Blogging: Real Name or Pseudonym?

masksIt’s said that each of us has at least three faces: his real one, the one that he shows to all people around and the one he thinks he possesses.

I began blogging under my real name but was I harassed and cyber stalked.   I deleted my original blog and started blogging again under a pseudonym.  After someone very close to us went through 18 months of a living hell due to identity theft, my friends and I made a pact.  We do not blog about our private lives, relationships with friends and family, or post any images of them on our blogs.

“A mask tells us more than a face.” –  Oscar Wilde.

While over 40 million people are now enjoying Plus, the still-shiny new social network created by Google, many have taken umbrage with the inability to do so using a pseudonym. I’ve witnessed a variety of accounts using pseudonyms being inactivated, as well as people with legitimate (but odd in Western terms) names fall into the no-pseudonyms trap.

According to Google’s Senior VP of Social Business Vic Gundotra, this is all about to change. Gundotra, during San Francisco’s Web 2.0 Summit, conceded that Google is working to include pseudonyms or nicknames in Plus, at least someday in the future. –  Google+ Relents, Says Will Support Pseudonyms

Blogging Under Your Real Name
The proponents of blogging under your real name take the position that  doing so provides:

  • a sense of responsibility for the things they blog about and publish;
  • readers a clear idea of their interests and preoccupations;
  • business and professional advantages of becoming a well known name in a chosen field.

Blogging Under a Pseudonym

The proponents of blogging under a pseudonym take the position that blogging under your real name has  led to:

There’s a new unfortunate case study (short version: “EpiGate”) showing how blogging under one’s real name can lead to serious threats and potential loss of employment, among other things. — On the value of pseudonyms.


Do you blog under your real name or under a pseudonym?

Related posts found in this blog:
How to Become a Better Blogger 5: Your Online Presence
“Me on the Web” for reputation management

89 thoughts on “Blogging: Real Name or Pseudonym?

  1. Just stumbled on this very appropriate post (have been using your site a lot in my starting out) as I just launched my blog this week and I have not listed a picture of myself nor have put too much personal information. However after reading the above posts I am a little concerned and would love to hear other comments – My blog is about family travel, so how do I maintain privacy and security without compromising the fact that I write about family travel. (would rather not put pictures of my children especially) – all 4 of us have nicknames ie Frenchie and Mr. Techno to maintain privacy – Lots of family travel blogs do put pictures but am aware that this would be risky.

    I am a complete novice and refer your site all the time but at times I still don’t get the lingo..will keep trying. Any comments about my blog are welcome too!

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  3. Hi there, have a few questions to you all:
    1. Do you actually admit that you are using a pseudonym?
    2. I guess there are no rights and wrongs, but thinking of a nom de plume, some key types occur to me. These are, regarding first and last name, respectively: i) real/fake; ii) fake/real; iii) fake/fake and iv) not person’s name, like, “The Author”, “Likeable Banker”, “Sphinx”
    3. Do you believe using a pseudonym (assuming your readers know that, hence 1. above) decreases receptiveness or interest from the part of your potential readership?
    Let me hear your thoughts.
    The Author ;-)

    • 1. I don’t think there are any people who are actually named “timethief” and I think it’s obvious that it’s a pen name. Whether or not others choose pen names that could be actual names or not and whether or not they admit they are blogging under a pseudonym is up to them.

      2. Aside from choosing a name that could be perceived as being one that’s being used to impersonate another person I’m not aware of any rights or wrongs.

      3. This blog contains practical how to information and I’m not aware of any reluctance or lack of receptiveness that my blogging under a pseudonym has had or may have had on any readers who are looking for the information my posts contain. It could be that some exists but if it does then I’m not aware of it.

  4. Hello timethief,
    Thank you for writing this post and would like to know if you have written anything about computer generated photo avatars? (I have very low tech skills) By the way, I love you photo gravatar image.

  5. Hello,

    I too use a psuedonym and have only been blogging for about a month. I am afraid in the excitement of receiving one or two comments, I may have let the cat out of the bag too soon by inviting some family members to follow. My concern is that even little mention of a family dynamic or memory could lead to big hurt feelings.

