Why are people using pseudonyms to blog?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Was reading grumpy irish boy's blog and interesting recurring question came to me. Why to post with a pseudonym?

In an earlier post, an old friend had questioned the validity of blogging under a pseudonym, as if it was somehow more cowardly to use a false name. I had fired back quite vehemently, questioning the idea of veracity by name, and hinting perhaps that the separation between the business and personal worlds being necessary. After all, if you blog about your workplace, the last thing you want is for someone to know about it.

For personal blogs, blogs where people rant about their various daily activities, the preservation of a certain kind of distance and protection under a false name gives the possibility of reversing the power relationship by minimising the possibility of recrimination. Like a panopticon, the power relationship is reversed by the viewer becoming invisible. I can talk about what a jerk a certain S. Rousseau was without really worrying whether or not he will find out.

But is this any different than digging a hole in the ground to scream out a secret, then burying it again. After all, how many people who read this blog will actually care about said Rousseau, and how many people are retaining details after reading blog after blog?

There's also the issue of a certain kind of fictionalising of one's life. If I write under a pseudonym, and then read my own adventures as if they were someone else's life, isn't that a perverse way living vicariously through one's own memories?

Anyways, just thinking out loud... for all you readers out there, tell me why you use or don't use a pseudonym. curious.