Identity is kind of a big deal on the internet. The identity you consciously choose for yourself is how you will virtually be known. An awful lot of trust gets placed into you representing yourself truthfully, and while there have been cases of both women posing as men and men posing as women in the blogosphere successfully, more often than not the truth will usually come out.
There are ultimately two different types of identity when it comes to blogging. There is the “anonymous” blogger and the “known” blogger. Each has their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
The “Anonymous” Blogger
There are quite a few reasons why being an anonymous blogger may seem both appealing and appropriate. Concerns about what your family, friends, and more importantly your employer may have to say about what you are blogging about are all legitimate concerns. While it is true that there are bloggers out there making a living blogging, more than likely that will not be the case for any EMS bloggers. Sure there is always the opportunity to perhaps bring in an incremental amount of income through advertising and sponsorships, but it is not nearly enough to be able to support a family and you should not be fooled into thinking it will be. By being able to shed those concerns, two specific things happen.
First there is a sense of freedom as to what you will be able to write. In theory it provides you the ability to “shine the light” on the “dark side” of EMS more easily without a sense of fear of repercussion. The truth is that EMS is not all rainbows and unicorns, and while there are a dozen stories of good out there it is always the bad that seems to garner the most interest. Anonymity allows you to reveal that bad and, in some cases, be a whistle blower on the injustices of the system of sorts. Thinking of yourself as a Deepthroat for EMS will not be far off the mark, only not only are you providing the dirty facts but also crafting them into passages for consumption.
Secondly it tends to dehumanize you both as a blogger and as a subject. The fact that what you blog about will often have a subject matter that has real spontaneous circulation can be lost, and others will forget the same of you. Your anonymity, while providing you a shield from repercussions, will fill you with a false sense of invincibility. This is the easiest path down which you can become Trollish and fail to practice common sense online etiquette.
The “Known” Blogger
Just as there are reasons to be anonymous, there are also reasons to be a “known” blogger as well.
One of the most compelling reasons to choosing this path is credibility. By truly identifying yourself there is an almost immediate level of trust gained from those reading your work. It’s important to remember that the credibility granted to you from your experience level and/or location will ultimately have to be maintained by the content you create, but it does help when initially building a readership base.
Another reason to choose this path is recognition. By truly identifying yourself there is a better chance that you will be recognized for your contributions to the conversation. Recognition can come in many forms, such as invitations to be a guest blogger, to participate on local or regional councils, and to speak at professional conferences on the topics that you are passionately blogging about because it is easier to be recognized as a subject matter expert using your “known” identity.
What’s In A Name?
The name you choose to use as your author name, as well as the name you choose for your actual blog, will become your main identity on the internet. While the words you write behind your name will develop your online persona, your name will be the ultimate identifier.
Whether you choose to be an “anonymous” or “known” blogger, its important to keep in mind the long term effects of choosing your name. While it is true that today you may be a brand new medic, will you still be that brand new medic three years from now? In three years do you still want to be called “Medic Noob“? Then we have the dinosaurs. How many “Fossil Medic”s are there on the internet? (Hint: more than one)
Another consideration is location. I often wonder what would happen if 999Medic Mark Glencourse actually moved to the United States or someplace that doesn’t use 999 to call for a medic? While it may seem unlikely, you never quite know what the future holds.
When it comes to names of bloggers and blogs, I recommend staying away from anything that may indicate length of experience and location. Those are things that either change over time or have the potential to change as unlikely as it may seem. I also recommend that you take a few minutes and perform a Google Blog Search on the name you may want to use as either an author or a blog, this way you can see if anyone is already using it or not. The worst thing to do is to start establishing yourself and your blog to find out that someone else has already been using your name and people may easily mistaken them for you and vice versa.
A Great Example Of Both Worlds
If you have been reading EMS blogs or EMS literature chances are you have either read references to or come across Random Acts Of Reality that is a blog written by Tom Reynolds. Tom is also the author of Blood, Sweat, and Tea: Real-Life Adventures in an Inner-City Ambulance as well as the sequel More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea.
You may be surprised, as I was at first, to learn that Tom’s name isn’t actually Tom. Tom Reynolds is in fact the pen name for Brian Kellett. You may be wondering why he continues to use a pen name when his real name is now known and in this article he explains that he keeps the pseudonym because “that’s what most people know me as now.”
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