The Single Swan

The Journey of a Single Mother

The drawbacks of blogging anonymously

I blog anonymously.  No one who I know in person even knows that I blog, let alone my blog identity.  I don’t talk about blogging to my friends or to my family.  My community of fellow bloggers, whom I consider to be my friends, are totally separate from my offline friends.  The drawbacks of blogging anonymously are significant.

I blog anonymously because my blog is my therapy.  For the first time readers among you, I am a newly single Mum.  I am going through relationship break-up at the moment. It is a tough time and my blog is my therapy, my outlet.  For therapy to be successful you have to be entirely honest.  My blog is from the heart. This also means that my blog is not entirely complimentary about my ex partner or his family.  I would not want my ex partner or his family to read my post All About my in-laws for example. 

I blog anonymously because want my son to think that he has a great Dad.  If I blogged as me, there is a chance that my son might find my blog in the future.  If my son were to read my blog, he might feel compelled to side with one or other of us.  I don’t want that.  I want him to love both his Mum and his Dad, to think that we are both great and to know that we both love him.

Blogging anonymously has considerable drawbacks:

  1. It is harder for the reader to connect with you.  I really like blogs with photos.  A photo of the author, their families, their days out.  It makes it easier to identify with the blogger.  It is much more personal than my swan avatar. My photos thus far are limited primarily to flowers and trees –  boring!
  2. It is harder to build traffic.  I have created a new twitter account for The Single Swan.  I have made sure that I don’t promote The Single Swan to anyone that I know in real life.  This means no emails, I can’t use my network of Facebook friends or the various real-life Mum’s networks that I am part of.  The Single Swan really is swimming alone.
  3. You have to be careful not to sign comments with your real name.  Yep, I’ve almost done this a few times.  It is only a matter of time.
  4. I am proud of my blog, but I can’t tell anyone about it.  My blog is a real achievement for me.  I never thought that I would own a domain name, be able to set up a website, figure out html code (okay I admit that I only have basic knowledge).  I like the way it looks.  I enjoy writing.  I want to talk about it, but I can’t.
  5. It looks shady and secretive.  People wonder why and what I am hiding.  This is why I have tried to explain why I blog anonymously on my About Me page, but I doubt everyone understands.  I fear  people think I have something to hide.

Do you find it difficult to connect with people who blog anonymously?

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59 Comments

  1. I think it is great that you blog anonymously and have this outlet for yourself. It really doesn’t make you harder to relate to in my opinion since your name and location are really what’s kept secret, but your experiences and everything you pour into your writing is genuine- which is where people bond with a blogger anyway. So I say have an avatar and a “Pen” name!
    Julie recently posted…Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Idea – A Photo MagnetMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 8, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      Hi again. Thank you for another comment. I am really pleased that you like my writing style. I am glad that you don’t find it harder to relate to me because I am anonymous. I look forward to seeing you back on my blog again soon. xx

  2. I have been blogging for over 2 years now and although I am not anonymous nobody that I know in real life actually reads my blog. I don’t keep it a secret but I don’t advertise it to anybody I know either and use a separate twitter account. I made this decision because I feel more conscious about what I write if people that know me are reading, even though most of my posts are light-hearted. I understand you want to be anonymous as you are writing about personal relationships but im sure it wouldn’t matter if you signed off with your name if nobody you know has a clue about the blog, personally I have no problem with reading an anonymous blog 🙂
    Tracey recently posted…My holiday memoriesMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 8, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      Hi Tracey,

      Thanks for your comments. I am really glad that you don’t mind reading an anonymous blog. It feels a bit like a guilty secret to me at the moment because nobody knows about my blogging and I spend hours doing it. It makes me feel good though and that is the most important thing right? Thanks again for reading and I look forward to seeing you back on my blog soon. xxx

  3. I can totally relate to this! I remain anonymous because of safety and security issues – my husband’s job and my career require a level of anonymity. I have shared the blog with friends and that has helped get some traffic and followers. Love your blog and I will keep reading!

    • thesingleswan

      May 8, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I am really pleased that you will keep reading. I look forward to seeing you again soon. xx

  4. I also blog anonymously. I don’t write with employers, students or parents in mind and so I’d rather remain under the radar. I get what your saying about faceless bloggers. I hope that I’ve combated this with my drawings.

