If a reporter from a world renowned publication interviewed you and asked your name would you provide it? Maybe you are wondering who in their right mind wouldn’t. That’s when I slowly raise my hand and say “me.”
At this point in time I am unwilling to reveal my identity. Here are the reasons I still blog anonymously.
1. My Identity Doesn’t Impact My Story
Providing my identity won’t add anything new to the story. Will you suddenly think differently of me if I tell you I am short or tall? Brunette or blond? Left-handed or right-handed? I don’t think so.
I think it’s important to share my gender and age. Beyond that the details are all in the blog. A picture of my face or my name won’t provide any extra clarity.
2. I’m Not Looking for Fame
These days most bloggers start blogging to make money. Some hope their blogs will help them quit their day jobs, launch freelance careers or help them knock out best-sellers. I’m not opposed to those benefits, but it’s not why I started.
I began this blog as an online journal. A place to tell my story when I was in pain and frightened. I started this blog because no one knew about it. It was challenging to share my fears about being sick in real life. It’s much easier to express my emotions here than in the real world.
Blogging presented a new space for me. A place where I could write about whatever I wanted without any judgment from the people that knew me. Writing anonymously, I felt (and still feel) relatively free.
I can feel incredibly proud of this accomplishment without tying my name to it.
Does that mean you can’t make money blogging anonymously? Of course not. There are plenty of popular anonymous bloggers that rake in money. Readers will find you and follow your work if you tell a captivating story. Once they do, you can profit with ads, affiliate links, and online products.
The writers of popular anonymous blogs can reveal their identities, but once you put your name on your blog, you can’t turn back.
3. It’s Risky
On the quest for financial independence it is very easy to talk about money. You can write things like, “I want to save $100,000” or “I want to buy a house.” That’s all well and good, but as your wealth grows it can become more difficult to share these details.
Saying “I’m worth $300,000” is very different than saying “I’m a multi-millionaire.” In general I think it’s a bad idea for people to know you have a boatload of money.
Why? First, people will judge you differently when they know you have a lot of money. That’s sad, but true. Of course, we all know the opposite also happens. Plenty of people are judged for not having money too.
Money changes people’s perspectives of you. I think a lot of family members would grow resentful of our success and I see absolutely no need to be the catalyst for such a rift.
To be perfectly honest I also fear becoming a target and a plethora of other unlikely, but not completely out of the question situations. The world is full of all sorts of crazy people that could figure out my address and do who knows what with the information. If you don’t believe me read this nutty story. There are plenty of other similar stories on the Internet. Why risk it?
4. I Want to Tell My Whole Story
Right now I can write about anything I want. I am at liberty to write about topics that are near and dear to my heart without fear of real life repercussions. This isn’t to say that I speak ill of people or situations, but rather that I can be more honest about my own feelings when situations arise.
Am I coward for not revealing my identity? I know some people might think so. It is unbelievably brave to write about personal and financial matters once you identify yourself.
If I added my photograph or name I would curb the topics and information I write about it. It’s as simple as that. I might not feel the same way at some point in the future, but it’s definitely the way I feel right now. The same way I’ve felt since I started writing this blog fourteen years ago.
Over the years I’ve written about my family, my job, my frustrations, my joys and many of my sorrows. Here I can be honest about struggles with my marriage, infertility and difficult family members. I wouldn’t be willing to reveal all of these nitty-gritty, unbelievably personal details if my name was plastered on this blog. That’s something I know about myself. I commend those bloggers who are open to putting themselves out there. Right now I’m just not one of them.
When I was struggling with infertility exactly three people knew about it. In real life only my massage therapist, my husband and one very close friend. That was it.
Partially Revealing Myself
I will partially reveal myself at Fincon this year. While I don’t intend to state my full name I will certainly show my face for the first time. I have to admit this feels slightly unnerving after remaining completely anonymous for so long. (Well all except for that one co-worker who identified me.)
I’ve wondered if I’ll change my stance on anonymity once I know at least a handful of people can identify me.
Anonymous Blogging and the Downside to Anonymity
Of course there is a downside to anonymity. Newspapers, magazines and other renowned publications are usually hesitant to write stories without using real names. This limits the reach of my story and that does frustrate me. If you want your voice to be heard it helps to willingly show your face to the world.
What about you? Do you write anonymously? If so, why? If not, why not?
*A funny side note: I recently emailed J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy to ask him where he moved. The price he paid for a mid-sized home seemed to good to be true for the area we both live in. If he found a secret gem of a neighborhood I was ready to start searching for homes for sale on Zillow. I could sell my more expensive house, buy something cheaper and pull my kids out of private school. He wrote a very kind response. I’m paraphrasing here, but it said something like, “Hey lady, don’t you know I write anonymously? Of course, I can’t tell you where I live and risk revealing my secret identity. Ha. Ha.” I didn’t even think about his anonymity when I asked the question.
