Inspired, of course, by the discussions about Jeff Rice's piece over at NewKid's and Dr. Crazy's. And since it's my meme, there are no rules. Do whatever the hell you want with it.
Is your blogging persona more serious than your real life persona? Not really. I would say, though, that my blog posts are more serious than my comments. Comments are spontaneous – more like how I talk – whereas my blog posts are the way that I write, which means I edit them. So yeah, my comments tend to be more playful. And filled with typos. Especially when I am over at Pilgrim's bar, getting drunk on all the virtual beer.
Do you think the only safe way an academic can write publicly is to write anonymously? Of course not. I participate in discussion lists under my real name. I write other things under my real name. But yeah, ask me again in a few years after the Bush administration has taken away even more of our civil liberties.
Do you think that your blog could ruin your career? Well, the amount of time I spend reading blogs or hanging out in virutal bars like Pilgrim’s does probably hurt my career. Blogging can be an insidious form of procrastination.
But otherwise, no. During a presentation at a conference last fall, I read three blog posts, identifying them as such at the beginning of the session. I also read poetry that had been published in academic journals. No one in the audience seemed to treat the blog posts any different than the poems.
What would happen if an administrator at my college discovered my blog? Nothing. I doubt anyone would even read it. I doubt my tenure committee even read all the stuff I gave them when I went up for tenure.
Do you use a pseudonym out of fear? No.
What is the biggest drawback to writing pseudonymously? I have trouble spelling the word. Shouldn't it be pseudononymous? I always want to put in that extra syllable. I think I tend to use the word anonymous instead, because it's easier to spell, but pseudonymous is a better way to describe my blog. I don't feel particular anonymous on the blogs. People know who I am, they know many of my opinions, my feelings, and thoughts. They just might not know the name I use at home.
Has anyone stumbled on your blog and found it accidentally? Yes. My daughter did because she was using my computer. Two of my siblings found my blog while doing google searches for something that had nothing to do with me. Anyone who knows me and reads even one post usually recognizes me. My blogging persona is not really a persona at all.
Have you outed yourself to any other bloggers? I usually give my real name to anyone who sends me an email. That means almost all the bloggers who read me on a regular basis know who I am. Since I am not famous or anything, I doubt that my real name means much to them. Except that they can google me and see a photo – and often people do like to know where I am located geographically. (No, I don’t live in Maine! How come people always think that?)
Has your blog allowed you to experiment with writing? I would not call the kind of writing I do on the blog experimental, but yes, blogging is an experiment for me. I usually write poetry and the blog is my attempt to play around with writing non-fiction.
Why do you use a pseudonym? The super cool bloggers that I admire – like Bitch Ph.D. and Profgrrrrl – use pseudonyms. When I began blogging, I chose a pseudonym because I was following the conventions of the community I wanted to belong to. I don’t make huge attempts to hide my identity or my location. The pseudonyms I use are often just silly. (Like when I went to a conference in the Big Midwestern City with at Least One Very Tall Building and the Baseball Team that Always Loses. Is there anyone who couldn’t figure out where I was?) But using them marks me as a blogger.
I do like that real life people cannot find my blog by googling me.
I think that is the main thing that writing pseudonymously does – it limits my audience to other bloggers. Students, family, colleagues, or real life friends cannot find my blog by searching for my name. Bloggers come to my blog via a blogroll or a comment I’ve left on a blog. That way, my readers are bloggers who understand the conventions of blogging. They understand that posts are written quickly, often rough drafts and unfinished thoughts. For the most part, they know the blogs that I link to, and can see what I write as part of a larger conversation in a blogging community. I don’t have to explain what a meme is, or explain why I might post a photo of a cat on a Friday. Pseudonymous bloggers write for other bloggers. That seems to piss off people outside the blogging community. I think they are jealous.