Anonymity/Pseudonymity

Having read Meredith’s and the Annoyed Librarian’s recent posts regarding anonymity/pseudonymity I gave the issue some more thought. (This post started off as a comment on Meredith’s blog, but got a bit long and waffly).

I blog under a pseudonym (no, really!). When I started my blog, it just never occurred to me to use my real name. I spent about three minutes coming up with my pseudonym (Law Librarian was taken, so Lore Librarian it became – possibly helped along by my having recently watched a certain episode of Star Trek: TNG). I started the blog as a bit of an experiment, to try it out, see whether it was something I would find useful, and hadn’t really considered that other people might read it. And as it was signing up to something on the web, I just automatically used a pseudonym, which is normal for me. I don’t like to sign my name onto something without knowing exactly what it will lead to (and in fact have three other pseudonymous personas I have used in my life).

I haven’t discussed writing a blog with my employer. I don’t blog about my workplace (though posts do arise from things that happen in my workplace), and I don’t really feel it is relevant to my employer whether I blog or not. I don’t write my blog posts during work hours – I write them at lunchtimes, and before or after work. I don’t tell my employer about other extra-curricular activities. Using a pseudonym means there is no way (as far as I know) that anyone could connect the blog to the company I work for, so there is no reason for them to know. Also, I don’t necessarily want my blog to have an adverse affect on any future job I may apply for. (And considering the number of people who have been sacked for blogging, I think keeping a barrier between your blogging persona and your work persona is a pretty good idea).

I like being able to blog about whatever I want to. I don’t think I’ve ever blogged anything particularly contentious, but I’d like the freedom to be able to. Just because I blog pseudonymously doesn’t mean I don’t believe in what I am writing, or that I want to distance myself from it.

Pseudonymity is not a new thing – authors have been using pen-names for years, actors and musicians have stage names. So it seems odd that people have such a thing against pseudonymity in blogging. If I ever get my book (yes, yet another librarian writing a book) published, I may well do it under a pen name (though probably not Lore Librarian!).

I am sure that if people really wanted to they could work out who I was. There aren’t that many Law Librarians who are blogging, even fewer doing so under a pseudonym, and lots of people know I have a blog, so it would just be a process of elimination. The people I work with could probably figure it out in about five seconds by looking at my Twitter account. I have recently admitted my identity to a few people, and do have to admit, this has made me feel a bit self-conscious about posting. I am endeavouring to overcome this feeling, and just get on with it.

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