Sunday, June 7, 2009

Why blog under a pseudonym?

My RSS reader is chock full of posts about the contretemps ensuing from Ed Whelan of NRO's decision to reveal the identity of Obsidian Wings contributor John Blevins. (The linked post has a nice collection of links to the many blogs that have weighed in on the matter.) For what it's worth, I agree most with Olson's post.

I suppose it's worth adding a note to why I myself have decided to write under a pseudonym. First, it's partly because I am risk averse, probably unduly so. That is, I try to sound as reasonable and thoughtful and appropriate as I can here, but I nonetheless find myself constantly second guessing my own judgment. Pseudonymity makes me feel more secure about the possibility that I've said something deeply foolish and not realized it.

Second, I find comfort in pseudonymity precisely because the rules of appropriate blogging remain so unclear. At least one speaker that my law school's Career Services brought in advised us never to blog at all. Similarly, at one of my law school summer internships, one lawyer apparently told a co-clerk in a screening interview that "We don't like to hire people who blog." (I wrote pseudonymously if irregularly on LiveJournal at the time, yet it never came up during my own interview.) At the same time, I've encountered people who work in similar fields-- including my fiance, who is a law professor -- claim that as long as a blogger follows basic standards of reasonableness about what to post, she ought to be fine. Because I don't know how much (or if at all) anyone would hold this blog's existence against me, I play it safe and go the pseudonymous route. I can't fault Blevins for having tried to do the same.

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