    #binkylinky
    Mama, My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows recently posted…An Open Letter to the DogMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 9, 2015 at 8:45 am

      Hi Thanks for your comment. Your drawings are great. I really like them and it is a great way to combat any coldness that writing anonymously might involve. xx

  5. I think everyone’s blog is their own personal space to do what they like. We all have different readers because we all like different styles. My favourite blogs will always be those that make me laugh and keep it real. At the same time I have had people take my blog seriously and then be offended by it. Humour is very subjective!
    Do what’s right for you on your blog 🙂
    Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics
    Claire @ life love and dirty dishes recently posted…Friday Frolics Linky – 8th MayMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 9, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      Hi Claire,

      Thank you very much for your comment. I think writing anonymously can be harder sometimes, but I still really enjoy it. I will try to keep it real! that is a good tip.

      xxx #FridayFrolics

  6. Hello,

    I don’t think it’s harder to connect with anonymous blogs, it’s just different and maybe less immediate. Photos are so appealing (and distracting) that the text can get lost sometimes. It’s quite refreshing to have no pictures and to concentrate on reading your (excellent) writing!
    Lizzie Woodman recently posted…My weekMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      Hi Lizzie,
      Thank you very much for your comment. I am really glad you don’t think it is harder to connect with anonymous blogs. I am glad you like my writing too.

      Thanks again

      Pen xx

  7. Hello! Interesting post. I blog anonymously too altho as time has gone on I have opened up to my friends and family more. This makes the sort of honesty you mentioned difficult. When my son was ill I set up another blog which was totally anonymous and nobody but I know about. I could post honestly as a form of therapy with no fear of hurting him. I like using a pseudonym as I want to retain a certain distance.
    Sarah
    sarah pellew recently posted…Check Out That View!!My Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your comment. Interesting! I don’t know whether I will open up to anyone as time goes on. I doubt it somehow!

      Best regards

  8. I think its great you have somewhere to write so honestly. really enjoying reading xx

    • thesingleswan

      May 10, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks Rachel.

      I am really glad you enjoy reading because I really enjoy writing.

      Take care. xx

  9. one of the first people I connected with was Renee from Mummy Tries. She blogged anonymously at the start and it was her posts that resonated me with me. When you are able to be completely honest you connect with people on a different level. All blogs take time to grow 🙂
    Zena’s Suitcase recently posted…#MySundayPhotoMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 10, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Zena,

      thanks for your comment. I really like your blog and I love your Sunday photo today by the way. I also really like Mummy Tries. I am going to continue blogging anonymously so that I can be honest. I am really glad to hear that you don’t think anonymous blogging makes it more difficult to connect.

      Take care and I hope to see you on here again soon.

      xx

  10. I write under a pseudonym for some of the reasons others have mentioned; in the past I have worked in environments where employees blogging was frowned upon so that was a big consideration. I also had some serious issues with a family member who seemed intent on being a professional troll, so anonymity was a good idea. I think many of us completely understand the need to be anonymous online and respect that decision, I am glad I stumbled across your blog via bookblogs ning and I totally get why you would want anonymity so in answer to the question; no I don’t think it is hard to connect with anonymous blogs. Happy blogging!
    Arabella Bramble recently posted…A Victorian Celebration 2015!My Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 10, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Hi,

      Thanks very much for your comment. I hadn’t thought about the work issue, but I agree it would be frowned upon at my work. I am really glad you are not finding it difficult to connect with my blog. Thanks again xx

  11. Nobody in my real life knows about my blog at all. I am semi anonymous and don’t have any recognisable family pictures as my children don’t want to be identified or written about. That makes things really difficult sometimes. I have written about them when they were younger but the posts have been edited by them to death. I think it makes my blog a bit boring too but I love doing it. So I understand exactly what you mean xx

    • thesingleswan

      May 10, 2015 at 7:55 pm

      Hi,

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think your blog is at all boring and you have some lovely pictures. I will keep visiting 😉

      xx

  12. It makes perfect sense to me – I can see that it does make it difficult to succeed in *some* ways but I think readers are drawn to anonymous blogs because it is clear that there are going to be no holds barred – no need to constantly edit and limit what you say which makes your writing compelling. Reneé from mummytries.com was anonymous for about 18 months and then chose to ‘come out’. I’m pretty sure her blog was doing fab in the stats stakes even before she announced her identity. X
    thenthefunbegan recently posted…Hilarious in hindsightMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 11, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      Hi,

      Thank you for your comment. You are the second person to mention Renee from Mummy Tries – Zena from Zena’s suitcase also mentioned her. I have read some of Renee’s recent posts but I haven’t gone back to read some of the anonymous stuff. I will go and have a read. I would be interested to see whether and how much her writing style as changed now that she has ‘come out’. Thanks so much for your comment. I look forward to hearing from you again.

