When You Should Use Your Real Name on Your Blog (And When You Shouldn’t)
Writers have long used pseudonyms on their books and other forms of writing. And a blog is no different.
There are many reasons you might have to use a pseudonym. And many times, you should avoid them. In this article, I’m going to share three of each.
You should never use your real name when…
1. You are performing Blog Administration
One of the realities with the internet is that there are always people who want to break into places they shouldn’t be. Sometimes, it is for profit. Sometimes, it is for ego. And sometimes, it is pure maliciousness. But whatever the reason, they typically do a lot of damage to your blog, and your reputation. In fact, if you don’t realize they’ve done it quickly enough, you may find your blog being delisted by the search engines. One method of breaking into websites is to use error messages, posts and other methods to identify your administrator. To help fight that always use a name that isn’t guessable as your administrator id. Use that id only for administration.
2. You are intending to sell your blog
This is also true for any business you are hoping to sell. If you use your own name, the person who buys your blog will want to continue using your name. After all, you’ve built up a reputation and part of what they are buying is your reputation. And that means you may find yourself in the unenviable position of not owning your own name.
3. You are writing about your employer
This is typically called career suicide. Of course, if you are acting as a mouthpiece for your employer you may use your own name. However, any other references to employers — past or present — should be done using a pseudonym. Otherwise, you may find that angry outburst being held against you during your next interview.
On the other hand, you should always use your real name when…
1. You are using your blog to build your personal reputation
If your blog exists to build up a reputation — as most do — you need to associate that blog with an individual. If it’s your reputation you are building, then it’s your name you need to be using. After all, there isn’t much point in building the reputation of an imaginary person.
2. You are using your blog for job search
One variation on the reputation blog is the job search blog. While this may include branding articles, its primary focus is on providing information for recruiters and potential employers. In order to be effective you need this type of blog to use your name. Otherwise an imaginary person might get the job offer you wanted.
3. You are using your blog to build your company’s reputation
Many consulting companies use blogs to brand themselves as experts in their fields. In this case, you do not need to worry about your name being sold. If the company is sold, the company’s name and reputation are being exchanged. In that case, having your name on articles will help build your reputation as an expert as well as the company’s reputation.