15 thoughts on “My Anonymous Blog: Four Reasons I Blog Anonymously”
HA! I so love the J. Money email
I for one am thrilled to get to know your face after “knowing” you through this blog for the past decade ❤️
I’ll give you a description, (via email), before Fincon so you can keep an eye out for me 😉
I stay anonymous although my brother and my son have figured out my blog is written by me. I like to share things I learned from a long career and they involve other people. I’m pretty well known in my rural area so figuring out who is whom in my stories would just be too easy and I’m afraid my recollection of the facts might not always be the same as theirs or might hurt their feelings. As far as becoming a target, in my case that’s not a thing. Everyone assumes I’m rich because I ran a big company. But I agree that if you are going to get real in your blog then you either give up your privacy or you stay anonymous. I’ve wondered what I’d do if some national journal wanted to publish something I wrote but required me to confess who I am.
That’s interesting. I don’t live in a small town, in fact I live just outside of Washington, DC, but I have written enough specific details about myself that someone who reads my blog and knows me could definitely identify me. So far, only one coworker figured it all out, but I have wondered if others have stumbled upon my blog and just never said anything. I completely agree with this statement: ” recollection of the facts might not always be the same as theirs or might hurt their feelings.” I too have wondered and worried about this. In fact, I removed a bunch of posts a few years ago just in case family members ever found this blog.
I’m new to blogging and this article resonates with me. I like the freedom of writing without putting my family out there in color. I do enjoy some blogs that are really open and personal. So many different writing styles… Your partial reveal at Fincon sounds like you’re venturing out 😉
I like blogs that are written anonymously and those that are not. In fact, I have favorites in both spaces. It’s all about the voice of the blogger and whether or not their words resonate with me. Whether they show their name or not doesn’t matter to me. You are right about Fincon. I definitely feel like I’m dipping my toes into something new and to be honest it’s a little bit scary.
*fistbump of anonymity* I remained anonymous for all the same reasons as you! I don’t want to be open about my identity AND our money and have someone decide we’re worth robbing or harassing. Mostly we are good people here but we don’t know who’s reading and we don’t know who’s willing to do bad things to us because they’re in a bad place in their lives.
I did appreciate getting the comradery of FinCon without having to truly unmask. Generally the good folks do respect that anonymity so I hope you have a ton of fun! I wish I were coming this year to hang out with you.
I truly admire the people, and particularly women, who write under their real name. I think it’s incredibly brave, but for so many reasons, it’s not for me.
I love your blog because you share so openly and honestly. Especially about the struggles with your family. There are so many times I’ve sent virtual hugs out into the universe for you. I can see why you don’t want to reveal yourself. I wish you were coming to Fincon too. I would love to finally meet you in real life.
I’m super private in real life, so it wouldn’t be on-brand for me to be showing myself off online. Like, I-didn’t-even-tell-my-coworkers-I-was-getting-married type of private. I also don’t have a common name, so if you Google me, it’s definitely me. I just feel like once you show yourself, you can’t ever go back.
It definitely stings, though, to not be able to be mentioned in media.
I appreciate your comment. I am also super private in real life. My husband and I started dating in college and I told everyone we were friends for years. It was true. We were friends. I just left out the other parts. Overall, I just like to keep my business to myself. Staying anonymous feels so much safer. You are right, you can state your name, but you can never repeal it from this crazy Internet.
By the way I just recently found your blog, (last week), and love it! You fill an interesting PF niche that I don’t often see.
Congratulations on your Forbes feature. I am interested in starting an anonymous blog. I started one where I purchased privacy on Godaddy but because I’ve purchased other domains previously that were not anonymous, businesses offering their services called me and asked for me by name. This was discouraging. Any suggestions? Have you written anywhere on how to start an anonymous blog?
So glad I found your blog! All the best
Sophia (pen name)
Thanks for the congratulations! As for the question of anonymity, I’ve never used GoDaddy, so I’m not sure how it works there, but typically you can simply request your whois information to be protected. If you asked for “privacy” I’m surprised that did not happen for you. Perhaps you can contact GoDaddy and explain what you are trying to do and hopefully someone in customer service can help. If you do figure it out please come back and leave a comment or email me. I would love to leave the information here, because a few other people have asked about it since I wrote this post.
I also doesn’t want to show my identity, so I always blog anonymously. It gives me freedom to express my self without hesitating and reveal myself.
I believe that the most anonymus blog will be the one created inside a secure web or application. Having a usual blog built in WordPress and entering it with VPN doesn’t really mean it’s safe and anonymous. You have to look for apps like Utopia p2p which are blockchain based and don’t require any data during the registration. And inside you can create a blog or channel and fill it in being 100% sure that no one will know your real identity ever.
Hi! I am looking to start my own anonymous blog and would love some input!