    Regretfully Semi-Revealed

    • My family members and close friends and I have an agreement. Someone close to us all experienced a living hell due to identity theft. We don’t blog about our relationships with each other and we don’t post images of each other online. Though I do have a personal blog here > this agreement works very well for me and for them too.

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  7. I love the quote by Thomas Sowell:
    “There are only two ways of telling the complete truth – anonymously and posthumously.”

    From it, the people who expose their full names do not ever write the complete truth…

    Many times and long time ago I tried to use my real name,
    it always was just a matter of time when it backfired into my face…

  8. Hi Timethief.
    When it comes to the net, I am very skeptical about releasing private information – even to a website like WordPress! You can obviously see my first name (Brad), but I use the pseudonym of Eager as my surname, purely because you can never be too safe on the internet.

  9. I prefer to blog under a Pseudonym. Although it’s not exactly rocket science for anyone to figure out my identity, I’d rather not hang it up on banners for identity thieves and other crooks’ convenience.

    If I lived in an oppressive country (which the United States is starting to look like; what with SOPA, PIPA, PROTECTIP, and the 2012 Defense Authorization Act), I would choose a pseudonym nobody could ever connect to me and change my writing style entirely. I would SSH to a VPN to Tor any time I posted anything, and would only do so over an SSL/TLS-encrypted connection after double-checking the destination IP address via tracert. All my conversations would be over WhAESper or, and I would blog at abnormal time intervals to disguise my locale.

    Sound excessive? Some people need to do this to survive. That’s why they cling to pseudonyms. They’re not cowards, they’re just not suicidal.

  10. timethief, I have read dozens of your pieces. You are a really good writer, and more than that, you share so much of your time helping people navigate the blogosphere. Your suggestions have been very helpful in my blog development, though I’m just taking baby steps so far. I did use a pseudonym, but just recently changed to my real name.

    Someday, my dream is to guest post on a site like yours.

    • Thanks for much for the positive feedback on my blog. It’s so humbling to hear you have read dozens of my posts. I visited your blog and you are doing very well. I do accept guest posts so when you are feeling ready you can contact me. :)

  11. I too struggled with this question, and decided that for my professional blog about my experiences as a college reading and writing teacher, I would create an anonymous persona. Otherwise I couldn’t write honestly about my students.

    The anonymity initially presented some challenges, mainly when I wrote content I wanted to share with my students. I resolved this by created a second, personal blog for my students.

    I also agree with the above comment about wanting to take credit for favorite posts – I do have my mom sending me rave emails, but my professional peers don’t know that the brilliant post was actually from little ol’ me!

    And, I want to chime in on the above debate about whether or not we behave better when not hiding behind the anonymous mask. I agree with both sides – I have found that living in a small town and having personalized license plates means I am a MUCH more polite driver, but since my online persona is (I am ever the optimist) going out to my professional peers I work to sound thoughtful and kind (avoiding my tetchy driver’s temper tendencies!)

    I have a page on my blog about my anonymity, and would like to add a link to this discussion – other than crediting you is there more I should do??

    Your blog has been helpful to me more times than I can count – many many thanks, and joy and peace to us all this holiday season.

  12. Very interesting post, and IMO pseudonymns for those of us not involved in online business is just “smart.” Ever since I first came online at the end of 2001, I have been cagey and downright paranoid about using my real name. For a long time I wouldn’t even shop online for fear of identity theft, etc. and this was back in the day when “identity theft” was not the household word it is now. I still feel a little weird about online shopping although for the most part I’ve been OK. Just got an email acct hacked once and had a CC problem which CS quickly cleared up for me. Anyway, today I never use my real FULL name, only occasionally give my first name only (a common one) and if it’s a forum or something where one’s true home address and phone are not important, I’ll fill in make believe info. I’ve had so many “screen names” for different uses, I’ve lost count! But they have all been used for good reasons…mainly that personal feeling of safety.