      xx

  13. I started to blog for similar reasons- my marriage ended when my son was 7 months old. I have never been anonymous to my readers and at times, this was hard as my goodness, do I have a good in laws post in me! After a year of only writing sporadically and getting a lot sorted in my head, I took the plunge and told everyone about my blog. Sometimes I worry what people will think as I am honest, but it also makes me try harder. Good luck and I’ll be reading your blog from now on
    Hannah Atkinson recently posted…What does it feel like to have a c section?My Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 11, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      Hi Hannah,

      I bet you have a great in-laws post in you!

      Meeting people like you online is part of the reason why I am blogging in the first place. None of my friends, associates or family are going through, or have been through, what I am going through at the moment. I felt I needed advice and to reach out to people who have and who are and that’s when I turned to the internet. Your marriage ending when your son was 7 months old must have been tremendously hard. I am not married (thankfully so I don’t have all of the legal proceedings to contend with) but we had been together for 6 years and were engaged to be married in June.

      Isn’t it funny how life turns out? I wish I had a crystal ball so I could see what the future holds…but then life would be boring!

      Good luck and I hope to hear from you soon. xxx

  14. Hello Mum,
    I totally relate to your story. I started blogging not anonymously but I didn’t tell anyone about it and to be honest if someone finds it I don’t care.
    I feel that I need this space, a place where I can tell what I feel, what I am thinking and maybe… just maybe I don’t get crazy. 🙂
    Don’t ever let a letter to say, who knows if that letter may change someone’s life?

    So keep blogging we love to read honest and truthful stories.

    xx
    Marta
    Marta recently posted…Do you know how to make yourself feel good?My Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 11, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Hi Marta,

      Thanks very much for your comment. I am really glad that you like reading the honest and truthful stories. I agree with you, I need this space to express how i am feeling and what I am thinking. It is really important for me. If I reveal my identity, or if I tell people about it then I won’t be able to be this honest anymore. It will no longer be my little part of the internet where I can be absolutely and honestly me.

      Thanks again

      xx

  15. When I first started blogging almost three years ago I started anonymously. After a while I decided to come out in the public. I’m more cautious about what I write about now as more people I know in real life read my blog. Great post! Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky
    Emily recently posted…One Lovely Blog AwardMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 11, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Hi Emily,

      Thanks for your comment. Quite a few people have said that they started off anonymously and then ‘came out’ after a few years. I don’t know whether I will be able to do that. We’ll see!

      Take care

      xx

  16. I also blog anonymously – not for any particular reason, but I like to keep my Facebook as a personal account and my Twitter for my blog. A couple of my friends know, but not many.
    I hate pictures of myself, so I wouldn’t be in any rush to have them on my blog anyway, but I do tend to sign emails and comments with my first name.
    I think the writing speaks more about who you are as a person than a photo of yourself does.
    Debbie
    http://www.myrandommusings.blogspot.com
    Random Musings recently posted…My New Blog Button!My Profile

    • thesingleswan

      May 12, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for coming back. I agree that the writing speaks more than a photo. I do like looking at people’s photos though.

      Take care

      xx

  17. I think everyone must do what is right for them and from your post it does seem like it is the right things for you and your family. I think blogs take time to grow. My own personal opinion is that people connect with people and one best way to do this is to show who you are, which is easier with a picture. I am a big believer in photos in a blog and I find I connect with bloggers when I feel I know them.
    You are a great writer and I am sure things will grow as you want them to. Thanks so much for linking up to #TheList x

  18. I absolutely do not find it off-putting. Then again, I am doing the same thing, so…
    Honestly, I think saying that any person blogs with their “real” identity is a misnomer. Yes, we might choose anonymity because we want to be as honest as possible, but I think that anytime you write for an audience beyond yourself, you face the temptation to write for the audience rather than for truth’s sake. It’s hard enough to be honest with yourself.
    So, after that ramble, my point is: I love the anonymity because it clues me in that you care about the truth, you care about honesty, and you are trying your hardest to just be you. I appreciate it. Love the blog!
    Helleanor Rigby recently posted…I Vomited At Least Twice While Typing ThisMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      June 2, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      Hi Helleanor Rigby, I love the pen name! I haven’t come across your blog before but will definitely check it out now.

