Lately I’ve had a real desire to have a blog where no one knows who I am. Being an anonymous blogger is all the rage these days, and I simply do not understand how it’s possible to keep a secret on the internet.
Two of my very favorite anonymous bloggers can be found here and here. I can’t even write their names of their blogs, because I don’t use that language. My mom might read it. (mom, that was comment to you to see if you’re really reading my blog.)
Disclaimer: I don’t actually know how to be anonymous online. I’m writing this in hopes that someone will tell me. However, I’m told over and over that a How To post will make readers open a post, so I figured I should use the title. Ideally, someone will tell me in the comments how to be Anonymous, so the post will turn out to fit the title anyway.
Rather than writing about what I really want to say, I often share things on my blog that are safely (as in mildly, or not at all really) controversial. Like the fact that I let my five year old eat cold pizza for breakfast this morning (I really did.) It’s a safe, half confession that will draw in safe judgement. I would never put something out there that someone could actually judge about me. Or, they could, but it wouldn’t be a judgement that would actually impact my view of who I am.
Here’s what I wouldn’t do on an anonymous blog. I wouldn’t share people’s secrets. I wouldn’t bash people. I wouldn’t even use the F word.
I would just be myself.
I know I’m a good writer, but a lot of times I don’t let that show because I’m afraid of the judgement that would follow me actually putting myself out there.
Sad, that even in my 30s, I haven’t learned to do that. But I’m a people pleaser by nature, and I hate the feeling that I may have offended someone, or annoyed someone or given someone reason to judge me. Pathetic, right?
I can already hear some of the arguments against my desire to be anonymous. “Just be yourself, stop caring what other people think!” But I can’t.
I was raised in a family that kept secrets. (see, I’m already super worried that I’m offending my mom, if she’s reading this.) It sounds like a bad thing, but it is actually very healthy in some ways. I am very observant of other people’s feelings. I’m careful not to say something that will embarrass or offend those around me. It can actually be refreshing in a society where being offensive to remain true to yourself is the trend.
But it’s exhausting too. I have opinions. Strong ones. I’d like to talk about them, but I want to do it from behind a safety net. That safety net can be a person who I can trust not to judge as I’m learning and growing in my opinions. Those people are few and far between though.
I prefer to take the easy way out. To blog anonymously. But it’s not possible, right? Someone, somewhere, would be able to figure out who I am, right? Someone would figure out my IP address and then hunt me down using google places or something. (Anyone else detecting an over exaggerated sense of self importance here?)
I know about purchasing the privacy option when buying a url. That’s not enough though, is it? What about when I need help with my blog, would I be able to anonymously hire an outsourcer? What about social media? I would need someone on the inside in order to promote, right? Someone at mommyish has to know who “B” is, and at least Jeremy Schoemaker knows who his anonymous blogger is. Is that the only way to do it?
Is there any situation where I would be completely safe from discovery, or at least safe enough that I would feel comfortable being open? I obviously don’t know enough about the technical details to know how one figures out who the owner of a blog is. Any tools beyond whois.com are beyond me. This being the case, I obviously don’t know how to avoid detection.
It’s not even just about sharing my opinions. It’s about being creative without being scared the backlash may impact my daily life. I have stories I’d love to share. I’m not talking about sharing my deepest darkest secrets, just a forum where I can be slightly more open, where I’m not afraid that someone from my day to day might run across the words I’m saying. (Is it obvious that I’m already talking myself out of this?!)
Coward? Maybe. Probably. I’m okay with people knowing that about me. It’s one of those safe confessions that invites safe judgement.
Can you teach me how to be anonymous online? I can’t wait to hear from you