    I don’t post images of myself, family or friends on my sites either. Just my cats, and my garden… Anyone not from my neighborhood won’t know me from Eve… I have never felt comfy about writing about my personal life, either. Now I’m even more glad that I never did, and don’t intend to. There is a lot of gorgeous natural scenery in the area where I live, within walking distance (with gas prices what they are I don’t “pleasure drive” anymore), and my garden and pets at home also give me happiness. My personal life is on the dull side otherwise. I’m not a poet, either. And any gardening essays might be better presented by the horticultural experts out there… Therefore I let my photography speak for me ;) I’d rather hide behind the camera, lol.

    Just thought I’d chime in and comment on those sage words of our friend TT…

    The Wild Wandering Girl ;o)

    • Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us. I appreciate it. I also agree with you on this:

      IMO pseudonymns for those of us not involved in online business is just “smart.”

  13. I typically use a screen name of sorts. Mainly because I’m underage, and even if I did use my real name to blog, it would only be my first name. Only the people that actually know me in person know my real name, my birth date, and other info like that. I’m careful, although I do post pictures. Mainly of me or random things, but not of friends.

    • You sound like you are cautious online and that’s wise. When it comes to birthdates and people revealing that it’s their __ (fill in the number) birthday people often do this in their blogs. Best wishes with your blog.

  14. I’m a photographer. I guess you have to use your real name, when you’re in that industry. I use my first name only in my main blog. But I have other portfolios where I use my full name.

    I always get full permission before uploading a photo of a friend or weddings.

    Any advice for this type of area?

    • I don’t have any advice for you as your approach sounds very sensible to me. Porfolios require your real name and the people you photgraph give their permission so I don’t see any issues with that.

      P.S. Your photos are so gorgeous. :)

  15. “Do you blog under your real name or under a pseudonym?”

    Both. This blog (Salted), along with the medications and therapy, is probably the most important tool in my recovery. But it wouldn’t be if my family had access to it, or if I were worried about my sisters’ lives being interrupted by people they knew reading about what our father had / has done. Or about their crazy brother. Blogging anonymously is vital to my recovery. I can be as honest as I can possibly be, but at the same time still make mistakes without having to apologize over a family dinner.

    I also have two blogs where I blog under my real name. One’s a hobby / photo blog, and the other is about raising my son and some stuff about Canadian history. In a way they’re part of my recovery as well, because they offer some proof that I can still do the things I used to do.

    But blogging in the open has led to some bizarre encounters. There are people in my town / village who have found my two open blogs, so I’ve had to censor some of the things I write. It’s weird being approached my people I don’t know who think they know me.

    I do find, or I did find a few years ago, that blogging anonymously allowed my troll tendencies to come out, so that was something I had to overcome.

    In the end I think how we blog, in the open or behind a pseudonym, is up to the comfort level of the blogger. The problem is, the decisions we make in the beginning, can come back to haunt us later.

    For example, five years ago, when I first started on WP, I thought I was blogging anonymously with Salted, but after a few months I realized I was leaving behind my very real email address when I commented on other blogs.


    • @Gabriel,
      Hello there,
      Thanks so much for sharing your blogging experience here. I appreciate it. I too have experienced bizarre encounters early on in my blogging. Others I know experienced worse. Based both on their experiences and mine I deleted my first blog and almost a year later I made the choice to move to another blogging platform and start blogging again under a pseudonym.

  16. Regarding genealogy sites and personal information, I was horrified to see my full name, husband’s name, town we live in, my siblings names, father’s name, mother’s name AND her maiden name online in an obituary. All very helpful information in identity theft.

    There is a clearing house that funeral homes sell info to and then they publish it online and ask for someone to pay to keep it online. On top of that, the info was in online newspapers obituaries. It was very upsetting to get it removed.

  17. A very interesting topic, and lots of great discussion! I blog with one of my nicknames, but not my last name. I use an actual photo of myself. I do not use the real names of any of my family and friends, and I do not post photos of them.

    My blog is genuinely me, and I think people know that. But I do want to have a separation between me and my blog should I have the need to shut it down.

