Newbie Blogger Initiative 2016 - What's in a Name?
When I started my first gaming blog Misadventure in LOTRO back in 2008, I wrote under my in-game character name. Several blogs later I now use my real name Roger Edwards. Because the current site is not purely about gaming (why limit the scope of conversation?) I felt that dropping the gaming related name was prudent. My real name also has the advantage of being somewhat bland and common place on the internet, which is advantageous in this age of crazy, gaming savant, stalkers. Sometimes standing out in a crowd can be problematic. Yet it is my genuine identity, which is ideal should I see fit to develop the business side of the blog, such as advertising, sponsorship or e-begging at a later date.
Having worked in IT for nearly two decades, I am aware of the importance of keeping personal data online to a minimum. So although I use Facebook, Twitter and such like, they’re purely for the promotion of Contains Moderate Peril and therefore not my own accounts as such. I monitor the amount of personal data that is in the public domain and I tend to watch what I say on social media. I never talk about my own views on politics, religion or anything that is an obvious invitation for an internet trolls. That's not to say you can't touch upon those subject in regard to your blogging. But referencing them is different kettle of fish to lecturing your readership about your own beliefs.
Blogging is a great social experience but you will occasionally run into some problems. Often these are due to people. So if you do use your real name make sure that address details or any other means of contact such as your home phone number etc. are not splattered across the net for any Tom, Dick or Harry to find. You may also wish to keep your writing activities about your hobbies and pastimes away from work colleagues, family or even friends. It’s not a case of "being ashamed" of your blogging or anything like that. It’s simply just another form of compartmentalizing your life. It is not always necessary to inform everyone about what you do in your spare time.
However it's not all doom and gloom. Using your real name can have positive benefits such as creating a rapport with your readers. Your audience will have a natural curiosity about you as blogging is about connecting with others. Therefore the odd nugget of personal information can help with this process. For example, talking about balancing your work and leisure time is something most of your readers can relate to. Briefly alluding to your job, studies or relationship can also help your audience empathize with you. Your name contributes to this process as it is an integral part of your identity. So share some information but as ever take a measured approach. Don’t write pages and pages about how your heart was broken by [insert name of ex-partner here] and how you still hold a grudge to this day.
Using your real name is an option but it is not the only one. It is certainly not essential to your blogging endeavours. Many bloggers to this day do so under curious and interesting pseudonyms. Tobold's Blog (formerly Tobold's MMO Blog) enjoys an extremely high readership and certainly has not been impeded by his esoteric online identity. Braxwolf, Syl and Wihelm Arcturus have also made a similar choice. So as far as using your real name when blogging, let common sense steer your decision. If it feels right for you and serves your purpose, then go ahead and blog as Xavier St John Balustrade or whatever your name is. If not then publish under Polyphemus, Squeezer of Sheep or whatever nom de plume takes your fancy.