn’t have to be that way, but that’s usually how people perceive it when they find out.

4. Technology can make your life feel more coherent, if you plan for that. One of the great things about social media is that we can integrate our work life and personal life so well because we can work remotely and on our own time. But this sense of an integrated life is undermined with dual identities. If you always tell people you have two names then your pseudonym will start to feel fragmented and fake. And if you never tell some people and not others then you won’t remember who knows you as which name, and you will feel inauthentic.

5. A pseudonym will not protect you from sexual harassment. It’s true that women bloggers get harassed online way more than men. Kathy Sierra is an extreme and terrible example, of course, but harassment happens in not so dramatic a way every day .

Online men pick on women because they are women . For example, Mike Arrington, a highly influential technology journalist, inexplicably insulted, the topic (knitting) of a very successful web site aimed at women. And each week I receive many comments on Yahoo Finance rife with misogynist accusations about sex and intelligence that the male columnists at Yahoo Fiance do not endure nearly as often.

But is this a reason to hide? There is a 70% chance that a knowlege worker will be harassed on the job. Women are more likely to be harassed in their office than online. Does it mean women shouldn’t show up to the office? No. Women have gotten good at dealing with harassment. Probably because it’s a fact of life. It starts when we are twelve years old and a guy whistles from a car as he drives by. And it looks to me like it never ends. We cannot stop this. At lest not today.

The best we can do is not suppress ourselves behind a pseudonym as a measure of protection. Otherwise, men get all the benefits of blogging and women don’t, and we create an all-new Web 2.0 version of the gender divide.

Posted in How to blog, No image, Promoting yourself
88 comments on “Blog under your real name, and ignore the harassment
  1. Mark Polino says:

    I agree completely with your first point, unless you are fake Steve Jobs. I point to the absurdity of the exception only to prove how right your point is.

    Perhaps folks should post to newsgroups and chat rooms with their real names too. After all, they might want to be CEO of a publicly trade company one day.

    Mark

  2. Chuck Westbrook says:

    As a blog reader, I really appreciate getting to know the blog author. It helps me connect with the site and the posts.

    As a blog author, I hope to inspire a similar familiarity with my readers. It’s just good marketing, really.

    Furthermore, my name, my writing style, my opinions–none of it is for show. That way, the feedback I get can be a good source of personal growth as well.

    It must get harder to bear the slings and arrows as you become more established and they grow more frequent. Everyone wants to tease the lion in its cage, right?

    By the way, Penelope, I’m sorry that you have to deal with harassment–I’ve seen some of what you mentioned at Yahoo in the comments section. : /

    • Preeti says:

      Hello,
      although i’m 10 years old in the s/w industry, i never took to blogging…. for the past some days i’m having some random thoughts and wanted to share them with someone, I shared them with some of my coworkers and they did not respond to these as i had expected…. this fustrated me and then I thought, is it fair for me to expect them to have the same thought process as me…. then i realized that what i want is not to convince everyone that my thought is right, but to find people who think like me and would add dimensions to my thought process… that is when i decided that blogging is a good way for me.. I’m taking points from your blogs and I’ll be posting my first blog today… thank you very much for you advise.

      • Padmaja Neelati says:

        I very much agree with you Preeti . Many times I feel empty and frustrated when I don’t get people who understand my ideas and thoughts. That’s when I decided I need to start my own blog(yet to do)

  3. John Wesley says:

    I’m in complete agreement. Hiding your identity shows that you’re a) afraid of success, and b) not proud of what you’re doing.

  4. Tiffany says:

    I think an important extension of Chuck’s comments and sympathies is that putting yourself out there – your full name and your personal ideas – holds you more personally responsible for what you say and write. On your own blog, in comments, and everywhere. It also gives you more credibility and the chance to make an actual impact, versus just being mean for being mean’s sake. Nobody likes a bully.

