The Best Moment, PDX Edition

Conferences are filled with so many great moments — that a-ha moment when a speaker says something that just clicks, the moment when you meet someone who shares your interests and goals, the moments (or moments!) when you suddenly are filled with a thousand great ideas for what to do next with your blog.

I had a few of those moments today! One of them was getting to see and catch up with speaker Ariel Meadow Stallings when she arrived. As we reminisced about our early blogging days in the 2000s, there were a lot of funny memories I got to relive. Another was at lunch at the table with Doctor Who as the discussion topic. It went from Doctor Who to companions to Fringe to acupuncture to privacy vs honesty in blogging, and a few other places that were just as interesting, with mostly people I’d never met before, so that was pretty fun. And getting to see someone’s face light up when they learned about a feature in WordPress that they hadn’t known about, but had been wishing existed, was awesome, as it always is.

Did you have a best moment today? Tell us in the comments!

Anonymous Blogging

Let’s talk about what it means to be anonymous. Incognito. Unknown.

Sometimes anonymity enables freedom. I’ve read blogs and articles where authors remain anonymous because they don’t feel they can risk having their names associated with what they’ve written, and some of that personal writing is brave and beautiful and amazing.

Other times, going anonymous is a real wuss move. Commenting online, for instance, is a scenario in which anonymity can breed nasty behavior. People feel protected behind their screens, so they type things they’d never dream of saying out loud to someone’s face.

When I started my first blog, I did it without my name attached. I’m a professional writer, and at the time I started blogging, I did not want my clients to discover that when I was taking a break from, say, ghostwriting a book about cancer, I was posting send-ups of fashion ads and bizarro jokes about whatever popped into my head. It was all my writing, and I was proud of all of it, but I felt it was important to keep the professional writing and the fun writing entirely separate. Over time, the line between the two has blurred, and I’ve come out from behind the curtain a bit. That’s what I’ll be talking about in Portland, and I’m curious to know how others have navigated that issue.

Emily Austin posed a great question last week about boundaries: How much do you share about your friends and family in your blog? What about your co-workers? Is it OK as long as you don’t use their real names? Here’s a follow-up question:

How much do you reveal about yourself? What are the levels of self-disclosure between totally anonymous and 100% “out there,” and where do you feel comfortable?