Blogging anonymously and non-anonymously

October 16, 2007 | By | 2 Replies More

I understand that we are all a bit nervous now that a persona named “Mark Tiedemann” has seemingly come out of nowhere to take over Jason Rayl’s body. I’m hoping that Jason didn’t go down without a fight because I did enjoy many of Jason’s posts.

Actually, I’ve known Mark Tiedemann for 20 years.  I’ve known him as a precise yet eloquent writer, as a thinker, as a musician and as a friend.  It’s good to have him here using his actual name, though I fully understood why Mark began his early blogging career under an assumed name– he discusses those reasons here.

I know that Mark has been considering the use of his actual name for several months.  I chuckle at his recent surprise when I advised Mark that one of his posts, “Reading in America,”  had become quite popular, with more than 20,000 people reading it over the past week.  I suspect that the difficulty of taking some personal credit for this solid piece of writing made anonymity a bit too cumbersome for him. Or perhaps he made the move in a moment of jealousy, because that guy named “Jason” was outshining him. The endpoint is the same, no matter the ultimate reason: Welcome to this blog, Mark Tiedemann! 

I suspect that Dangerous Intersection is unusual in that most of our authors post using their actual names.  It’s surprising that so many of us are doing this, given the numerous controversial issues raised by this blog– consider also that we often don’t take the most popular positions on these issues.

I thought about blogging anonymously when I was first setting up this blog.  I was concerned about using my full actual name because it was possible that someone with whom I dealt in my career as an attorney (potentially a judge or a juror) might take offense at a position I took.  On the other hand, I thought that it would give the blog more credibility if at least some of the authors posted in their actual names.  This latter approach won out in my head (I don’t have a persona named “Jason Rayl” in my head, but I do have “discussions” up there). 

Actually, this reminds me of a related topic.  We do write frankly on controversial issues at the site.  When beginning this blog, I was somewhat concerned that this would cause some people to get very angry.  If that has happened much, I am not aware of it. Perhaps, when people get pissed off with something we write, they tend to just leave the site rather than to make a scene through comments. What we have tried to do (though obviously we are not always successful at this) is to speak directly yet respectfully.  I am convinced that there is always a way to discuss controversial issues in ways that don’t unnecessarily antagonize people with opposing points of view.  When we take care to do our writing with that in mind (and Jason — er — Mark excels at this), we make our blog more personal and much less prone to cause such flareups.

I’m glad that I chose to blog using my real name and I’m relieved that so many of the co-authors followed suit (even though I invited each of them to blog using a pseudonym if they preferred that). Again, I am amazed that so many of the authors agreed to blog in their actual names, given the potential risks for doing so. I enjoy having a blog where many of us are plainly who we are.  It is in that context that I again welcome “Mark Tiedemann” to Dangerous Intersection.

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Category: Communication, Writing

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Mary says:

    The solid benefit of blogging while using your real name is that you are held responsible for what you say and, therefore, will choose your words more carefully. That is why I blog using my real name.

  2. Erika Price says:

    I think if I used a pseudonym, I'd post more often. But I'd take a lot less pride in what I did post. At this point I second- and third- guess everything I write before I post it. I have plenty of little crumpled half-drafts that don't face the scrutiny of what I'll share with the world with my name attached. I can't escape what I've written this way. I think that detail separates thoughful blogs like this one from less directed, ranty personal blogs maintained by the anonymous. Of course, many of the anonymous writers here demonstrate that they can handle the guise of a pseudonym much more responsibly than I imagine I would.

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