Last evening during the Twitter chat #bloggab, the blogger behind the blog was discussed in length. One thing troubled me immensely so I decided to write a post about this here. Please read the whole post before you blast me, ok?
The issue lies with anonymous bloggers versus those who are identified on their About page. I indicated that I value About pages (and the immediate visibility of the search box!) and that both elements are key reasons for me to drift away from a blog, or to stay and read. I want to know whose blog it is, why they blog about a certain subject, and where else I can find them online hinting at the credibility of the blogger. However, for me a blogger is not more credible because they attached their name to the blog. There are many reasons why someone cannot be identified on their blog. After reading those bloggers’ about pages, I often subscribed because what they had to say and why they could not openly, pulled me in.
Some said last evening that they would not value such a blog, its content, and the anon blogger as much as a blogger who is identified by name. They had trouble imagining reasons why someone would choose to stay anonymous. Only after some others gave examples (such as, a blogger is a parent and does not want their kids to read their adult content) were some ripples in their understanding made. Only those ripples were dismissed quickly because the bond between anon blogger and quality content was not made!
Unique and quality content are connected to the personality and knowledge of the blogger. Whether that blogger writes that content under their own name or under a pen name does not diminish the quality of their writing. We have many examples in history where authors started anon or under a pen name. Famous male authors turned out to be female, remember?
There are many good reasons why people blog anonymously or under a pen name. I wish to list a few here:
- There are people who wish to inform the public about their rights (especially when dealing with the authorities) but they need to be careful because they work for the authorities.
- There are bloggers who help families from prisoners (especially death row prisoners) with tips, advice, prison rules for visitation, lodging and support groups, financial assistance, etc. They cannot always be identified because they fear retaliation from those around them who have taken a stand on the topic that they blog about: the anon blogger is surrounded by those who support capital punishment and somehow they cannot understand/tolerate that a loved one/a friend would provide such services. To keep the peace in the family, these bloggers remain anon.
- There are bloggers who are in between jobs and with every job hunt these days, more often employers ask to see your social media accounts, blogs, websites, etc. These bloggers may blog about something harmless such as recipes but they may also review products, movies, books, and have an outspoken opinion about those products. They may be the reviewers who do not back away from controversy, critique, or praise for the competition’s products and services. As much as they want to place their name on their blog they decide against it until they have secured the job.
Does all this sound so unreasonable? Can you really not imagine one good reason a blogger prefers to stay anon or use a pen name? If you can think of other reasons why a blogger is anon, please list them below in the comment box.