Do you use your "real name" when blogging? Why did you make that decision, and do you feel it was the right decision? Has there been any fallout, either positive or negative?
I think that it's probably a worthy exercise for newer bloggers to hear why some of us choose to use our real name, and why some of us don't.
When I first started blogging I purposely did not use my given name. I just wrote "jen" everywhere, and kept my last name far away from my blog. I mostly did this because I wasn't initally sure of the direction the blog was going to take and I didn't want anything nefarious to be tied back to my career or used against me.
About 2 years into blogging, I realized that I was really proud of what I had been writing -- I don't use blogging as an avenue to vent against people or to say things that I wouldn't say in public -- and decided to switch everything over to my full, given name.
So far, I think that blogging using my full name has brought only good, and I hope that it continues. I do feel that the decision to be completely open about my blog ties my hands in a few ways -- it's that feeling that, even if I wanted to, I couldn't use my blog for something intensely personal or secretive. Some days I do dream about a "secret" blog where no one knew who I was and I could write exactly what I think, but in general I am happy with my decision.
My advice for new bloggers? It's much easier to start out by not using your full name and then making that decision down the road if you want to. Search engines these days are so thorough that making the change is quick and painless once you decide you want to "go public".
This post was written by Jen Maiser from Life Begins at 30.