Another person got fired because of her blog. Does this sort of stuff make anybody else nervous? Not that I have a job to lose or anything… but I’ve always been up front about my identity on the Web. I think it’s important to be able to connect real people with the pages you visit and the things you read. Otherwise it’s all too easy to flame, badmouth, and hack people, because they’re not real human beings to you. But could this come back to hurt me? I’d like to say that I’d never work for an employer that would seek to censor their employees, but I’ve never been poor enough to test my morals like that. When I started at my last company (See how I didn’t mention them by name? I’m learning!), I made sure they knew about my Roald Dahl site and the personal pages that were contained within it. They were fine with it. Then I started web-goddess, and over the course of the two years I was there, more and more people found out about it. I still get e-mails from former co-workers who visit this site to see what the Snook and I are up to. (Some of them even leave comments – Hi Stefanie!) Basically what I’m trying to say is, sure, I lose some freedom of speech by being honest about who I am. There are people and subjects that I can’t talk about without hurting feelings. There are some that I won’t touch out of embarrassment (my parents read it, for God’s sake!). But is that a good thing? Sometimes I consider setting up a completely anonymous blog where I can say everything I can’t at w-g. Have any of you other bloggers had similar thoughts? Do you practice self-censorship? Which is better – to be anonymous and free to say anything, or to be yourself and accept responsibility for the things you do say?

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  1. I go anonymous for many reason, the main one being that I’m paranoid as hell. If you knew me personally and stumbled upon my site by accident, you’d know who I was in a heartbeat (I’m sure it helps that I post my picture all the time). I’ve shared my real name with a few of the folks I’ve met online, the ones that I’ve connected with in some way, the ones that are sane. Not many people in my personal life know about the site, and if they do, it’s VERY limited knowledge.

    But, I guess… I dunno. I feel that I have a lot of unpopular opinions, or that my snarky comments might offend the people who know and love me. I’d already lost a friend once to my site, but that was in the days before when I was still in my whole “I’m so alone and not over my ex-boyfriend even though I swear that I am. Feel my angst and love me!” phase. Man, that was ugly. I’m so glad I’m over that.

    I practice self-censorship all the time nowadays, although I’m not quite sure why, or what’s changed. Maybe it’s just that I don’t hate the world as much as I used to, though I have my moments of incomprehensible blind rage. Maybe it’s that I’ve grown up, at least a little.

    Yeah, I still talk about my sex life (much to my Dad’s dismay), and I still have my little bitch-rants every once in a while, but all-in-all I’m happy and content and I think that shows in my page as it never has before.

    As far as fearing unemployment… I don’t know. In the beginning I bitched more about my job, but I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do today. I love my job, actually. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its moments. I talk about those sometimes, but not in much detail, and not as often as I used to. My co-workers are easy to work for… Even BossLady — when she isn’t shouting at me to be in the office at 7:00am on the dot, “and she means it!!” 😉

    I feel badly for the woman who was fired this week because of her blog, but she really should’ve known better. I agree that you should be allowed to have the freedom to express yourself on the internet, no holds barred. I also feel that you should be willing to pay the price for that freedom as well, especially if you choose to use your real name. People WILL look for you. People WILL find you. And sometimes it’s those folks you wish were still oblivious to your online presence.

    In my opinion, Bloggers are like Porn Stars… They put themselves out there — naked for the world to see — and they should be prepared for the inevitable backlash.

  2. Er… Sorry that was so long. I should’ve sent an email instead! 😉

  3. Naw, I’m terrible with e-mail. I respond a lot better to comments. 🙂

    So you’re in the “anonymous” camp. I wish I could be, but I’m too much of a self-promoter or something. I like people I know to visit the site. It saves me having to call them internationally. 🙂

    So Moire isn’t your real name, huh? How’d you pick that nom de plume?

  4. It was the name of a character in a fantasy novel I read back when I was in middle school, and I remember really liking it. It’s also the name of the Australian announcer chick from that old Nickelodeon show where teams of kids did physical challenges on an obstacle course and then had to climb this big mountain at the end… I don’t remember what the show was called.

    When I first started coming online in ’94, I went by the name Moiraine, after the sorceress in the Wheel of Time books, but that was just too geeky of me. So Moire I became. I use the last name Smith because it’s a pretty generic last name (there’s about 50 billion Smiths in the world).

    I thought about “coming out” recently, but decided that I feel better remaining anonymous, esp. since I now have folks from my area who read on a daily basis. I don’t know.

    There’s always the matter of being able to safely bitch about my job. 😉 I couldn’t do that if I used my real name; my web-savvy co-workers would find me in a heartbeat.

    Besides… My Dad is heavily involved in local affairs, and fills an important position. I wouldn’t want to jeapordize that, or embarrass him and my family. Not to say that anyone from Podunk, Indiana would find my site and link it to my Dad, but I must be realistic. It COULD happen, so I must do everything I can to prevent that.

    Buh! It’s almost like too much work! ;P

  5. Aggro Crag! My siblings and I used to watch that show. It was a poor substitute for Double Dare, though.

    Ahhh, now I really see your point. Luckily no one in my family could be embarrassed. Well, they might be embarrassed, but it’s not like the public would care. 🙂

  6. I agree. Double Dare rocked back in the day.

    One of these days I’ll drop the whole anonymous bit. Just not right now. 😉

  7. Well I use my real name. I kind of get embarressed when people I know tell me they’ve read something on my site. Don’t know why as that’s now its main reason for existance (putting up pics of parties, club nights, holidays etc)

    To think it all started off as a place for my CV as that was the only content I had.

    Anyway enough of the ramblings. Yes I do self censor but not becuase of work related fears its just there’s only so much you want to put out to the world. I’m not really that prolific a blogger anyway.

  8. Yeah, my site was the same. In college it was just a CV and a list of links. Now the “extraneous” stuff has become the main content. Just give up and embrace it. 🙂

    And happy belated St. David’s day!

  9. Obviously I’m using a pseudonym…

    ..Ridiculous name for a boy…

  10. nice, clever post.

  11. nice, clever post.

  12. Hee. I remember when I met you Jann, that I thought it must be pronounced “Yann” or something. Where’d that name come from, anyway?

    Hi np! Didn’t realize you had a blog!

  13. Hi Kris, the site is “old (in Internet years)” but the blog is new. Some of our links are so ephemeral that we are also trying this format. There is a lot more to come in the future. I’ll keep visiting your nice site and keep you updated.

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