      It is true what you say about no one really being their ‘real’ identity on their blog. We are all, to a greater or lesser extent, writing to an audience and this does impact what we write. I have to admit that I tend to write what feels right for me at the time, and I haven’t sussed this whole SEO thing yet. I am not sure I ever will. Having said that I do look at my stats and wonder why some days I get so many more views than others.

      Anyway, I digress. I am on my way over to read your blog now. xx

  19. I don’t think you should worry, though I have the same thoughts. I’m mostly anonymous because I have controversial things I want to write about. I do think sometimes that I could come out to friends and family because I’m kind of proud of some of my posts and the following I’ve built, but I know I won’t be able to be as honest and frank as I want to be so I keep hesitating and putting it off.

    I say just go with it for now and continue to build up your own unique blog!
    Renegade Feminist recently posted…What do natural childbirth and global warming have in common?My Profile

    • thesingleswan

      June 4, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      Hi again!

      I know exactly what you mean. I am proud of my blog and I spend time every evening either reading other’s blog posts, commenting, tweeting or researching and writing my own posts. I am sure people must wonder what I spend all of my time doing. Oh well, once day I might come out, but for the moment I am going to say in the shadows.

      Thanks

  20. Pen – hope this comment is useful, as I can see both sides of the coin. I’ve been blogging about my children for 12 years now – every single week. OK it was a newspaper column to begin with, but it was effectively a blog. I had really mixed feelings about doing that, as I was putting my family in the public eye (it was originally in the local paper). Sure I changed the names, but everyone knew who was writing… So I had mixed feelings, but I had to write – because writing defines me: it’s what I am. So point number one is you have to keep on writing because it’s therapy and it’s also a way of one day leaving a really special gift for your son – your thoughts, your feelings, your memories of his childhood. Another point is that you’re good at it – so sorry, mate, you have a moral duty to keep going.
    Now my blog isn’t in the local paper any more I am absolutely rigid about not publicising it in my home town. I won’t do newspaper interviews with the local paper and I won’t ever ask them for publicity – which I’m sure costs me votes in things like BritMums and probably book sales as well. But your privacy is a special thing – I don’t want to go into the corner shop and discuss my blog or what my kids have been doing. Believe me, as your children get older privacy becomes important – blogging anonymously will have its advantages then. And being anonymous allows you to say stuff you couldn’t otherwise say: I ghost write some business blogs – it’s great. I can have a real rant without any comebacks!
    So good luck with the future of your blog and don’t worry about what’s right or wrong. Because what’s right is what works for you and so far you’re doing just fine.
    Mark Richards (@BestDadICanBe) recently posted…Mum v. FoodMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      June 11, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      Hi,

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate the time you have taken to write such a long one and your encouragement. I never really thought about it as a moral duty to keep going.

      It is really interesting to hear your story and to hear how you have dealt with the various challenges of privacy versus publicity. Thank you. There is great food for thought here. I appreciate it.

      Pen

      • Pen – I use the words ‘moral duty’ 50% seriously, 50% jokingly. But after writing for so long, I do feel I have a duty to keep going. A blog like yours will be a real legacy for your child/children one day. I sometimes think I’m writing for grandchildren I may never see…
        Mark Richards (@BestDadICanBe) recently posted…Mum v. FoodMy Profile

        • thesingleswan

          June 12, 2015 at 8:21 pm

          Hi,

          I am sure your grandchildren would be really interested. I wrote about my grandmother the other day (she was a single mum too) and I would have loved to have known more about her (she died in 1997). I think her memoirs would have been really interesting. I fear I may have to edit my blog a bit before I ever let my son see it. Some of the posts about his father and his family are not the most complimentary – I am not sure that that’s entirely fair on my son. I’ll stay anonymous and will write for me for the moment.
          Thanks again for your comments (and I am sure you will see your grandchildren.)

  21. I kinda of anonymously. My name and my kids names aren’t on the blog. But there are loads of pictures of us. My closest friends know and my mum but that is about it. I have a separate Twitter. It works for me at the moment and I don’t think it is less genuine as the writing is what counts x
    All about a Mummy recently posted…Wicked Wednesday: The only way to walk back to the carMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      August 23, 2015 at 8:37 am

      Hi,

      Thanks for your comment. You are write, it is the writing that counts and we, as bloggers, need to create the conditions to enable us to do the writing that we want and need to do. For me, that means writing anonymously. For others, this means that their identities are part of their brand. I won’t ever post any pictures of me or my son on my blog. I am worried about someone recognising the pictures and identifying me. It is a shame really, because I love looking at other people’s photos on their blogs.

