Thursday, March 24, 2005

A dummy blog.

The comments on this post at raging red suggest that, to maintain anonymity, create a dummy blog.

I used to think that being anonymous online was impossible. There would always be someone who you and would eventually spill the beans. I saw it played out repeatedly in the BBS world I inhabited at the time. Now I think that people can have some anonymity (since the Internet is so much larger), but it won't stand up in the face of a determined attacker. But I digress.

The idea of the dummy blog is that it's the blog you put on your business cards and hand out to strangers. While your "real" blog doesn't have your name on it (and is known only to those closest to you), the dummy blog is publicly yours and contains innocuous posts on impersonal topics. The problem I have with it is maintaining it. I put (what I consider to be) a lot of time into one blog as it is; I'm going to write two?

I had another idea: the group dummy blog. A group forms to write one blog. They all sign every post anonymously, and they all claim to be the only author when they talk about it at parties. This way they divide up the work of updating their public face.

It has its problems. How do you motivate the group to write? How do you keep the voice consistent and never give away anything personal? I suppose every post would have to be approved by everyone in the group, and the only motivation that comes to mind is the threat of disclosure.

I take the truthful, withholding approach. My blog has my real name on it, and I bound the topics I write about. Writing some things privately is easier for me than maintaining a separate persona. It's even easier than sharing the work of maintaining a separate persona with a group of other dummies, but someone else might like the idea more than I do.
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