Monday, May 02, 2005

More reflections on blogging and anonymity

It seems like blogging and anonymity (and the fragileness of anonymity) is on several people's minds lately (there are more links, but I'm too lazy to post them). It's been on my mind this well, because I was sort of "outed" this weekend. Luckily, the "outing" involved a friend whom I suspected would find it eventually anyway---a few months ago, I promised to send this friend links to blogs I read, and I stupidly sent my entire blogroll, unedited. Duh. Actually I don't mind that this friend now knows about my Secret Identity (hee hee). I look forward to this person's feedback about my writing....wonder if my friend knows what s/he has gotten him/herself into!

I completely forgot that I had posted on this before, and had composed an entire post in my head earlier today, but the post in my head sounds a lot like the post I've already written. I will say that almost 2 months later, my thoughts on being anonymous have not changed.

My biggest fear is that someone in my department, or someone who has control over my tenure case, finds this blog. My second biggest fear, and New Kid mentioned this in someone's comments as well, is having students find my blog and associate it with me. I like having the freedom to talk about my insecurities on the tenure track: my "bad teaching" days, the days I feel like an idiot, etc. I don't want students, or those in positions of authority over me, to know that I have these insecurities---after all, so much of my school life is spent trying to get my students (and sometimes my colleagues) to overlook all of their cultural conditioning and take me seriously, as an Authority Figure. Being anonymous means I can't write about some things (the more mundane, but more easily identifiable, pieces of my life), but I still find it more freeing overall.

In the future, who knows what will happen? Maybe I will be "outed", and I will have to change the way I blog---maybe make it more about computing and less about my personal experiences on the tenure track. Maybe that would be more entertaining to some. But the reason I started this blog was because I enjoy reading other blogs about the personal life of female academics, and I wanted to add my voice to the mix. And so if I had to change that....would my motivation to blog remain? I don't know the answer to that question, and I hope it's a question I never have to answer.


Dr. H said...

hey, Jane... I hear you on this: "But the reason I started this blog was because I enjoy reading other blogs about the personal life of female academics, and I wanted to add my voice to the mix."

I think our voices help one another, as well as those who are reading and not blogging. This is one of the reasons why I want to continue to blog, although I may freak out again about anonymity from time to tim.

Jane's Friend said...

Hi! Glad that you aren't *too* upset that I found your blog. I don't know that it had that much to do with sending me your blogroll. Given my academic "detective" training, once I knew that you had a blog, it was simply a matter of time. Although I wasn't trying all that hard to find it since I knew you had some mixed feelings about it all. Ones that I completely understand. Since I sent you the link for my pseudononymous blog, I've been re-reading some of my entries (from the beginning rather than in proper reverse chronological proper blogging order) and feeling less freaked about things, but I haven't gotten to the more recent posts, so I may get all freaked again when I do ;-). Glad to be joining your online community.

Jane said...

Dr. H, I totally agree. I sometimes consider blogs and blogging a form of cheap therapy. :) I know that I feel much calmer about being on the tenure track now that I regularly read blogs of people who are also on the tenure track.

Glad you've joined us, Friend! We'll have to find a pseudonym for you....

Wanna Be PhD said...

I am too concerned about losing my anonymity. I guess most of you can figure out where I am because of the WebCounter.
But I never ever send any posts I find interesting to people I personally know. I do tell them that I blog, and sometimes I send an interesting link. But no hints no the blogosphere.