Blogging Identity - Anonymous or Public?

I've been thinking a lot recently about blogging identity, and questioning whether I made the right decision to blog publicly rather than anonymously.

I didn't give it much thought when I started my blog, I'm not sure that I was even aware that there was such a thing as anonymous blogging. From the word go I put myself and my family out there for all to see. Names, pictures, personal (ish) information, it's all there.

I was happy enough with that. I didn't really stop to think about the implications of sharing my family with the world.

Blogging is a funny old thing. I spend most nights sitting at my laptop, carefully constructing posts. When I hit publish a range of thoughts flash through my head... does the post make sense, will anyone read it. While one of my main reasons for starting a blog is to document the kids lives so they can read it in many years and see how much mummy loved them, that is not my only reason, or I think I would have just made a scrap book for them. When I hit publish a little part of me is hoping that someone will read my writing and enjoy it.

The funny thing is though, the first time someone I know told me they loved my blog I felt a bit taken aback. Embarrassed even....

It's such a strange feeling, to know that actual real people are reading what you are writing.

And then things get awkward... how do your pour your heart on to the page knowing that someone you know may be reading. It was difficult at first, because I rarely share my personal feelings with anyone, never mind someone I hardly know. But then, if you are comfortable to share things with complete strangers on the web, why not people you know?

My main worry is my children... what happens if someone from the kids school reads my blog and use it to make fun of my them. Have I shared too much personal stuff about Neil's ASD? I wonder how the kids will feel in a few years time that I've shared things about them, essentially without their permission... Think about how you felt as a teenager when your mam brought out the photo album, well now it's not just photos. The stories and memories I share now which I think are cute... will they be totally embarrassed by it? Or are they growing up in to a world where sharing your life online is so common that they won't even care?

But how do you blog anonymously, really? The only way to truly protect your families privacy would be to use no names, no pictures, only stories. But then, because I started my blog as a site all about my family and our adventures, no pictures wouldn't really work. I know lots of people choose to change their children's names, but I don't understand this. Why is it ok to share personal photos, but not names?

 I think I made the right choice. While I do still worry about my children, if there ever comes a time when one of them tells me they don't like it there is always a delete button. And although I do still sometimes get a little embarrassed, it is nice to know that my boss enjoys my writing, or that another mum has watched my Youtube reviews and found them helpful for her family. I'm proud of my blog, and I don't want to hide it! And I sincerely hope that in 5 or 10 years time my children will read my blog, and look at our photos and feel proud of the little piece of the internet that mummy created for them.... only time will tell.

How do you feel about this? What way did you decide to go? Would you go back and change your decision if you had the chance?

I would love to hear your thoughts...



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37 comments:

  1. I started off calling my twins H&L and not posting a single pic - however now I share it all. I don't share any silly photo's or anything that I am not comfortable with. I think some of my friends (non-bloggers) think that I am sharing too much, but it's my choice and I think my blog is better for me being more open and honest. Good post. Jess. #brilliantblogposts xx

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    1. Thanks Jess. I did start off in my first week calling the kids N and C, only because I'd seen other blogs doing the same. When my hubby asked why, I didn't really know, and so went to using their names. I think the whole blogging thing is difficult for non bloggers to understand in general isn't it?xx

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  2. I started off with blurred photos- but that really didn't work to help tell a story. I go by my first name only, and I call my partner MrLondonMum and my Son is Baby London. There are slip ups along the way but I want to try and keep some details private really for safety aspects. I worked in media previously and know the full extent of how people can become obsessed by what we would consider normal. And I wouldn't want to inflict that on my partner or son. But it's so so so so hard. Also I think using real names often means readers have a better connection which I think I lose out on.

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    1. I definitely think pictures help to tell a story. I only go by my first name, and we all have quite common names so I don't think we stand out too much. I know what you mean about slip ups, in my first week I used initials only because I'd seen a lot of other bloggers doing that, and I kept forgetting and just writing the full name. I ended up going back and changing them all to full names!
      I certainly don't feel any less of a connection with a blog that doesn't use real names, so I don't think you are losing out there x

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  3. I have been having this debate with myself recently, I currently call my girls my eldest and youngest, but that's not really going to hold up when we have our third along the lines! We shall see :-) #brillblogposts

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    1. I often ask myself what I would call the kids on here if I wasn't using their real names but couldn't come up with anything. Eldest and youngest works well but like you say, what happens to the third child? Maybe just give each of them a number haha xx

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  4. Myself I have gone public. I think when you are making the choice of anonymous or public, it really depends how personal you want your readers to feel. If you are writing from your heart it does take away a bit if there are no pictures or anything to personalize a post. I guess it depends on your comfort-ability?

