The Price of Anonymity

15 Aug

This post was written in response to The Daily Post’s Topic #220.

By definition, I do not blog anonymously. This is why.

As you can see, by not fitting any definition of the term “anonymous,” it is therefore impossible for me to blog anonymously. I am not pretending to be no one; rather, I use a pseudonym for the simple reason that I have no desire to reveal to other people any other name, be it real or not. (And one can always argue that since I use a name, it must be real.)

That, of course, is the short answer. If you are only interested in a direct answer to the question provided, I suggest you stop here. Why? Because of this:

The Long Medium-Length Answer

A pseudonym is not really anonymity, because we can still attach a name to any number of people (the most common is one or two). It can be helpful to the readers: for example, Pittacus Lore, author of I Am Number Four, is not one but two people, only one of which had enough reputation at the time of publication to turn heads. And a collaboration is about equal contribution–it wouldn’t be fair if only one of the authors got real consideration. There’s also the fact that the name “Pittacus Lore” is both strange and pronounceable enough to remember easily, which can be an issue as far as advertising goes.

Needless to say, I didn’t choose my name because of that. I have no interest in providing a pseudonym for works outside of this blog which I publish officially, and can do so under my given name. But I’m also not advertising those works here (at least not yet). So here I am, with a pseudonym.

But why, you ask, do you use a pseudonym on a blog, but not in official publications?

Because I have no particular interest in advertising myself as myself. Because if I don’t know someone in real life, I really don’t feel like giving them a Google-able name. And yes, my given name is Google-able. Most are. If you don’t believe me, try searching a random name. I won’t guarantee it’ll get you the person you want (for the record, “John Smith” is an insanely common name), but you’ll probably get something. For the sake of consistency, I’d like all my blogging under one name, and all publication under a different name.

Does this get confusing? Nope. If I really wanted to be anonymous, I wouldn’t sign my name to anything. By definition, I couldn’t sign any name to anything. And that, as anyone can guess, is extremely limiting when it comes to copyright issues.

Really, there’s not much else to say.

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Posted by on August 15, 2011 in Uncategorized


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