    • Hi there Margie,
      I hope you enjoyed your week off of blogging. :)
      It’s interesting to hear that you are on the same page as many bloggers I know. Not using your real name doesn’t concern me because I believe I can detect who is authentic online. The name they use to blog isn’t relevant IMHO. Like you, I am not my blog and I do retain a separation between my life online and offline. Though blogging is my passion, my offline life always takes precedence.

  18. Hi Timethief! LOVE LOVE this post! I thought about blogging under a pseudonym. However, I also found out there are many people who work hard to figure out who owns the blog. Just like there are many researchers, librarians etc that try to find out who the owner of a pen name is. For me, I wanted to eventually be able to do other things within the blog and that meant a loss of identity. However, I won’t add photos of my close family and friends or post things that I believe will cause friction.

    It wouldn’t matter if I was under a pseudonym either. I still wouldn’t want to post things I could not stand up to later. In the event people found out who I was and what I was writing, it could damage a lot of relationships if the posts are less than desirable. I respect the hustle of the pseudonym though for all sorts of reasons. Thank you again for this post!!

    • Hello there,
      Thanks so much for sharing your own experience here as well as the positive feedback on my post. I believe you can tell that it’s my belief that people of integrity conduct themselves with integrity, whether or not they blog under a pseudonym. That’s certainly been my own experience. Best wishes with your blog. :)

    • Thanks so much for adding my blog. I have a raft of recipes I have yet to post on my personal blog. I’ve been too busy on the home front to add them as yet.

  19. Until I began blogging on I had only ever used a pseudonym, but when I came here one of the things I knew I wanted was to show my artwork on another site and link to it from my blog. As I am known for it (where I am known at all, lol!) by my real name, there wasn’t really much point in using a pseudonym anymore. That said, it was a difficult decision for me as I’ve always had privacy issues.

    In a way, using my real name – and showing photos of myself – has been therapeutic for me. I know the risks associated with it, but I felt the need to take them.

    I do still hold to my own guidelines though about what I will and will not put online. If I ever post anyone else’s photo, I get permission first. (As an instance of this, some time back I posted a photo that I coloured of my sister as a child. I asked her first, as I’d never have posted it without her permission.)

    What bothers me far more than using a real name or showing a photo of oneself, is how many people put many more people than themselves at risk by giving full biographical details in genealogy blogs and sites. :(

    • Hi Val,
      It’s good to hear blogging under your real name has been a positive experience for you. Seeking permission for using photos of family members is a respectful thing to do. As a reader of your blog and admirer of your art, I respect the fact that you do have boundaries when it comes to what you will or will not blog on.

      It’s so interesting that you have brought the genealogy sites forward. They provide exactly what identity thieves need. I wonder how many who post on them have experienced identity theft.

  20. A great post! I blog under my real name but use only my surname. I only post images of myself & my food. My family & husband don’t want to be viewed by the whole world.

    • Hi Sophie,
      The photos and recipes on your food blog make my mouth water. Your niche is cooking and that’s what your content is focused on so it’s no wonder that your blog is doing well. My partner is the primary cook in our household. I’m the the soup, salad and vegetable chef. I also do all the clean-up and dishwashing too. I’m glad you respect the fact your family members don’t want to be viewed by the whole world on your blog. Thanks for the visit and comment too.

  21. I was fired before for slandering the company I work for on Facebook, I was glad anyway I hated working there, companys where I actually do like working for I won’t even mention them by name.

    Some of those reasons on the site you posted are a bit of a joke though, I mean I really laid into the company so I deserved it but some of that stuff is just stupid.

    As you can see I blog under my real name, I’m not really worried about identity theft, I suppose no one does until it happens, I more than likely will blog under my real name under something severe happens, but the funniest pictures I post are of my face, and I could hardly do that if I was blogging anonymously. I too ask permission before using photos of family and friends, tis only fair.

    • Wow! Here we have someone who was fired for using a Facebook account to slander ie. libel a company he worked for.

