TheBoyandMe is an anonymous blogger who writes at http://www.theboyandme.co.uk/. She writes about family life as mum to The Boy (aged two and a half) and wife to Mr. TheBoyandMe (aged ‘old enough to know better’), as well as working part-time as a primary school teacher.
The lovely blog-host has asked me to write about why I blog anonymously, and the pros and cons of this. To do so, I need to explain the background to the start of my blog.
I joined twitter in early 2010 but it wasn’t until September 2010 that I began to understand the point of it all. Until then I had been following celebrities and used to moan to my husband when they didn’t tweet back. By chance one day, I decided to search on the term ‘mums’ and came up with one or two people who I still tweet with daily. Those people introduced me properly to the wonderful world of twitter, and the sideline activity of ‘blogging’.
Before twitter I had never really understood what blogging was about, I even remember telling one of the mums in my toddler group that I thought it was a little egotistical to expect people to want to read about your daily life. And how wrong I was to say such a thing! The people I have met through blogging have been kind, warm-hearted, humble and honest. They share stories about their lives which are compelling and endearing. I have learnt a plethora of things from parenting to new technology skills, all because of the wonders of other people’s thoughts. For someone who is a SAHM or WAHM, then it can open up a gateway of communication to an otherwise lonely world.
It was because of those two aforementioned ladies that I had the confidence to blog a few thoughts that were in my mind. I was convinced that no-one would read my posts, and for someone suffering with low self-esteem, that would have been (in the words of DJ Loose) a ‘disaster’. However, and fortunately for me, some people did read my witterings and encouraged me to write more.
I should mention at this point that my original twitter name was my real name, and it was only when I contemplated blogging that I decided to change it. I am a primary school teacher in a small-medium sized town, which happens to be my hometown. My husband often jokes that I’m the most famous person he knows, because when we go out I will always see someone that I know. With that in mind, I wanted to ensure that no-one I knew, especially my boss, could find me easily. Within a month, I had also changed my twitter profile to private.
One of the first steps in blogging was choosing my blog name. I deliberated over this long and hard, and through various (twitter) conversations came to the conclusion that my blog name had to be the same as my twitter name to provide continuity. A male tweeter also suggested that I avoid the use of the term ‘mum’ or ‘mummy’ as it became confusing for the lesser species when trying to determine who was who. And so, on 5th December 2010, TheBoyandMe was born!
The one thing that was constantly at the back of my mind when I started my blog was that anyone could see it. Whatever I published on my blog would be there for any Internet user in the entire world to stumble upon at any point.
That is the one thing that still reigns supreme before I press ‘publish’. I am one of those bloggers who will argue that while bloggers may say they blog for themself, the minute they press publish, they want other people to read it. Otherwise, they’d keep a private diary wouldn’t they?
I remember that, whenever I think about typing a post-up. Do I really want Bob Smith in Australia to know that about my son? Will my son appreciate that I wrote about his embarrassment in ten years’ time? In twenty years’ time when his university friends see it? It’s funny to me now, but this is his life too.
While my blog is littered with photographs of my son, and occasionally my husband, you will be hard pushed to find one of me that’s been taken within the last twenty years. There is one, but it’s intentionally blurred and you’d have to know it was me to, well know it was me. I do this to help protect our identity: a lot more people know my face than know The Boy’s. If they see a photograph of me, then it’s obvious it’s my blog. Just another blog with just another toddler on it? Could be anyone.
You also won’t find our names anywhere in association with my blog. One reason is because I have an uncommon surname, and likewise the spelling of my first name. Staying anonymous makes it more difficult to find me.
My biggest hurdle with anonymous blogging is attending events. I’ve been to one or two very small events with bloggers that I trusted (and who have since become real-life friends) and they have completely respected my decision. They haven’t posted pictures of me, or used my name. However, when you attend an event with over thirty bloggers, some of whom you’ve never chatted to before, then the anxiety creeps in about your anonymity.
And that is my only negative to anonymous blogging: if you want to find friends, real-life friends through it, at some point you have to let them in. You have to remove The Stig helmet and let them discover who you are:
Just another mum!
Thank you lovely, a really good insight to why you choose to blog anon. Don't forget to pop over and see The Boy and Me and share some blogger love. You ready for tomorrow? We have the awesome Mammasaurus on the blog. She'll be sharing how she took the parenting blog world by storm (my words, not hers! lol) and I have asked her to answer a few burning questions too. Tune in tomorrow morning for that...