I've been thinking lately about reframing my blog so that I wouldn't really care if colleagues knew I had a blog. I still don't want to put my name on the blog so that students don't track it down (not that I spend much time bitching about students, I think, but I do try to keep them out of my personal life), and I would keep the TypePad feature of not having the blog searchable by Google, but I would eliminate some of my more specific grumbling and would relax about folks from FGS stumbling across the blog.
Really this is about my recognizing that I'm already blogging with enough specificity that my pseudonymity would be blown in an instant if anyone from FGS stumbled across the blog. For awhile I was trying to talk about separate things on Facebook and the blog, but that got kind of annoying and hard to keep track of, so I've gotten very sloppy about that and will now often refer to the same event on the same day in both locations. And there are some specific things that I would have liked to blog about but didn't because they seemed a little too unusual, and it would be lovely not to worry about that and just blog away. Plus there are things such as blogging about my Dangerous Word essay that are distinctive enough that it's silly for me to maintain the illusion of anonymity.
And actually, the only reason that it would make me unhappy to be discovered by my colleagues is that I have sometimes bitched about someone at school -- but really only about a few folks, since for the most part I actually like my colleagues and my job and get along pretty well. Now, it would in fact be a loss not to be able to talk frankly when the shit hits the fan at school, as it will occasionally do in even the best of places, and it was a great comfort to be able to blog in May about the interpersonal drama within the department. But it's also true that just this March I blogged about wanting to do less bitching and moaning in general and about colleagues specifically -- a resolution I broke only two months later -- and maybe being more open about my identity would keep me more honest. And, really, it's not like I'm still at St. Martyr's, where things were truly dire; life at FGS is pretty darned good most of the time, and maybe complaining freely on my blog interferes with my being as regularly grateful as I should be. At the same time, I take seriously Jackie's experience of not being able to blog about some of the more difficult parts of her life, although maybe I'd have a middle ground of sorts between anonymity and publishing under my name. I think of folks such as Another Damned Medievalist, who doesn't have her name on her blog but whose identity is known to some folks at her school; but maybe that is constraining sometimes?
Here's my bigger concern, actually: I worry that I might not have enough interesting things to say if I'm not griping and groaning! And if that's the case, what does that say about me and my life? Honestly, this worry is the biggest obstacle in my way to more transparent blogging. But maybe being forced to find things to blog about that don't involve day-to-day bitching might inspire me to lift myself out of the quotidian and take the broader view occasionally.
If I do decide to take this route, I think I'll need to go back through my archives and remove a few grumbling posts and modify a few others; what do you think the professional ethics of such a move are, since I'm sort of rewriting history then? And what other issues have I not thought through in contemplating this slight shifting of my blogging identity? (I have already for years been trying to blog such that it doesn't affect D. and her professional identity, so I think any change I make won't affect her particularly.)
In a way, it's funny to be wrestling with this issue now when I've been blogging for almost 6 years, but of course my life has changed a lot in these last 6 years, so maybe it makes sense to keep revisiting my authorial decisions.