When I started my first blog Misadventure in LOTRO back in 2008, I wrote under my character name. Several blogs later I now use my real name Roger Edwards. Because the current site is not purely about gaming (I cover movies and more) I felt dropping the gaming name was pertinent. It also has the advantage of being very bland and common place on the internet. Yet it is a real name which is ideal for the business side of things (advertising, sponsorship, begging etc.)
Having worked in IT for nearly two decades, I am aware of the importance of keeping your personal data online to a minimum. So although I use Facebook and Twitter and such like, they are purely for the promotion of Contains Moderate Peril. I keep a tight check on the amount of personal information that is out there and what I say via social media. I never talk about my personal 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 personal beliefs.
Blogging is a great social experience, but you will occasionally run into some problems. Often these are can be centred around people. So if you use your real name make sure that address details or other means of contact such as home phone number etc are not splattered across the net for any Tom, Dick or Harry to find. You may well wish to keep your writing activities about your hobbies and pastimes away from say work colleagues, family or even friends. This is not a case of “being ashamed” or anything like that. It is simply just another form of compartmentalising. Do we not do this every day with other aspects of our lives?
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Using your real name can help create a rapport with your readers. People like to connect with other folk. The odd nugget of personal information can help with this. Talking about balancing your work and leisure time is an example of a shared experience. Briefly alluding to your job or studies can be warm readers to you. Your name contributes to this process as it is an integral part of your identity. Just don’t go into chapter and verse about how your heart was broken by [insert name of ex-partner here] and how you still hold a grudge to this day. Some people will join up the dots.
Using your real name is an option. One of several. It is certainly not essential to your blogging endeavours though. Tobold’s Blog (formerly Tobold’s MMO Blog) enjoys a extremely high readership and certainly has not been impeded by his online identity. So as for using your real name, as with most things in life, let common sense steer your decision.
This post was written with regard to the Newbie Blogger Initiative.