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The Safety of Pseudonymity Part 2

September 2, 2009

My primary motivating factor in being an anonymous blogger is so that my political and religious opinions do not affect potential job opportunities. There is a difference between someone who has “atheist” listed on their Facebook profile and someone who has a blog devoted to it to an employer looking over resumes. I don’t want to not be hired for a job because I’m an anti-theist or for the fact that I’m politically left of Gandhi. However, I constantly struggle with defining exactly what I’m willing to disclose about myself via my pseudonym.

For instance, I was recently emailed an offer by a publishing company to receive an advance review copy (hard cover) of a new atheism-related book coming out soon. I had to turn the offer down because I would have had to disclose my real address. That really sucked to have to do. It is really flattering to be offered an opportunity like that as a small-time blogger. I’ve also wanted to start a local atheist group in Belleville, but that would undoubtedly cause a bridge between me and my blogger self because I thoughtlessly wrote a post about it here before thinking things through.

Another example could be the fact that I’m getting married. We had some minor bumps finding an officiant and venue for the wedding because of my differing religious position to that of my fiancé(atheist – Christian). Exactly how much information can I disclose about my wedding without giving too much?

I’m starting college soon and I’ve already mentioned the specific school on my Twitter(McKendree University). Now If I mention too much about an event concerning a class or classmate that is another potential avenue for trouble. However that trouble has less to do with jobs and more to do with the potential for violence. My fiancé wants me to stay anonymous because she’s afraid someone would try to hurt me. I’m not highly concerned with that but it is something to consider none-the-less.

Right now, my blog’s traffic is pretty dead, but a few months back I got nearly thirty-two thousand views in one month. That was a huge jump up from two thousand. Not everyone who came by agreed with what I had to say.

How much information is too much? At which point have I mentioned enough personal things that someone can figure out who I am? Should I unmask myself to avoid this? Am I even important enough to worry about being deliberately unmasked? I want to share my personal life on this blog, but much of it has to be held back.

  1. September 3, 2009 1:14 am

    Good question. I’ve gone both ways. My reasons for remaining anonymous online initially were not to protect my identity per se but so that what I had to say could stand or fall on their own merits without personal details muddying the waters or distracting from that.

    When I started my current blog I decided to open up, more or less. I like feeling completely open but you do have to weigh that with other considerations. Being open makes one feel more personable to others, perhaps. But of course I am not going to paste my address and phone number across my website. By the way, what new book is coming out?

    • September 3, 2009 9:15 am

      Well apparently it released on Sept. 1. It’s Michael Baigent’s Racing Toward Armageddon: The Three Great Religions and the Plot to End the World.

      Looks interesting.

  2. November 17, 2009 3:20 am

    I have an anonymous blog so that I can say what I need to say without worrying about what friends, family and boy scout people will think or say or do. My family would give me a hard time, my friends would bug me about why I didn’t just talk to them about whatever it is, and people have been kicked out of scouts for atheism. I don’t know if my son’s group would actually do that. I try not to be a hypocrite – I omit the “under god” bit from the Pledge, I don’t pretend to be christian. But I do a lot of nodding and smiling and biting my tongue. I haven’t worried about anyone I know seeing my blog, just because there are soooo many blogs out there, and I don’t think anyone I know is looking that hard. I’m not trying to be a scout leader though, I’m just on the committee. I really like the scout program, it’s been really good for my boys, and our group isn’t blatantly religious, but the fact that the policy is there offends me.
    Keep up the cool blog!

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