From the comments on my last post, and the talks I had with some friends, the consensus seems to be that if a blogger wants to blog wearing a mask, then that is purely his choice. But I disagree wholeheartedly. If you are blogging for yourself only, then maybe you can afford to blog anonymously, but if you hope, like most bloggers, to be read and get a lot of traffic, then you have to take off that mask. And here is why:
- There is no such thing as anonymity on the internet. Any thing you do on the internet can easily be traced to you, one way or the other. So, as soon as you start your blog you have become just a little bit less anonymous. As you progress on your blogging journey, you leave behind traces that others can follow without much hard work on their part.
- Neck-in-sand. When we blog anonymously, sometimes we become too safe in the knowledge that no one will ever know, and we end up saying and writing things that we regret later. We even delete that stuff later, but sometimes it can be too late by then. A great example of what I am trying to say here is the Alexa way back machine, which has this snapshot of what my blog looked like, way back in February. Mind you, the post that is on display in the snapshot is no longer a part of this blog.
- Sooner or later, you will tell someone. A blog has many functions, but most of them involve a reader-blogger relationship. And however secretive you try to be, there will be times when you will want to share something you wrote with someone- a co-worker, an acquaintance. a friend, someone. And as soon as you do that your cover is blown, and the secret is out. Maybe, you had forgotten what you had written about that person on your blog sometime back, or about someone you both know and now you will always be worried about him telling that person about it. So, it is always a better idea to be blog as yourself, so that you don’t have to eat your own words some day. As they say, better safe than sorry.
- The Reader’s right. The last thing that I would say is that knowing about you is, to an extent, the reader’s right. A visitor to your blog spends some time reading your posts; time that he could have spend doing something else, or reading another blogger’s blog. But, he is reading your post, and in return you could always let him know the person behind the writing. You don’t have to tell anything personal, but just enough for your reader to trust you and return to your blog.
I am sure there are exceptional cases where blogging anonymously makes more sense than using your own name, but exceptions have never proved a rule. In general, the blog, the blogger and the visitor, all will be better off if the mask is taken off, and the true face is revealed.
What do you think?