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    1. It's a difficult one and it definitely is a personal choice, and yes some people are more comfortable than others with putting themselves out there. I think I made the best decision for my blog but can understand why other people may choose to be 100% anonymous.

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  5. Its a tricky one isn't it? And such a personal decision.
    I started blogging in secret and now my secret is out. Sometimes that feels a bit weird, as I too am a very private person and suddenly friends and family are reading my inner thoughts.
    I think revealing things about yourself really makes your blog more personal though and people can relate more to it. It also makes your blog completely unique. But again, its a personal decision and you have to do whatever you feel is right. x
    #brilliantblogposts

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    1. Yes, it is such a personal decision.
      I do think it's easier to relate to a blog that is a little bit more personal, but I can understand why some people may not feel comfortable with that. You have to make the right decision for your blog and your family x

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  6. I'm not sure how I will be able to blog in the way I do once Gwenn is at school. If she objected to being a part of such a public space then I would have to respect that.

    Really, I don't blog that much about her; it's more about my relationship with her. I do over share I think but you need to use your true voice otherwise people won't connect.

    x

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    1. At the moment my kids love being part of the blog, but I'm not sure they fully understand it. If there came a day when my either of my children objected to it I would definitely respect that. While my content is mainly about my children at the moment, there are other directions I could go if they decided they didn't want to feature on my blog.xx

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    2. Hopefully she will love it! I would have! I think it's good to have a semi-plan as to where you can take your blog in the future. I'd probably go with more fashion/style stuff maybe? xx

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  7. I've always blogged with my identity public, although I take care only to share photos and other details outside of my family private unless people have said it's okay.

    I've never regretted it. It means I don't have to anonymise anything and although that means there are some details I do self-censor, it's the kind of stuff that I would rather keep in the family anyway, so to speak. And I never have to worry about blowing my cover (I'd be a terrible secret agent).

    I know exactly what you mean about being embarrassed when someone you know compliments you on something you've written. It's not too bad with friends, but a number of colleagues at work also read my blog and that can feel a bit odd sometimes. In fact, one of my closest colleagues discovered one of my other blogs completely by accident recently, which caused some amusement (tahnkfully not embarrassment) for both of us!

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    1. I think with blogging, anonymously or publicly, you should only share something you would be comfortable sharing with people anyway, which means there should always be stuff that is kept within the family.

      I don't think I would make a very good secret agent either. I think it would terrify me having a blog that none of my real life people knew about and trying to keep it a secret, because then it would be pretty awkward if they happened to stumble upon it (which wouldn't be hard these days, since more and more people read blogs and share them on social networks)

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  8. Very interesting post! Did you go to Blogfest? This came up quite a bit there. I started blogging giving away very little. Over time I have relaxed a bit but don't give away too much...photos from behind or above of the kids, nothing too personal, no real names (apart from mine). But it is personal choice at the end of the day!

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    1. It is definitely personal choice and there is certainly no right or wrong way to go about it.

      I didn't go to blogfest unfortunately, it's quite the trip from N.Ireland to London. Would have been interesting to discuss, it's such a personal thing, and everyone has different ideas so would have made for a good debate!

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  9. I started my blog as a personal journal. Still is. I have the publish it privately. For my eyes only. Usually thoughts that I cant really show to people. I am so glad of that button. I also have friend only publish button. Recently my blog is for my mother. If you will notice (I hope you can drop by my blog) that it is mostly about my son. It is for my mother to read and see how my son is in here (in the UK) while they are there in the Philippines. Since my mother had got poor eyesight the photos on the blog is also big. I am thinking of my son as well. I try to post things that wont put him in a danger. =)

    #brillblogposts

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    1. I had a livejournal during my teenage years and used it partly as a blog and partly as a private journal.

      I totally understand that you do your blog for your mother. My mam lives in England and we live in N.Ireland so she only sees the kids once a year, and my blog is a great way for her to catch up on what we've been doing.

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  10. It's a really interesting thing, and it looks like lots of people start off anonymously and gradually 'come out' as it were! I've started anonymously but I had to as I was talking about my work as a Midwife and could get into trouble with the Trust I worked for. Now it's not about work, it's about me - none of my friends know I'm blogging as I feel my writing would be inhibited if I knew they were all reading it. I have a feeling this might change as time goes on but we'll see. I am also anti- putting pictures of my children on but that's due to experiences I've encountered at work which I won't go into here. At the end of the day it's a personal thing isn't it, whatever works for you is right I say! x

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    1. Definitely, and I can see why you made the decision to blog anonymously in the first place.