  5. Amanda Chapel says:

    TOTALLY wrong and bad advice. Not only do you seem to ignore the true dangers both to one’s career and personal life as a result of one’s identity being on the Net today… YOU’VE GOT NO CLUE what the future brings and the possible negative ramifications. You just told how many people to go play on the highway?

    Amanda Chapel
    Managing Editor
    Strumpette

  6. Fuzzy Bunny says:

    Ha! Back in the day I wrote, shall we say, ‘feminist erotica’ for a magazine. There was no way in hell I was going to use my real name, even in these dark days pre-internet. Which was a stroke (ha! again) of good luck in that most of my work has migrated online by the publisher’s hand.

    I know this is an extreme example of using a pseudonym, but there’s nothing wrong with the practice as long as the people who matter know who you are.

  7. Tiffany says:

    Okay, I’m betting this advice is probably directed towards the aspiring professional bloggers out there. If you want to blog about getting sloshed and how much you hate your boss, don’t do it under your name. That’s common sense. But I get that not everyone knows that, so it is a good point. What you are writing about, and who you are writing to, is important to consider.

    But if you are going to write about things in your profession or field in a responsible, thoughtful way, you should have the courage to do so with your own name. Penelope personally encouraged me to do so, and I’ve been amazed at what has happened with my blog, in my research, and in my career since then. (In the past four weeks, I might add).

  8. Penelope Trunk says:

    Tiffany, thanks for clarifying. I’m not totally sure where Amanda is coming from with the admonition. But most bloggers in the adult world are doing it for their profession or for a very serious hobby. It’s too much work to do it for any other reason. Takes too much time.

    The people who are using blogs as diaries are teenage girls – not exactly my target here, but I should have made that clear.

    As adults, if you are blogging about something that is totally off the wall — like, sex tourism experiences or something — it’s beyond a question of blogging under your name. You really need to look at yourself and ask yourself why your not-work persona is so unacceptable at work and what’s wrong with your picture. Most of us will fare better in this world if who we are is acceptable in all circles we run in.

    –Penelope

  9. harihar says:

    I am just preparing to start a blog under a pseudonym. The reason is, ironically, I want to be authentic. At the same time, I want to save my job. I am not thinking if my blog grows big etc etc., the motivation right now being to ‘get it out’.

    In any case, why should it be so different from authors writing books under pseudonym? So many book authors have no problems with everything you mentioned which can very well apply to them.

    * * * * * *

    Hi. I AM an author who wrote under a pseudonym. The first link in this post is about that experience. And I found that it really stinks — for authors or for bloggers.

    Also, don’t be so sure you won’t be found out. After a year of writing under a pseudonym my company found out. What’s higher risk? Writing under your real name and editing yourself or writing under a pseudonym and not editing yourself and being found out?

    –Penelope

  10. Mr X says:

    I think blogging under your real name is appropriate if you already have a name is in the public i.e. a steve jobs, guy k., etc.. I don’t think it is wise to draw a lot of unwarranted attention to yourself online. While not a blogging story, the outcome of this story is relevant to bloggers.

    I had a friend who, several years ago, got into heated exchange on a public forum. He was naive and used his real name. As a result he 1) lost his job 2) had all his public information blasted on the internet, including his address, physical description, where he works, roommate information and more. 3) Ended up selling his house and moving cities. All because someone didn’t like what he was writing. Luckily he has a generic name and the issue doesn’t appear in a top Google result.

  11. Chuck Westbrook says:

    Most of us will fare better in this world if who we are is acceptable in all circles we run in.

    – €“Penelope

    Couldn’t agree more. In the wake of the Whole Foods CEO on Yahoo story, the issue of online identity is on my mind somewhat right now.

    This article on Monster.com makes, in my mind, another point in favor of using your real name. At least then you don’t have the illusion of anonymity. It’s easier to find someone out than one might thing (as you learned with your beach party story).

    I think the article is a good read and is relevant:
    http://monster.typepad.com/monsterblog/2007/07/on-the-web-ever.html

    PS: Last time I tried to post a link from the comments with an anchor tag to make it look prettier, it tried to link to a page on this domain. Suggestions?

