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On Pseudonymity, and the slight awkwardness thereof

11 February, 2012

Hi all. It’s been a while.

The really important thing I need my blogfriends, especially the historians, to know, is in the paragraph after the “But…” Please do read that, if you skip the rest, because I’m asking a personal favor that will cost you nothing but your goodwill 🙂

I have a big post coming, of the sort that I used to post regularly, before I got the job I had now, back in the days when I was adjuncting, on the job search, and getting divorced and learning how to be single again. I haven’t posted much of anything like that in a while, and in fact am still debating whether to have a fellow blogger who posts such things post it anonymously, because now, people know who I am. If they know that, they know where I work. And, in fact, a couple of co-workers — and occasionally the Provost — read this blog. So there are a lot of things I need to say, and that need to be said, because they have to do with the dynamics of gender, age, academic rank, established vs. newcomer in a small community, the need for universities to have clearly defined procedures and policies (and stick to them), and how a perfect storm of the bad sides of those things can really do a person’s head in. Those things I feel fine about blogging about here, by the way. One of the things I like best about SLAC is that I don’t worry about expressing my opinions, here or on campus. And since I know many people who have had to deal with many of the same dynamics, I can make it very general. It’s the part where I’d like to tell you how it’s done my head in, and why we need to remember that everybody has baggage that can be triggered by things that no one might predict that I don’t want people at work to read, because while I can blog it, I don’t want to talk to people I work with about it. Go figure.


This is also in way of explaining that I have another blog identity, which I use in conjunction with my RL name and SLAC email. It’s also a pseudonym, because I like pseudonyms. But it is one that just reflects some things that make me happy. Why am I telling you this? Because I am using that name for SLAC-related blogging, and for keeping up with blogs of family members. And since my students may know me by that pseudonym, I will likely be using it to point to some of your posts. This also means that I may occasionally do something I am not entirely comfortable with, i.e., post on your blog under that name. ADM is me. But she is primarily my voice as an academic speaking to other (mostly) academics and medievalists. She is the “academic life” me, me through the lens of my academic identity, which is no small part. But those of you who are personal friends also know that there are other parts of me that come out on, say, social networking sites, that are more political, family-oriented, etc. My social networking persona is also only parts of me, but it’s probably more representative of how I interact with larger groups. It’s still largely academic, though, with a nice dollop of family and really old friends thrown in.

The other blog persona is me as colleague at SLAC, as personal friend, as faculty, as sister, as aunt. It’s the quotidian me, filtered for the internets. The thing is, the internets and the hiring of our Provost (another of the damned! especially if you knew who he’d studied with) have spurred a lot more emphasis on hiring internet-savvy people, and on encouraging the use of blogs in teaching and communicating with our students. But I really don’t like blogging under my RL name, because I still like to minimize the possibility of stalker-y use (not that I have been stalked, but I don’t want to be a vehicle for a stalker, either). SOOOOO for a variety of reasons, I am hoping to keep my identities separate. If people figure it out, it’s not a big thing. But I’ve tried very hard over the years to make ADM’s comments on academia and teaching relevant and pointing to issues we all face. I want to keep doing that, and not have to worry about people I see every day asking if I’m referring to a particular student, or campus issue. So, thanks for reading. Regular blogging will commence soon!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 11 February, 2012 5:35 pm

    Actually, there are times when having multiple voices is very clarifying, as long as you don’t end up arguing with yourself. (well, that’s clarifying too, but not in a good way) It’s more reflective, actually, of the way we live in the world, with different modes for different circumstances. Character doesn’t change, much, but tone and The whole unitary identity thing is kinda fascist – or at least high modern panopticonish – IMNSHO.

    • 11 February, 2012 7:10 pm

      I think you’re right, but I know that some people find it disingenuous, or even dishonest, to use more than one online persona at the same place. So I figure if I say something here, and let other bloggers know, I can point to that if I need to and say that I was not engaging in sock puppetry.

      • 11 February, 2012 8:18 pm

        And plenty disapprove of pseudonyms, even just one! I look forward to your SLAC persona visiting my blog. 🙂

  2. 11 February, 2012 8:00 pm

    I kinda like the idea of blogging as sock puppetry…

  3. 12 February, 2012 2:17 am

    Very meta, Belle!

    ADM: I can’t imagine a regular reader jumping to the conclusion of you engaging in sock puppetry of the dastardly kind. I agree with Ahistoricality that multiple voices reflecting multiple aspects of self can be clarifying (if I’m having an archaeology conversation with someone, it’s probably mutually ok that my Gamer Self is not part of the conversation).

  4. 12 February, 2012 3:18 pm

    Dastardly sock puppetry? I could never think such of you!

    • 12 February, 2012 3:56 pm

      why thank you! I doubt any of the people I regularly read would think so, either, but some of their readers might 🙂

  5. J Liedl permalink
    12 February, 2012 8:01 pm

    As someone who blogs/journals under multiple names and for multiple purposes, may I say “I hear you!”?

    You’re not being false to operate different personae on the internet. The me who’s interested in history and academe has relatively little overlap with the me who comments on my high school friends’ family news or the me who wants to squee about the latest Marvel movie.

    I agree with you that I don’t want to blog about particular students or colleagues. This means that I think long and hard about blogging regarding anything at my university, especially as I know that my social media posting are followed by folks right here, starting with the university president. Eep!

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