      Everyone has different reasons for starting their blog, and those reasons can influence your decision. Because I initially started to document our family adventures it made sense to use photos of my children, but obviously for you it is different, and it works for you!x

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  11. My Mummy started a completely anonymous blog so she can fully express herself there. My blog is all about me! And my family, we never give away exact details or full names, and no-one within Mummy's friends / family know about it. Well, a couple do now, but not many. I love having my own blog! #BrilliantBlogPosts

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    1. I'm sure you do love having your own blog!
      Sometimes I worry I may have given away too many details, but we don't use full names or anything.

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  12. I try to keep some anonymity for people who don't know me, but a lot of my friends are now fans and they know what I'm talking about. I have discussed depression on my blog and when friends have commented and offered support the first meeting is odd but then great they open up more to me and we are closer for it. We now have a small group of us who admit to being on antidepressants when previously no one had said anything. I try to keep my kids a bit more anonymous, more so if in 20 years a future employer does a google search for their name they aren't going to find my blog about potty training with accompanying pictures but I have recently started to use pictures of them whilst keeping their pseudonyms. I wonder about the pictures but we recently had some photos done and the photographer put their pics up so thought well why not. Thanks for sharing your thoughts x x

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    1. See I think being more open and honest on your blog can help open up a network of support, from both online people, and real life people if they happen to read your blog.
      It's great that through your blog you have become closer to your friends.

      I post a lot of photo's of my children, but I don't think I would ever post truly embarrassing photos of them, potty training or anything.

      We only use first names, so I hope my children would still be difficult to find on google, as our first names are quite generic.

      Thanks for commenting x

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  13. I'm pretty open about my daughter on my blog but I don't get too personal as my blog is more about kids style and lifestyle rather then our personal family life. However even when I do post more personal stuff I always try and imagine how she would feel if she read this in 5 or 10 years time. And if I feel she would be embarrassed, then I don't post. But of course there will be times where I will get this completely wrong! #brilliantblogposts

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    1. Yes I think you do have to give each post a bit of thought before you post, and I don't think I would post anything knowing it would cause serious embarrassment. But I suppose you can't really know what your kids will/ will not be happy with until they are older and my second guessing of how they will feel about certain posts may be completely off!x

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  14. I can relate to this. I started blogging after my son's traumatic birth and it never occurred to me to be anyone but me. Since then, 4 years later, everyone I knoe reads my blog and therefore knows my innermost feelings. I try not to think about it... D x x x

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    1. It's very easy to pour your heart on to a page when you are not thinking about who will be reading. It's best just to go with the flow and not think about it too much like you say x

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  15. At the start I never used photos of my kids but then I made the decision to do so, to share more of our lives. There's a lot I don't share and although I returned to the old posts and added photos and do share my kids and extended family on my blogs, I keep a lot private and sacred too. I totally understand why not everyone wants to or can share more and it's down to the individual. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

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    1. I think as a public blogger you do have to hold back some things. I suppose just like celebrities and other public figures, there is a side of you which you openly share with the world and then there are thing which you keep private, and it's about finding what is right for you. x

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  16. I think only you can answer this one Lauren. As you know I blogged anon for 18 months before coming out. It's been the other way round for me, and writing incognito allowed me to find my voice first. Perhaps start an anon blog too and see how you feel? Good luck with what you decide xx #brilliantblogposts

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  17. I started off anonymously and then took the plunge and went public. I sometimes think I over share and then I shake it off (thank you Taylor Swift) and keep writing. You are right there is always a delete button and if the day comes that my husband or children are uncomfortable with it then it will disappear xx #poloco

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  18. Very interesting post! I kind of blog anonymously and hide behind a little road sign avi, but when I started blogging the only place I knew to share my posts was on my own personal Facebook! So of course people I know read it. Like you, I do get a little but surprised by that! I don't share recognisable pics of my kids because I would hate for their friends to stumble across the blog (my eldest is 13). Now my son is on FB I don't share all my most personal posts on my personal FB because I don't want him reading it!

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  19. Great points Lauren. When I started my blog, like you and many others, I didn't really think anyone would read it! Now I'm a bit more cautious about over-sharing, but my posts are quite general. Most of the embarrassing stuff I say or show is about / of me, so I don't worry too much about the kids reading it one day! #PoCoLo

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  20. A really interesting read. I am too outspoken to have blogged anonymously and wouldn't have been able to keep doing it! I also think that Grace is so used to it now that she will be fine when she is a teenager. I am still surprised when people say that they have read my posts though! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo :) x

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