  12. Amanda Chapel says:

    – "Most bloggers in the adult world are doing it for their profession or for a very serious hobby."

    And you base that on, what?

    Excuse me but even if it were true, you are also missing the forest through the trees there. The medium that is blogging is about “conversation” not “presentation.” Our professional personas are about presentation. Penelope, where do you draw the line on informal?

    Bottom line: as part of an organization, we are part of an organization. When you start to bring a lot of personal you around here, you’re outta here?

    – “You really need to look at yourself and ask yourself why your not-work persona is so unacceptable at work and what's wrong with your picture. Most of us will fare better in this world if who we are is acceptable in all circles we run in.”

    Totally naïve. Do you walk around without your clothes on? No. And if you have kids, there’s outside voices and inside voices. How you behave in front of your family, your boyfriend, your priest, the cop and a judge are all different. Why? Because our standards for judging you are NOT your standards for forgiving you.

    Again Penelope, you are giving bad advice here.

    Sincerely,

    Amanda Chapel

  13. harihar says:

    Still it escapes me.

    I have known a fair bit of writers using pseudonym and they were comfortable. Maybe because they are mainly fiction writers, and here you are talking about personal stories. Or could it be not-being-comfortable was very specific to you?

    Again, wondering how can my company find it out? Unless of course I make it obvious with facts and incidents which I have no intention of doing.

    You of course know much better but somehow I couldn’t agree with this post of yours.

  14. Jessica says:

    As usual, “Amanda Chapel” astounds me with her seemingly singular desire to piss people off. If you don’t agree with the post, which is obviously based on valuable personal experience, don’t read the blog. I’m sure that “Amanda” is just trying to get the name of her blog out there, but some of us (and I am not just speaking for myself) are sick of it.

  15. Mary says:

    Ummm–Amanda–Miss Strumpette–

    Professional advice is always an opinion. It isn’t based on scientific fact. Why do you think Mutual Funds are always followed by disclaimers? It can be bad advice or good, or dramatically WRONG but it is always the opinion of the company or individual doling it out(usually based on fuzzy math or statistics.)

    FYI–This is usually a forum for people who don’t hide behind pseudonyms. Because of that, the discourse and opinions are usually expressed intelligently and eloquently. Please don’t be responsible for trollism. The comments section of PT’s Yahoo column is for that sort of venom.

  16. Quasar9 says:

    “It starts when we are twelve years old and a guy whistles from a car as he drives by. And it looks to me like it never ends. We cannot stop this. At least not today.”

    lol – and the truth is some women miss it, when they are no longer ‘attractive’ – just as much as some attractive women who dress to kill, hate it when men comment on their looks. Of course they mean, when the wrong men comment on their looks. After all when they dress to kill, they are clearly hoping to knock someone out with their looks.

    But I’ve gone off topic, since a blog doesn’t require you to show your curves or your legs, not even your face, with so many avatars about

    There is also a different between blogging under a pseudonym, and simply using the blog ‘name’ – when surfing the blogosphere –
    simply for convenience or convenient for simplicity.

    after all many more people know the Virgin brand, than now Richard Branson (and he no longer has anything to do with Virgin Media?)

    But I do agree Penelope, it is nice to know you as Penelope Trunk with the Brazen Carrerist blog, rather than Penelope Trunk the Brazen Careerist.
    And I love the positive upbeat posts onthis blog!

  17. Bloggrrl says:

    I blog using my son’s last name because my community is conservative beyond all reason. I can’t blog honestly about my profession (teaching) under my real name, because my views are extremely unpopular around these parts. Trying to fit in for the purpose of furthering my career would cost me my soul. I did get contacted by the New York Times once about three years ago, and it wasn’t a problem at all. It turned out to be a great opportunity for me to expose problems with the educational system without getting fired.