  22. I started off intending to blog anonymously, partly because it didn’t feel fair to expose aspects of my husband’s and son’s lives when it wasn’t their choice and partly because I worried about offending friends when I ranted about aspects of parenting! But then I didn’t have the time/energy to commit to blogging community and my OH pointed out if I didn’t at least tell my friends I’d be writing for no one! Now I do a sort of half way house. My friends know I blog but I rarely use real names/pics so we don’t feel too widely exposed.

    I think it’s fine to blog anonymously for a specific or sensitive reason and, as you’re blogging about a specific circumstance, people will be able to connect to that anyway. Plus, if the writing is interesting people will always (hopefully!) come back.
    Sceptical Mum recently posted…Sorry for being pregnant: an open letter to my little boyMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      August 25, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      Hi,

      Thanks for your comment. I do think it is a lot harder to promote your blog if you are anonymous. I am also wondering now how I could ever earn any money from my blog if I continue to conceal my identity. It is a tough one. I appreciate that you don’t want to expose elements of your son’s and husband’s lives. A half way house sounds like a good idea.

  23. Gosh! I LOVE your blog – anonymously or not. Its refreshing and honest and I can’t wait to dig around your posts a little more 🙂 x x x

  24. I’m sure someone said this, but anonymous blogging promotes a genuine, honest opportunity to write. My situation is similar to yours in that I have never shared my blog with anyone in my life nor have I shared my name on the blog. Rather than therapy, I write simply to write. Connecting with such a large, world-wide writing community was an added benefit I didn’t even know about.

    Thank you for sharing!
    SourgirlOhio recently posted…FocusMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      October 16, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      Hi, I think you might be new here, so welcome. I am with you. I don’t earn any money from my blog – I also write just to write, but I do really enjoy it – more than I enjoy my job, so…

      thanks for your comment.

  25. I blog anonymously for much the same reasons. I’m having issues now because I’m trying to spread some of my work – and some of the more credible publications want you to use either your real name or picture. It’s really harder to build your brand…

    But it’s so much good therapy – and I think that my blogs are sometimes comforting to others, who feel a little less alone.

    Two sided coin.
    Live by Surprise (@LiveBySurprise) recently posted…My First #NaBloPoMo Post is a #TToTMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      November 1, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Hi, thank you for your comment. I agree. I blog as a release, as therapy, for comfort, for truth – the truth that I don’t want my son to know or my ex to read. Take care.

  26. Hi Pen,

    As a fellow anon blogger, I like to hope that the lack of identity reinforces the strength in connecting through words. It’s refreshing not to be judged by appearance for once!
    I do however totally relate to what you have said. I always write with the thought in mind someone I know Could find it and read it. Just in case. That alone holds back my honesty at times. Plus a few select friends and family know about my blog, and I wonder if secretly everyone knows?! I have had experiences of Twitter pointing people to my blog in a ‘you may know this person’ way. No idea how or why. Have you had that?
    Xxx
    Mmt recently posted…My Sunday Photo: Happy EasterMy Profile

    • thesingleswan

      March 29, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      Hi, Yes, I have had this, but I try not to think about it. I don’t think that anyone could figure out who I am from the biodetails on my blog. If of course, someone who knew me well and knew what I had been through were to stumble across my blog they would figure it out in an instant. Fortunately my blog is not read particularly widely, so I am pretty confident that that will never happen.

      thanks for your comment. Pen x

  27. I completely agree, everyone blogs in their own way and as much as photos are nice, it’s the writing that really tells the story that connects. I am anonymous too and find it difficult, though I do post photos and use instagram I make sure they aren’t full face photos. Keep doing what you’re doing as it is the writing that counts 🙂 x
    New Mummy Blog recently posted…Wicked WednesdayMy Profile

  28. Hi Single Swan, I blog anonymously too. I would love to gain a readership but understand it will be difficulty too. I landed upon your blog actually by addressing this very issue in my “search terms.” I appreciate your struggle and understand that you are doing this for therapy (i am sure, among other things). As a counselor, I wanted to be sure to be anonymous for multiple reasons. I will continue to follow you blog. If you ever have time, please check out my first (and only) post. Many, many thanks!

    https://carriedouglasdotcom.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/pimps-dissonance-and-the-human-condition/

    Carrie

    • thesingleswan

      April 24, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      Hi Carrie,

      thanks for your comment. Good luck with your anonymous blog. I think blogging anonymously is quite a tough gig! Let me know how you get on. Take care. Pen x

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