“Anonymous Blogging 101: a Quick and Dirty Primer” is an article written by blogger Treacle, and discusses why and how someone would blog anonymously. She discusses that many people like the internet because it allows open sharing without needing to disclose personal information. Additionally, you can even provide made up personal information if you want to portray a completely different personality than you may have in real life. This idea is seen most stereotypically in online dating, but it can even be applied to a person’s blog.
So, why would someone choose to either not disclose their identity, or to make a fake one up in replacement? She gives three reasons: 1) privacy and safety 2) honesty and 3) personality and character. Some people fear that if their identity is online, their friends, family, and job may all be able to find them and there could be consequences depending on the blog topic. Additionally, strangers could find out too much information and get very creepy. Honesty plays a role in the fact that you won’t be as forthcoming with information about a certain topic if you indeed think people you know will read it and judge you. Anonymously, no one knows you and therefore can’t judge you. Personality and character allows anonymous users to be perhaps more outgoing than they are in real life, or maybe even more contemplative. I think they are all interrelated but honesty is the most understood on the actual blog site. By this I mean, if people have their name attached to something, they aren’t going to be as honest as they might have been anonymously. The content will be much more interesting and provocative if someone were to be honest in content and anonymous in identity rather than semi-honest in content and totally revealing their identity.
Now that you know the different reasons why someone would choose to remain anonymous online, how do you make it happen? Treacle gives a few options. As a blogger, you are totally in control of how much information you share with your readers. As such, there are varying degrees of identity you can reveal. You can choose to reveal absolutely nothing about yourself (what she calls “full anonymity”), use a completely fake name and post no photos, no geographical landmarks, blog entirely from hidden IP addresses or library computers so you cannot be traced. You can choose to give only some information out (“semi-anonymity”) by giving a fake name but attaching real pictures of you and few details about the area you live and what interests you. Then there is “secret anonymity” in which you know all the details you have given are fake, but people believe them to be a real identity. Under this method you would have a fake name attached to fake Facebook, Twitter, etc. which makes people believe you are really that identity.
It’s important to understand if you choose to blog anonymously that you must do this from the start. As she says, it is much easier to reveal little bits of yourself over time than try to take back any identifiers you may have provided already. Also, you have to realize that while you are blogging there is always the chance that someone can find out your real identity, so you must prepare for that event as well.
IDK if any of you listen to country music, but I thought this music video went along with the article perfectly (and yes, that is Taylor Swift back up dancing):