    The Bloggrrl blog is a zany attempt at offering blogging advice, but even this blog being exposed would cost me my job due to instances of mild profanity and sexual innuendo. I am proud of it, but I don’t live in a community where this sort of humor is acceptable.

    That said, I’m working on getting the heck out of here. The repressive atmosphere doesn’t only affect what I say and do online, it affects my entire life. If I lived in a metropolitan area, I wouldn’t worry about it for a second. That said, if I had blogged under my real name while living in a more accepting community, and then moved here, I could forget about finding employment. Oops. I forgot that most people here don’t know how to use a computer. My worries are probably baseless. ;-)

    Anyway, your post makes some good points, and I think they would work for many people. Unfortunately, they don’t work for me at this point in my life.

  18. Frank Fullard says:

    On the subject of women bloggers being subject to sexual harassment, you should see the stuff we get on http://www.Irishbusinesswomen.com a virtual network that I founded primarily for Irish females taking the entrepreneurship route! The paradox of the founder being a man makes no difference, the garbage just continues to flow in our direction.
    Unfortunately.

  19. Working Girl says:

    I use my real name (Karen Burns) and my blog name (Working Girl) pretty much interchangeably. Is anyone confused? I don’t think so.

    * * * * * * *

    If you use them interchangeably then Working Girl is not a pseudonym. That’s why no one is confused :)

    –Penelope

  20. George Pasley says:

    Penelope,

    This post was right on time. I JUST started a blog because I want to eventually be seen as an expert in my career field. Hopefully I’ll have a lot of success because of it. Keep up the good work.

  21. Working Girl says:

    Heh, heh. You’re right.

  22. David Dworin says:

    I think this is great advice. I’ve found that potential clients and employers almost always Google me, and having them find my blog is like giving them an extra sample of my capabilities and interests.

    My only addition to what you have is that blogging under a real name can also be limiting. There are things I’d love to post – about my social life, crazy stories about clients, frustrations with work – that readers would probably find more interesting than my real blog, but that simply wouldn’t fly from a professional perspective.

  23. Andrey says:

    I agree, but in some cases a person is ashamed of the real name or doesn’t want to use it because of awkwardness or does want to change it by other reasons.

    I know many examples, when people were very popular writers, well known and recognized in the world, who once became popular under pen-names, and even having revealed real names, wrote under made-up ones on .

    Take, for example, George Sand (Amandine Dupin) or Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) who were very comfortable with pen-names, as many others – check it at http://www.didyouknow.cd/people/realwriters.htm

    I think they were happy because of their pen-names, which made them so popular! On the other hand, any author writing under a pen-name may fix the situation by simply putting a real one in his ‘About me’ info. So, there is no reason not to us a pen-name and no harm to personal popularity or networking or Googling someone.

    * * ** * * *

    Those are interesting examples to think about because the world was so different then that a woman pretentding to be a man was an effective way to sell a book. Today, Geoge Sand would be way too famous to be able to successfully hide behind that name. There is too much transparency today — information is must easier to find and spread today.

    -Penelope

  24. Richard says:

    If you really want to blog using your first person experiences, then why not created a branded blog. For example, create a unique name or theme write under a pseudonym.

    The advantages is that if it takes off you will have a recognizable brand and your identity is protected. This gives you the ability to still be known and have control over who you expose your identiy to.

    Opening your identity for the world to see is a dangerous thing to do.

  25. Daniel Dessinger says:

    Interesting post. I agree with you (shocking, isn’t it?!?!?!) on the pseudonym thing. I started off using a nickname (DanielthePoet) because I thought that anonymity bred freedom of expression. Unfortunately, I’ve lost a lot of credit now because I have referenced myself too often with that name.

    Blogging is an excellent way to network! Good point. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be in frequent comment conversations with you!

    Also, I have to agree with you on your last point. Women shouldn’t give in to pseudonyms strictly based on the harassment issue. While I am a man, I don’t take credit for the more seedy characteristics of men. Give yourselves the freedom to express your thoughts, beliefs, and ideas!

