Monday, June 23, 2008

wouldn't you like to know

I've been thinking a lot lately about the level of anonymity I'd like to aim for in this blog. It seems that most of the blogs that I read strike this balance somewhere between complete disclosure and "complete" anonymity (with most leaning towards anonymity). What seems more likely is that these bloggers strive for the illusion of anonymity, since nobody with an IP address is truly anonymous.

It seems like plenty of law student blogs eventually are removed or password protected, which I assume is a reaction intended to protect a blogger (Silly Little Law Student where are you? I miss your cheekiness). Whether its a move to preserve career prospects or a reaction to snoopy classmates, significant self-censorship might take the fun out of the entire venture (just ask Butterflyfish). Maybe in retrospect many students decide that they have simply shared too much, or that they are embarrassed by the naivete of their posts.

Do students always start out by over-disclosing and eventually reign things in? I have noticed that some of my fellow almost-1Ls, like Terra Nullius and A Woman in Law School have even posted their pictures on their blogs. I'm not willing to go that far, but I'm also kind of a weenie. I really admire their willingness to be up-front about what they are doing and to truly own their statements and opinions. But isn't part of the fun of blogging the fact that you can blow off some of that law school pressure by venting about all of the crazy people you have to interact with? Thanks, But No Thanks's snarkiness is what I LOVE about her blog and I suspect if she filtered more of her writing it wouldn't be nearly as funny.

There is speculation over whether a blogger should even aim for anonymity, like in this especially good post. I get that. "Anonymity" may be a tempting cover for the wide practice of acting like a moron on the internet. Very un-Dude.

I'd like to set the tone early, in part to have some sort of guide and in part to just keep myself from being as asshole. But I'm blunt and cheeky and not-always-super-nicey-nice in real life, so why should I change that for a blog? Ok, so I don't act this way towards my boss, but I don't hide this side of my personality either. Trying to remain as anonymous as possible (by not checking or posting in class, not telling anyone about my blog etc) feels a little deceptive. Is there a way to achieve balance?

Probably, I shouldn't worry so much about it now. I should do what works for me, while it works for me, until it doesn't. And then I change. Its not necessarily an admission of defeat to remove or password protect a blog, and its not a revision of the past either. It is a revision of the present. For now I'll just try to keep on keepin on.


myterranullius said...

I've actually been blogging for three years in August, though not all at my current blog. At this point, I've got facebook, myspace, flickr, and my blog so I figure anonymity is sort of a moot point. I struggled with the idea of whether or not to start a new anonymous blog for law school, and decided not to.

I'm not going to name names, though I did not keep the name of my school out of things - anyone who reads my blog will know which school I attend. I'm not going to say anything about anyone I wouldn't say to their face (a piece of advice from another blogger). Otherwise, I'm just not going to put it out there for the world to see. I have real-life friends and family I can vent to just like people used to do before blogs were a possibility. :)

Silly Little Law Student said...

I'm only temporarily underground. A couple friends of mine have had their anon blogs come up during background checks for jobs (private companies hired by private firms). As I have currently interviewed for a job with a private firm, I thought it would be best to lock down until I hear one way or another.

I actually moved my blog to wordpress after having been discovered by some not so nice classmates (who thankfully enough are no longer classmates) who caused a lot of trouble for me during my 1L year. Since then I have significantly censored myself about all things.

Never fear though, when I resurface (which I assume will be Tuesday night) there will be plenty to read :)

Silly Little Law Student said...

PS I notice that you are a mac user as well ... and if you are worried about posting during class, I use a spiffy little app called "Ecto". I use this to blog during class (or meetings) all the time.

And as for the achieving balance thing.... it can be done. I chose to use pseudonyms for anyone I blog about as well as places I blog about (including my school).

Once upon a time I was just as snarky as Sharon from Thanks But No Thanks... but then it bit me in the ass. So ultimate snarkiness gets hidden behind a password-post now.

Feel free to i.m. (sillylittlelawst) or email me anytime

Strange Bird said...

I don't really post anything that I haven't told friends and classmates, except for maybe my net worth (which is its own kind of embarrassing, but not the kind that could get me into trouble). I still use a pseudonym because, even though I know anonymity is an illusion, I'd rather keep my institutional accomplishments at the top of Google searches for my name than my very silly, self-indulgent, rarely-on-topic blog.

Kel said...

I completely agree with Terra Nullius. While I intend to keep it real I will try to keep the venting under control. No one wants to read a blog aimed at venting anyway.
In terms of the pic I wanted any readers to know that I'm real. I've noticed that there is no shortage of law student's pictures of their children.

You raise good questions though and I too would like to know where that fine balance is.

Jason said...

Screw the law school crap, I want to read more about your harrowing encounters with feral fowl.

no634 said...

I decided not to do the anonymous thing. We'l see how it goes. Goodluck!

The Legal Optimist said...

It's great to find another 0L blogging. I was just considering this question and have come to the same conclusion. I'll strike a balance that I'm comfortable with and as the blog continues I may decide to share more and more.

Choosing a more secretive route may work best if you foresee yourself using your blog to let off some steam about classmates or co-workers. I'm going to leave myself this option just in case.

You can see on my blog that I am way too positive right now, so it might get colorful if I eventually snap. It would certainly humor a 3L or two.