Johnny Blaze got it right:
“You can’t live in fear.”
It never occurred to me to blog as anyone other than me.
Of course, when I started blogging, there weren’t a lot of other scientists blogging. There was no model to follow or pattern to emulate. (This might explain why the first years of the blog... failed to find an audience.)
What are the advantages to blogging as yourself, under your real name? One advantage is that you can cultivate some of the patterns of behaviour that serve people well in face-to-face conversations. Knowing that you’re accountable for everything you put out there can help you to remember to shut up sometimes. Not to insult people gratuitously. To make a point without making an enemy.
And it always seemed to me that being a scientist was supposed to be about accountability.
As John Wick wrote somewhere, “You own every word that you speak.” I’ve tried very hard to live up to that ideal. That’s not to say that I’ve never annoyed or offended anyone; I have. My hope, though, is that in the long haul, being accountable and willing to admit mistakes will put my balance on the positive side.
Some people avoid being online because they want to be “off the grid.” If you’re a scientist, this is a fool’s errand. Your name is in Google Scholar, on your university website, and who knows how many other places.
If you don’t use your name, you forfeit control over it. Marketers like to say that your brand isn’t what you say about you; it’s what other people say about you. Everyone googles everyone else. If you leave it to others to define your web presence, you might not like what they say. By blogging under your own name, you can actively shape your digital destiny.
I also wonder if one unspoken reason people might not blog under their own name is the fear, not that people will notice, but that they won’t.