When I started blogging as Gizabeth Shyder back in the fall of 2008, it was primarily out of fear. Fear of failing, fear of exposing my kids online. I was in a bad marriage and it was just a hell of a lot easier, and more comfortable, to be out there as another person. My real self, shrouded in a name I stole from a geek at Best Buy that set up my new laptop as Gizabeth Scheider. I thought the "y" was a lot cooler. I thought the name was much more interesting than my own. My kids were initially John and Sicily, but have since been changed to their real names, Jack and Cecelia (or Ce-silly, as she prefers to be called).
Within a few months of blogging I was written up in a local medical news rag. I let them use my real name, and answered something like this when I was asked about blogging under a pseudonym. "You are never really anonymous on the web, and I think it is dangerous to think that you are." I believe this wholeheartedly.
A recent comment thread on MiM got me thinking anew about aliases. I have no real judgment about them, unless they are used to talk negatively and scorn patients. Embarrassingly, I have followed some of these blogs, kind of like rubbernecking. I don't always approve but am sometimes entertained. As far as the comment threads, someone I love railed on an anonymous commenter who was full of negativity, recently. The commenter wrote back - basically asking what the heck is different about anonymity and having a pseudonym. Despite their negativity cloaked in anonymity, I thought what an apt observation.
Most of us on MiM are more comfortable writing under pseudonyms, using cute/false names for our kids, and I have never felt that uncomfortable feeling I do when I read about doctors judging patients here. These women are all pretty high quality. The fact that they choose anonymity doesn't detract from their posts, and I see that many choose it for different reasons, some similar to my original ones, some different.
I write about this in hopes of sparking a conversation about aliases. Opinions, and people's reasons for using them. Some women, like Michelle Au who I interviewed this summer, are completely kosher with using their real name (If I had a name as cool as Michelle Au - I would be sharing and spreading all over the web). But many other women are not. I personally see no problem with going either way, as long as you stay within the lines. By that I mean adhere to ethics, as each of us hopefully learned from our parents, and if not picked up in medical school. What do you think?