Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Blogging (And Living) Anonymously

Diane Roth writes about the phenomenon of blogging anonymously, and the reasons for doing it:

I think that all of us, whether we are "anonymous" or not, are always choosing: what will we share, and what will we hide? This is of course based both on considerations about ourselves and others. At a blog I discovered recently, the author pointed out that in order to remain anonymous, she needs to make sure she doesn't share certain things about herself. I had never thought of that before.

I still blog because I want to write, to go public with my thoughts, ideas, opinions. I fancy that others will find them edifying, maddening, enlightening. I hope so, anyway. And I remind myself that this task, done well, takes a certain amount of courage: whether I am anonymous or not. It takes courage to be honest, really honest about ourselves and about the world.

And I want to remind myself that there are people who are anonymous because nobody knows them or cares about their fate, because they don't have a voice in the world. They don't choose to be anonymous, and anonymity isn't safe for them. Think Darfur. There are times when it is safe to be anonymous (fleeing domestic violence). And there are times when it is dangerous. Help me to remember that.

Anonymity can be private, and sometimes we need privacy. I remember that the first church that I joined after I became a Christian was a megachurch. I liked the fact that I could slip into the crowd and remain inconspicious at a time when attending church was still a scary thing for me.

She links to blogger Blanket in the Grove, who writes about her own thoughts putting her own name on her blog:

I noticed, however, that it was very difficult for me to write anything on my blog over this past year as I got deeper and deeper into my professional roles as an associate minister and as a teacher. I found that much of what was consuming my thoughts and energies had to be off-limits from blogging. Mostly because I wanted to continue to protect my anonymity--not because anything I wanted to write would reveal something about my students or congregation.

I'm wondering if I went public, if I would find it easier to write? Or more difficult?

You can't really assume privacy when blogging, so there shouldn't be a difference in difficulty. I write with the assumption that my entire congregation and the entire Florida Conference reads my blog, and that I am held accountable by all.

But as Christian believers, it still shouldn't create a difference. The Internet can create a measure of anonymity, but as sinners transformed by Christ, there shouldn't be a difference between who we are in private and who we are in public.


Vicki said...

I agree. I choose not to publish my last name out of respect for my husband who cherishes his privacy. A lot of people know who I am, and I have no problem with that. I'm held very accountable for anything I post because my adult daughter reads my blog!

No one can - or should - assume they will remain anonymous on the Internet.

Brett Royal said...

But John, I just want to know your name.

John said...

I'm Batman.

The Thief said...

Blogging anonymously? It's generally not so hard to be "found out" when you try to blog anonmyously.

Not only must you refrain from sharing (anything personal) about yourself, your town, your church, etc, you must also refrain from being linked to by other blogs of people who know you or commenting...

I consider it virtually impossible.