      Slander is verbal defamation and libel is the written form of defamation. The former requires reptition in order to sue and the latter doesn’t – once is enough. I’m clear on the two as I do have a legal background. I have zero tolerance for the behaviors of smart mouthed punks (male or female) with “attitudes” who may be inclined to defame others and I have never made the error in judgment of hiring one.

      I like the fact that you ask permission before using pictures of others.

      “… but some of that stuff is just stupid.”

      I’m not clear on which of the points in my post above you consider to be stupid. I consider them all to be relevant or I would not have published them.

      • Sorry I didn’t mean parts of your post was stupid! I meant some of the reasons why they were fired from their jobs because of internet dealings was stupid!

        Nothing about your posts are ever stupid :)

        I accept full responsibility for getting fired for what I put, it was intended as a joke at the time however management didn’t see it that way, I was young and stupid and have learnt from my mistakes

        • Hi Peter,
          I’m so glad you commented again and cleared that up. I read my points 3 times over again before I replied to you. lol :) When I was young I did some silly things too. As they say, we live and we learn. :)

  22. Hi Timethief,

    I was very interested in this post. I blog under a pseudonym. I felt instinctively it was the best thing to do. I enjoyed reading through the discussion in the comments you raised many interesting point as did those who left a comment. I am sorry to hear of your previous bad experience on line.

    • Hello there and welcome,

      I’m sensing that you are okay with the choice you made and that’s really what it’s all about. Those who blog under their real names have good reasons for doing so. They tend to be business people and professionals but the range is much wider, of course. If you are just beginning to blog you would then use your real name to build and promote your online presence. You can expect to be ‘googled’. When your name (brand, key word) is googled, you want it to be you (your blog) that the reader sees. What do you want a search of your name to reveal? Or not reveal? Those two are foundational questions every new blogger ought to answer before diving in like I did.

      Thanks for joining the discussion.

  23. Before I started blogging I considered using a pseudonym but ended up with my real name. Just my first name. I never use any names in my blogs, except for my catkids, I use their real names.

    I post pictures but rarely of people I know (who are not “public” persons) and then only if I have their permission.

    I have not had any problems but am aware of the potential.

    • Hi Patricia,
      I like your policy of asking for permission before using photos. I’m also glad you are aware of the potential because not everyone is. Thanks for commenting.

  24. People have to remember that if they choose to write under their real name and start talking personal, ie. the quarrel they had with their partner, sibling, parent… on their blog

    how would that appear to prospective clients or employers? I’m not saying don’t ever do it, but be very clear why you want to do it for the world to read. And be clear why you want to reveal these disagreements or engage in ranting on about someone…who you actually love well.

    • Hi Jean,
      That’s a very important point and I thank you for raising it. My offline life comes first with me and it always will. I deal with my family and friends face-to-face. We have a pact. They don’t post about me on their blogs and I don’t post about them. They don’t submit comments to my blogs and I don’t submit comments to theirs. Witnessing anyone ranting online about or at someone they purport to be close to holds no credibility with me.

  25. You always have been one that seems to draw the fire! I for the life of me really can’t figure out why.. but it’s good seeing your avatar! lol.. Have a wonderful day.. and keep on blogging.. I like reading up on your posts.. they have helped me develop my blog tremendously.. Thank-you! :-)

    • Dear K,
      It’s so great to see your comment here. I’m chuffed as I do miss chatting with you. I’m so glad you find value in my blog posts and have relied on them to develop your blog. Have a wonderful winter season and take good care.

  26. This is an excellent post also for those starting out blogging and tt I hope you don’t mind that I’ve reblogged it on WPcomMaven. Thing is, reblogging seems to be borked at the moment, so if you see strange things happening behind the scenes, please excuse my mess.

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I see that you have reblogged without splogging. I mean how cool is that, eh? Thanks for promoting my post. I do hope it’s helful to those who are just starting to blog. :)

  27. @Mark Armstrong

    The point is well taken that people tend to behave better under their real names. However, a real names policy, e.g. at Google Plus, doesn’t go very far to accomplish this in practice. Trolls, stalkers, etc simply set up disposable accounts under fake real names for their evil-doing. When they eventually get discovered, they repeat the process. Only honest people who value their privacy are silenced by a real names policy.