    Take the stance of the United States (official stance, anyway): Do not negotiate with terrorists, whether physical or emotional. Don’t give any ground. It’s the only way to be.

  26. Daniel Dessinger says:

    FYI, Penelope, brief online research of Amanda Chapel (or whatever his real name is) reveals that this blogger has no professional record previous to this strumpette blog.

    This person has been picking famous people to fight with since he/she got started.

    In fact, he/she emailed me shortly after I made my last comment to ask if I was on medication. My first reaction was, “Maybe this is one of Penelope’s quirky friends!” only to discover that this is a pseudonymed blogger posing as a hot PR specialist who is also heavily playing the sex card in order to elicit popularity and interest.

    This person is looking to make a name for themselves by following a classic recommendation made in Copyblogger.com and Stuntdubl.com and probably countless other professional blogs: pick leaders in the industry and start a controversy with them to gain popularity/notoriety.

    A quick Compete.com search revealed that this “amazing” blogger has approximately 1/10 the monthly visits that either you or I get.

    So no worries if he/she disagrees with you. But don’t let that go to your head either! ;)

  27. Shaine says:

    Great post. I am subscribing to your RSS as I am trying to use my blog to change careers. Thanks.

  28. Eliza Amos says:

    I’m all for networking and self-marketing, but the types of things people typically share in their blogs are a little too candid for full, balls-out disclosure. And I think companies are very agressively, very fearfully cracking down. This is excerpted from a recent issue of Workforce Management magazine:

    “Employee misuse of e-mail, blogs, message boards and media-sharing Web sites posed a significant security risk for publicly traded U.S. companies last year, with 31.8 percent investigating a suspected violation of privacy or data protection regulations, according to a new survey.

    …More than 19 percent of the companies disciplined employees for violating blog or message board policies, and more than 9 percent fired employees for such infractions.

    Robert Scott, a partner at Scott & Scott, a Dallas-based IT compliance and management firm, said the ramifications of leaks of important data on blogs and message boards can be devastating. Scott said a company's brand could be irreparably damaged if trade secrets fall into the hands of competitors.

    … Scott also emphasized that blogs are here to stay, so companies need to monitor them vigorously. In addition to leaking sensitive information, employees making disparaging remarks about competitors or using blogs for sexually explicit or offensive material can also lead to liability and lawsuits.

    ‘It's a matter of enforcement and compliance,’ Scott noted, “because the individual employees may not be aware or may be intentionally disregarding [policies].’ “

  29. blogger says:

    Amanda,

    I don’t think you’re being a troll, but I don’t think you’re being specific enough as to why you think this is bad advice.

    I am someone who once ran a web site – which would be called a ‘blog’ today – under my own name, and became a semi-public figure. It was a disaster. I’m a writer, so I’ve maintained a low-key online presence since then. Even then, I can still draw ire because I insulted someone’s favorite song 10 years ago.

    Many years later, I have another web project which has been kept deliberately anonymous – but I have been thinking lately that I *hate* that it’s anonymous. That I want it linked to my name. I’d still keep the brand I’d created, but I wouldn’t hide who I was and what my background was. But, yet, I am worried – not about employers, but about morons following me from a previous life.

    And I am also worried about employers, but at this point, if someone doesn’t want to hire me because I used the F word in a concert review about, say, Patti Smith, then it’s probably not a place I want to work anyway.

    So I would genuinely like to hear why Amanda thinks it’s horrible advice.

  30. Joe Flood says:

    The advantage of blogging under your name is making yourself more findable under Google, as an earlier commenter stated. This is really advantageous if you’re looking for work. After all, what’s the first thing we do when we meet someone new? We Google them.

    The disadvantage of blogging under your own name is that, if you’re a sensible person, you’re probably engaging in some form of mild self-censorship. After all, you don’t want anything too negative, snarky or obscenity-laden to be found by a future employer, friend or spouse.

