On anonymity

Many bloggers don't like to use their real names. Some get wonderfully creative with the descriptive nicknames they come up with for their family members. I sometimes think I should refer to Daniel as, say, Tempestuous Toddler. If I told a story about Tempestuous Toddler's desire to bring a bowl of grapes to bed, you'd know exactly what I was talking about. But if I brag that Daniel was actually gentle with the kitty today, you might think, big deal. Which one's Daniel, anyway? The 10yo? The 2yo?

I saw Kate at the pool today. At least, I thought I did. I was almost positive it was her. I did meet her once before, a long time ago, pre-blog, at a playground where my sister introduced us. But, unlike most people, I'm terrible with faces though good at names. Plus, I was peering through wet glasses, and trying to keep an eye on Daniel Tempestuous Toddler at the same time. I kept sneaking peeks, though, wondering if it was her, trying to remember if she'd ever blogged about belonging to the Y. I waited and waited, and finally I heard her calling to her kids, Ian and Fiona. Yesss! Definitely her!

If you met a person in real life who looked familiar, and after a little conversation you established that you'd once met at a playground a year and a half ago . . . do you think the very first topic of conversation after that would be "so what are you reading"? Not likely. But because of our blogs, we didn't have to bother with all the cheesy getting-to-know-you stuff. Right away we slipped into conversation about Very Important Matters such as judging books by their covers. It was great!

In conclusion, I would like to say that although anonymous nicknames like Tempestuous Toddler can aid the reader in keeping track of who's who, I strongly urge you to consider using real names. You never know what charming blogger you might be able to recognize, even when you're wearing wet glasses.


  • If you yelled "Bluestocking!" at me at the pool, I'd know exactly whom you meant. But if you yelled "Tempestuous Toddler!" I'd think you were sounding the alarm, or maybe just describing half the poolside population.

    posted by Anonymous Laura on 11:57 PM  

  • Well, I'm personally a big fan of real names! But I also think it depends on the things you blog about...books are safe, but if you have one of those blogs that really trash other people, including loved ones, I'd imagine anonymity is safer.

    posted by Anonymous Melanie Lynne Hauser on 11:07 AM  

  • LOL, but in real life I'm already starting to refer to my family and friends by their nicknames ;)

    posted by Blogger Running2Ks on 11:36 AM  

  • I'm a real name fan, myself. But for a completely different reason: personally, I find keeping up with four names (husband, 2 kids, dog) is bad enough; tossing in an additional four? Pure murder.

    posted by Blogger Kristy on 1:40 PM  

  • Ha ha, Julie, I was JUST thinking about this. On my site I use my real name and I call my sweetie "Sweetie" and the baby "The Baby". I could never come up with nicknames for them, especially the baby - one minute he's Little Lord Angelpants and then next he's Screamy McAngry. I picture someone scrolling through the archives thinking - "Okay, I get Hellboy, but where did Mister Pleasantface come from?"

    posted by Anonymous Ella on 2:44 PM  

  • I like real names, too. Nicknames are fince, of course, but what really trips me up are single initials. I almost NEVER remember who the initials refer to.

    posted by Blogger Suzanne on 5:36 PM  

  • Hi, I'm Fred. And, that's my real name. Really.

    posted by Blogger Fred on 4:41 PM  

  • It's an interesting thought. What makes some tell all and others tell part? I'm not comfortable with telling all, but I love reading blogs that do.

    posted by Blogger mrsd on 11:40 AM  

  • I'm one of those folks who uses initials, even though I also have a hard time remembering who they refer to. Lame. The initials for my children come from Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, but this is laid out in the first post, and I can't imagine anyone has read it! I haven't used real names because of this tiny uneasy feeling I get about it-- we would be pretty easy to identify, if you decided to do it. But would it matter? Would we be creepy stalker bait? Probably not. My husband doesn't like the idea of telling all, and sending it on out into cyberspace, and I have to respect that, too.

    I slipped up lately, though, and gave the real name for my son's bearded dragon. Do you suppose my cover is blown????

    posted by Anonymous martha on 12:05 PM  

  • I just worry about the creepy creepers out there. I don't really mind using my own name, but I would hesitate to use the kids' names.

    posted by Anonymous Nixie Knox on 9:21 AM  

  • Well, my blog was my own little venture, and while I don't think that I have to get permisssion to use real names, I think it is more respectful to have nicknames. It's not like anyone has a say in what I choose to write about. Gina is my real name, however.

    Although, some might argue the "respectfulness" of Hubba-hubba, but what other recourse do I have? :)

    posted by Blogger Gina on 11:28 AM  

  • Gina, my regular blog nicknames for my "Mr. Escape Artist", is "hubba hubba." :)

    posted by Blogger GEL on 5:33 AM  

  • Did you ever read any Phyllis Diller? She calls her husband "Fang" throughout. That is my favorite nickname.

    posted by Anonymous Ella on 5:56 PM  

  • I understand your comments about using nicknames vs real names. The thing that hit me, though, was that you got to meet one of your blogging friends. I have some blogging buddies that I would love to meet in person. That would be so great! I feel as though I know them from their writing already! Like you wrote, you just slip into conversation without the usual necessary get-to-know-you stuff.

    posted by Blogger Rhodent on 7:23 PM  

  • I decided to use the initials when I decided I wanted to put pictures up. I'm not secretive about where I live, so I'm hoping that the no-name thing will keep Creepy Internet Dude from knocking on my front door. (I've been stalked once on the internet, but she turned out ok--it was the goober queen)

    posted by Blogger Carson on 11:34 AM