  28. You said: “situations where bloggers got fired because of their Facebook activity.”

    Not to mention the impairment of one’s *future* employment prospects, because web searches of potential hires have become routine. The equivalent applies to personal and legal relationships. Really, it’s a question of the rest of the world’s need-to-know (or lack thereof) about your opinions, activities and preferences when choosing to use a pseudonym for your online presence.

    • You summed it up very well: “Really, it’s a question of the rest of the world’s need-to-know …” I think bloggers who keep that “need to know (or lack thereof)” in mind are not likely to experience any difficulties over what they publish.

  29. It’s been interesting reading all the commenters’ reasons for choosing a pseudonym or using their real name.

    I use a pen name. I chose “Kathrine Roid” years ago when I was a teen and had received the solemn discussion on internet privacy. “Kathrine Roid” grew older and moved from game sites to writing forums. I decided to pursue fiction writing as a career. Later I realized I had reason to use a pen name for my writing (choosing a pen name for a writing career is another topic, of course) and since people already knew me as Kathrine Roid… I grew and changed and my pen name’s purpose morphed.

    And on a side note, I really, really like that quote from Oscar Wilde.

    • Hi Kathrine,
      I thought the Oscar Wilde quote was appropriate. I am drawn to quotes and I had to counsel myself not to use more of them as I can get carried away. This is a quote I also considered using:

      “The freedom to connect to the world anywhere at anytime brings with it the threat of unscrupulous predators and criminals who mask their activities with the anonymity the Internet provides to its users.” — Mike Fitzpatrick

  30. I’ve always blogged under a pseudonym, and will always do so. In fact, my real name has never appeared on any public site, until very recently, nor has my photo. I use my real name on my books, but first initials only, not my first name. It’s purely a matter of my desire for privacy. I also falsify my personal information if a site requires it. Nine times out of ten, sites have no good reason for demanding such information, so I feel absolutely no compunction about lying about my birthdate, etc.

    I have no less sense of responsibility to readers and people who interact with me on the web than people who use their real names. Either you adhere to a standard of ethics for yourself or you don’t. It has nothing to do with what name you use.

    • Hi Catana,
      I take the same approach that you take. That didn’t happen until after I was harassed but when I started blogging again I became more self protective. And, like you I feel no less responsibility to my readers who use their real names as I do to those who blog under a pseudonym. You said it all when you said: “Either you adhere to a standard of ethics for yourself or you don’t. It has nothing to do with what name you use..” Thanks so much for commenting.

  31. I blog under my real name, and I do agree with the principle that one acts more responsibly and a lot more civilly when owning up to one’s true identity. There are too many hateful things said in cyberspace because one can remain anonymous– a modern version of the old “poison pen letter.”

    That said, I must acknowledge that cyber-stalking and identity theft are enormous problems, and my heart goes out to anyone who’s experienced same. I think the solution (if one exists) is to stand by our true identity while being extremely careful about what information we choose to share.

    Very thoughtful post, TT, many thanks– and I’m very sorry for your bad experience.

    • @Mark Armstrong,
      I disagree with this statement: “I do agree with the principle that one acts more responsibly and a lot more civilly when owning up to one’s true identity. ” I’m with Catana who said: “Either you adhere to a standard of ethics for yourself or you don’t. It has nothing to do with what name you use.” Despite the fact that I blog under a pseudonym and don’t share much personal information I’m still “me” online.

      Yes, there are those who use their presumed anonymity to harass others and some are criminals. WQhat I learned from my early blogging experience is that there are as many disturbed people online as there are offline. What we bloggers have to keep in mind is that trolls are intent on triggering emotions and we are in control of our responses to bad actors. The best way to proceed is to moderate all comments and choose not to respond to the bad actors.