    If you want to build your own brand online, then use your real name. If you believe in total honesty, then use a pseudonym.

  31. Shaine says:

    If you have a bad history from blogging under your own name, I think that you can do more blogging and bury your old stuff under all the new content. In addition, having newer, better posts can show that you have “matured” as a blogger and no longer engage in that sort of writing. Otherwise, when you get Googled, only your older, ugly stuff will come up. Just a thought.

    * * * * * *
    Great point, Shaine. This is a great way to think about moving past older stuff online. We all change throughout our lives, we’re all going to have old stuff laying around.

    -Penelope

    • Mimi Conflicted says:

      HI Penelope, I’ve just started a blog that has a very controversial theme. Swingers in Suburbia. I would feel less of a need to protect my identity if I didn’t have kids. For someone like me, what would you recommend. I can’t imagine anything less than total anonomity.

  32. Jillian says:

    Wow, such hate from “Amanda Chapel.”

    Personally, I don’t think what you said is bad advice at all. Of course, I would never recommend that a teenager or someone blogging an insider’s view of the porn industry use their real name, nor would I suggest transparency to a Saudi blogger, but when it comes to the vast majority of us, blogging under our real names makes sense. I’ve been doing it for about a year and have scored several other writing assignments because of it – And since I had already published a book before I started blogging (on the same topic as my blog), I found that using my name garnered more hits.

    Good advice yet again!

  33. Andrey says:

    Today, on July 27, 2007 I’ve noticed that many people sign up with their full names under commennts in your Blog.

    It seems your advice has made it!

  34. Recruiting Animal says:

    You know, you’ve got a nice real name but Penelope Trunk is more distinctive (weird) and maybe that’s a good thing. And anyone who won’t speak to a writer who has a pen name is an idiot.

  35. Paula G says:

    I’ve also felt that medium of a blog lends itself to being authentic. Isn’t the point to get to know the blogger? When I got to a blog and find myself interested in what is being written but then look under the “about” and see a pseudonym I feel duped which doesn’t bode well for the know-like-trust factor, espcially for a business blogger.

  36. MCW says:

    >>>The people who are using blogs as diaries are teenage girls – not exactly my target here>>ask yourself why your not-work persona is so unacceptable at work and what's wrong with your picture>>Most of us will fare better in this world if who we are is acceptable in all circles we run in.

  37. MCW says:

    Weird, my first post got truncated. Well, try, try again. If this doubles up, feel free to delete one.

    Well, I gotta disagree with all 3 of those (above) statements. Just me, YMMV. :-)

    I agree with you that a quote-unquote professional blogger who’s aiming for a broader audience should have their real name attached — because what’s the point otherwise? Hey Google, here I am, in all my glory!

    But online diaries? Not just for teenage girls, thank you very much LOL, and yeah, lots of us use pseuds there. I’m 41 and have a LiveJournal that’s my online diary; I have an “LJ friends” circle of ~80 people (almost all women), and there are mucho more thousands o’ folks on LJ that I don’t know.

    In the real world, if I want to have a private conversation, I stay away from passersby and I keep my voice down; when I use my LJ to have my private conversations, I use a pseud, I lock entries, and I turn off spiders — as do 99% of the people I’m familiar with on LJ.

    Most human beings like having some things private; ask any teenager. ;-) It’s part of personhood and individuation and control over one’s life. Basic human psychology didn’t change just because the internet came along.

    You/Penelope seem to be at one extreme in terms of your willingness to post on your professional blog about your personal life — and hey, go for it — but IME the vast majority of people aren’t willing to be as broadly open as you are.

    (Note that every time you do write about your marriage, many posters freak out and fuss at you. Because of course you’re violating a privacy behavioral norm that many/most people feel strongly about. IMO it’s your blog and you can do what you want here, but some readers clearly feel the need to file their objections with you.)

