Pen-names, aliases or actual names on blogs

Do you blog under your own name or do you use a pen-name?

Did you choose an alias for yourself, or others who are mentioned in your stories?

How did you choose what to name yourself as an author of a blog?

I used to be known as Javamom at another, previous blog. I didn’t mind this in the beginning, but after a while I was a little irked by that. I mean, I am more than a coffee drinking mom (Java and mom), right? Do I really want the internet to continue to call me that?

Do I really want people who are not my offspring call me anything with the word mom in it?

When I abandoned the Javaline blog (and the Javamom pen-name) and started this one, I was on the fence whether I should use my own name. I asked myself questions like this:

Will I like being addressed as ‘Writer of Words’?

“Thank you for your comment @writerofwords, bla bla blah…”

“Hi @writerofwords, do you know about yada yada…”

Meh.

When you start a blog, you have two primary decisions to make:

1. The name of the blog

2. The name of the author of the blog (your name)

These decisions are uniquely personal. And it’s completely up to you, fellow blogger, what you name yourself on your blog.

Whether you choose a name for your blog that is different from the name you give yourself, or whether you make them match each other, just keep in mind that this will set the tone going forward.

You can use the name of your blog as your name. Plenty of people do that. Or, you can adjust it slightly, like I did with my previous blog: I was Javamom and wrote on Javaline.

You could give yourself a new name, one that has always enticed you, without it matching the blog name. I’ve thought of that at one point too. I could have gotten really creative. I always liked the names Alexandra, Cassandra, or Sasha. I could have been any one of these (but I’m not).

You can keep your real name.

In the end, I decided to use my real name in this blog.

Not everyone is comfortable doing this. That’s ok. You don’t have to. I did, eventually, but not initially.

Remember Honest Toddler? She came out years after she started tweeting about toddlers in the toddler voice. Got incredibly famous incredibly fast. Today she’s out and still tweeting, but not as her toddler anymore. Her name is Bunmi Laditan, not Honest Toddler, and she tweets as herself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s the thing:

If I name myself in my blog, whether in blog posts, the About page, or linked to other places like social media (Twitter, Instagram, facebook etc), my readers and commenters will address me that way. So I’m known as:

Claudette at Writer of Words, etc and Sorry Can’t Hear You blogs on WordPress
Claudette in Twitter as @WriterOfWords91
Claudette in Twitter as @Sorrycanthear

However, there are people who do not use a name in their blog. They are known as their blog name, or they use initials, or they use nothing at all. They chose to remain nameless.

Nothing wrong with that either.

But.

Let’s say you happen to know the blogger in real life. You’re acquainted somehow; perhaps they are a friend, a neighbour, a family member or a work colleague.

Let’s also say the blogger, whom you know, chooses to remain nameless on the blog.

So you find yourself reading their blog regularly. Here is where it gets tricky.

When you decide to comment on the blog of your friend, colleague etc, you may find yourself addressing them by their name. This comes naturally because after all, this is a person you have met, have a relationship with of some sort, in real life.

Right?

But should you do that?

On occasion, I have noticed in some nameless blogs someone naming the author of the blog in their comment. They call them by their real name. (I like reading comments, time permitting, because I often find interesting tidbits that fuel my own inspiration that way.)

As a reader who does not know the blogger in person, I have now been given information by someone other than the author of the blog about something personal about the blogger they themselves have not shared.

In other words, someone else decided to name the blogger when the blogger him- or herself has purposely chosen not to let the internet know their name.

The person commenting has inadvertently outed the blogger.

See what I’m getting at?

Today, right at this moment, I know some of my fellow nameless followers by name:

  • one by accident (because of the above scenario where a person addressed the blogger by name in the comments)
  • and one by establishing a relationship via private DM in Twitter (where we introduced one another using our names)
  • one who didn’t at first, but later, signed his name at the end of each of his posts

Outing someone’s name sometimes happens subconsciously, and without ill intent. Or it may happen accidentally.

Either way, I think we have a responsibility as readers, followers, and commenters to respect a blogger’s wish to remain private in terms of who we know them as. We should not, in my humble view, address them by their real name if the blogger has not shared their name on the blog themselves. Even, and especially, if we know the blogger personally.

Has this happened to you? Do you have a personal relationship with a blogger, someone you know in real life, and address them by their name in the comments even if the author of the blog has not shared their name publicly?

I’m wracking my brain if I have done it myself.

Things to ponder, food for thought.

 

 

20 thoughts on “Pen-names, aliases or actual names on blogs

  1. I am an occasional blogger who chose to use a pen name because of my work as a high school teacher. This one flimsy protective layering does make me feel safer about sharing. So, I applaud you Claudette! I may one day courageously join you, at least in revealing my first name. One day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have usually blogged under my own name, Beth. However, one of my blogs “GreenThumbMama” (not there anymore), I did only go by that, or GTM. However, it wasn’t to keep my name private. I will say this though, I have never used my husband or children’s names or pictures online. I never have revealed my last name. If you Googled me, you would find nothing. Never have I ever been anything other than Beth. When I first started blogging in 2006, we had a stalking family member and it was important to stay anonymous. I even had emails not directly linked to me personally. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a really great topic and I fully agree on respecting the blogger’s username. I have a friend in “real” life who I introduced to blogger but I am always cautious to refer to her as her username instead of her real name. I think that it’s always smart to be cautious online and we can do our part by respecting others.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My blog name of Minnesota Prairie Roots reflects the place that shaped me into the writer and photographer Iโ€™ve become. It also reflects my down-to-earth writing style and content. In summary, my blog name fits me, the person as well as the blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting thoughts…! If someone comments on my blog and their Gravatar shows their name, I use it. Or if they address me by my name, I do the same. If they don’t sign their comment, I don’t use their name in my reply. I’ve heard (probably old school though) that hearing the sound of someone’s name is the perfect sound to that person. So maybe writing it is too…unless you want to be anonymous. Oh, crap, I just went in a circle, on your post. Yikes! Thanks for sharing a thought-provoking post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like your “Writer of Words.” I don’t know anyone personally but I would respect their privacy. I do have one blogger email me as she is overseas and may be visiting the U.S. I respect her privacy and need not to share everything with the “Blog.” You can address me by Cupcake if you want. It is the name of our business which is now closed but I feel a close kinship with the name and the dessert!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I use my real name Andrew, I’m fine with that, many months ago through my previous WordPress I met with a female Blogger for a date and she said I was exactly the person she’d imagined from my blog! True love alas didn’t blossom ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Liked by 3 people

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.