      “We are all responsible for our own emotional health. It takes just as much energy to take offense as it does to give offense. If you do not take offense when something you do not appreciate is said — the statement and the person who delivered it have no power.” — How to handle negative comments

      “If you’ve been personally attacked online my advice is to consider failing to engage or delaying engagement. If you must respond, then do so calmly. Take the time to demonstrate there is no merit to statements made and others will think better of you for not losing your cool.” — Handle Online Attacks Effectively

      “I think the solution (if one exists) is to stand by our true identity while being extremely careful about what information we choose to share. ” Well said. :) I do agree.

  32. Since I am a guest writer on a team of blog writers, first name. It is for a well-known organization with a decent-sized, regular readership globally. Over several thousand per month.

    I also blog publicly with my partner. He authors under his name (German or English depending how he feels at times. He was born with a German name in Germany.) He must give his real name, because one of the blogs supports his company that he owns.

    There is a significant other in my life…..:D

    For professional reasons with other colleagues in my field world-wide, many blog and comment by using their real name. It is partially to build professional credibility when they write and comment on specific subjects in the field. This is prior to blogging also on the Internet. For those who belong to a profession with membership in associations and speaking at conferenes, it is most definitely career-oriented.

    Yup, for the sake of family and friends, I don’t include them in my discussion. If I did place photos, I wouldn’t even tell you who they were except for my partner. (He speaks at conferences internationally. So being on the ‘Net for him, is to sustain his credibility to non-local folks.)

    And I have alot of family members…who are mixed, Asian and white. So go ahead take a guess. :D

    No Facebook anywhere. I have no personal Twitters. Just company Twitter pages. It actually keeps a twitter page subject focused and not cluttered with wierd topics.

    • Hi Jean,
      You are right when it comes to developing a professional reputation online one must, needs be, blog under their real name. That in turn means they must monitor their reputation carefully as I have desribed in other posts in this blog.

      I smiled when I read this in your comment: “Yup, for the sake of family and friends, I don’t include them in my discussion. If I did place photos, I wouldn’t even tell you who they were except for my partner. (He speaks at conferences internationally. So being on the ‘Net for him, is to sustain his credibility to non-local folks.)”

      Like you I don’t have Facebook account and have no intention of rehistering an account there. I will not join Google Plus unless or until they allow registration under pseudonymns.

      Thanks for weighing in on this subject. :)

    • Hi Joyce,
      Many blog under their real name and never have negative experiences. Only a minority of bloggers become the targets of evil doers. However, business blogging and blogging on controversial subjects can make one a target. Also if we are not cautious about giving out our personal information then we aren’t in a position to complain. I don’t place any faith in any privacy settings on any social network. Like Catana I don’t provide accurate my personal information if a site requires it.

      “The reality is that much of the web is designed, not so much to share information, as to sell it. It’s also a reality bloggers today, more than ever before, have many demands on their time and social media networking to create an authentic online presence can be a time drain.” — Blogging: Online presence and authenticity

      “None of us want to become a victims of personal information disclosure or cyber crime but most of us don’t want to hear about it. We just want someone else to fix it for us and restore trust that our our personal and private information is kept private.” — Google Ad Probe & Facebook Security Breach

      “Facebook’s half billion active users disseminate over 30 billion pieces of content. But even though Facebook users have privacy options to control who sees what content, From Facebook to Mug Shot: How the Dearth of Social Networking Privacy Rights Revolutionized Online Government Surveillance by Junichi P. Semitsu, University of San Diego School of Law, concludes that every single one of Facebook’s 133 million active users in the United States lack a reasonable expectation of privacy from government surveillance of virtually all of their online activity. — From Facebook Wall to Mug Shot

      I’m authentic online but I don’t tell all and I never will.

  33. Really great post. When I started blogging I had no idea which name to chose. So I chose one that is a mix of real and pseudonym. I also never write about my family or post photos of them on my blog. I’ve just recently come out of the closet per se and showed my real face on my blog. I wanted to finally put a face to my words and travels.

    • H Jennifer,
      I have been enjoying reading your blog and watching as you develop it. Thanks for comments and best wishes with your great blog. As for me I may or may not have posted recent images of myself on my blogs but none will ever know if I did or not. ;)

  34. I only started blogging 3 months ago. I immediately decided to use a pseudonym for most of the reasons you state. Truthfully, I was afraid of the power of the internet as I had never used it for anything other than business.