    Wanting to maintain a certain amount of control and discrimination over which pieces of one’s life are known by whom, seems pretty normal and human to me. And wagging a finger at people who *aren’t* willing to be fully exposed (online or off) — in all of their opinions and life experiences, with all audiences — seems unrealistic and judgmental, IME.

    Hey, for folks that prefer to go nudist and au naturel before all comers, let ’em. I personally will keep my clothes on in public, and I will chose who gets to join me when I take them off in private. :-P

    – Mary

    * * * * * * * * *
    Mary, thank you for brining up the other side of the coin — the private journaling.

    In my mind, if you are writing intimate thoughts about your days, and your intention is not to go public with it, then there is not really an issue of is it under your real name or not becuase you are not trying to attract a wider audience than your friends. I think the issue is when you are investing a lot of time in the blog in order to gain a wide audience. So often it’s in an area that could help your professionally. That’s when it’s an issue if it is under your own name.

    –Penelope

  38. Tarek says:

    Let’s say you’re the owner of an early stage high tech company and you blog under your real name on subject such as politics or the religion that you happens to practice.

    Are you sure that potential customers who perform a google search on your real name and then find out your political or religious views & opinions, that it will sure hit you in the back and could have an impact on your sales (in case you sell online)

    * * * * *
    This is a great example. Thanks for brining it up.

    Each of us has many interests and many facets to our personality. We each choose, every day of our lives, to bring up some facets of our personality and to downplay others. When you go to your grandma’s house you don’t talk about sex even though it’s part of your personality. You do this intuitively. Blogging is like this. You don’t need to express every aspect of your personality in a blog. Just the part that makes the most sense for that situation.

    For some people, religion is so strong in their life they cannot separate it from their work. And that is how their worklife will have to be — look at Sky Dayton at Earthlink. Scientology was a very big part of his startup life.

    –Penelope

  39. Michael says:

    I read this blog post five months ago and I guess you could say it stuck with me. I’ve set up a blog under my own name as a way of documenting and publishing what I know and learn. These days, a potential employer holding your resume will more likely than not check out your web site and Google you to see what they can find out. I would rather have some good, solid content out there than none at all.

  40. Steven says:

    Ms Trunk what of ID theft should a writer/blogger concern themselves over such in using their real first and last name?
    I do agree with you however on the idea well what if the blog becomes a hit you would want your real name attached,least most would.

    thanks
    Steven

  41. Thom Hart says:

    If you are going to blog, or post anything online, in my view, use your own, real name. I can’t stomach people who feel free to write comments, or opinions, or worse are ignorant enough to libel people with jackass terms under fake IDs, it’s always the fake IDs that do such things, or worse sit on online sites editing information pretending they are important. It’s simple cowardice, and insecurity, if not just plain stupidity. If these idiots trip up under their fake ID and do libel someone? They courts will come down all the more harder on them. Poeple who post with their real names post honestly. They are not ususally the people who feel the need to hide. Anyone who has to use a fake ID to do their talking, is just that, a fake. It’s pathetic and sad when someone has to hide under a fake anything. Get real. Post real or just don’t post at all

  42. Krishna says:

    Your advice is spot on. It just gets too complicated trying to build an “alternate” persona for the internet and in most cases, things “leak” between your identities anyways.

    Its way better to accept the fact that if you are publishing online, keep things simple and go with your own name.

  43. Kathryn Cramer says:

    Great post. I have linked to it from the sidebar of my blog in the box about my blogging philosophy.

  44. Christine says:

    I want to start a blog. I think a big part of it will be about dealing with depression. I’m worried that if I have to start a job search that will hurt me. If a company had a choice not to hire someone with mental health problems wouldn’t they take it?

  45. OriestBlearie says:

    Как обычно хорошая новость на полезном блоге – blog.penelopetrunk.com !! Вы давно в закладках

  46. Michael says:

    very good post, good advice

  47. Paul Spencer says:

    Just starting a blog for a newAccountancy venture.
    Thanks for spelling this stuff out simply…..that makes all the difference..!!

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