    Now that I have gingerly dipped my toe into the internet ocean I am sure it was the right decision.

    Sometimes I feel a tinge of regret if I post something that I worked on for hours and think is really good. But the stats soon bring me down to earth. I have sort of transferred my persona to Andyboy – so it’s his failure – not mine! And at least I don’t care about the blocked spam.

    My avatar is really me – just a bit younger!

    • Hi andyboy,
      Looking back I wish I had started out with fear of the power of the interent like you did. It’s good that you are convinced your made the correct decision when your chose to blog under a pseudonym.

      Your third paragraph made me laugh out loud. I don’t feel that separation from my online handle like you describe. The reason I chose “timethief” was because I have twice escaped the grim reaper, which resulted in more time to live, and a very strong recognition of how precious our lives and our time are.

      • I’m so happy to have made you laugh. Blogging, even for these few months, has given me a new dimension and outlook.

        Your site in particular has brought me to a feeling of knowing you, but only through the way you deal with questions and answer people.It’s refreshing to find that courtesy still exists somewhere.

        I always wondered about the name; now I understand. Having had a few scares myself I share your feelings about life – in theory. Just haven’t managed to get my head around it in

        Keep up the good work and continue to feel well.

        And I never could have said all that using my real name!

        • Thanks for your kind words about my blog and my answers to other blogger’s questions. I clearly recall what being new to blogging was like. It’s important to get good support and advice early on. I’m glad to hear you feel you have come to know me through my blog and answers to questions on the support forums too. I’m authentically who I am despite the fact I don’t blog under my real name.

  35. I have 3 personal blogs. Two of which I use my real first name, but never my last name. The third (which is the first one I started), I don’t use my name nor any names of my immediate family members. None of the 3 personal blogs will come up when you do a google search for my name. When I started the first one years ago I was working as a professional, in scientific research and for my career, it was imperative that my blog not be associated with my name.

    Eighteen months ago I started an online business and have slowly begun using my real name more and more with that. Now when you google me, my shop stuff is beginning to pop up. I still have serious reservations about it but feel as though it’s a necessary evil if I’m going to maintain an internet presence for the business.

  36. I use a pseudonym because I am still testing the waters in Lake Blog. I’m not against the use of my real name eventually, I just feel the need to be cautious for whatever reason. I have however upgraded my gravatar from a stairway to my actual face…I do not think my contributions would radically change when I completely come out to the blog world.

    • Hi societyred,
      If I were to blog under my real name, rather than using a pseudonym nothing would change except that. Everything else would remain the same as I’m authentically me online, without the personal details. Best wishes with your blogging. :)

  37. I blog under my real name. Our history needs a human face to be meaningful, I believe. hopefuuly I am too remote for the cybercrims to bother about.

    As for a government watchlist: I’m already on it.

    • @Team Oyeniyi
      I thought of you as I typed government watchlist. The purpose for your blog precludes you making the choice of blogging under a pseudonym. You are also web-savvy so I’m confident you will instruct your family members when it comes to being self-protective online. I’m thinking most particularly of the kids.

      ” Social networking continues to grow in popularity and kids are attracted to it because it’s a great way to interact with their friends and to make new friends. These days, many kids draw little distinction between real life and online life. Unfortunately, some of the information kids tweet and post on their
      pages can also make them vulnerable to a wide variety of security threats, malware attacks, phishing scams, cyberbullying, and internet predators. Many  social networking sites children frequent do not have
      parental control tools that will help to keep your children safe. Most online  scams are targeted at adults since they are the ones with the bank accounts and credit cards.  But some are directed specifically at tweens and teens.   Many are aimed at young adults entering college.” — Back to School Online Security Tips

      • I am particularly careful with the kids. They have very minimal web presence at all, the younger two none at all.

        It was something I thought long and hard about, but I felt I’d lose the real impact if I chose to wrote behind a pseudonym. It is what it is, so to speak! :)

        I certainly understand many people chosing a pseudonym – the internet can be a not nice place at times.

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