04 April 2006

Outing Edubloggers

Two of my regular reads: TinyNose and The Portable Princess are now ensconced in new digs. Both of them felt the need to move based on the discoveries and/or suggestions of others in their "real worlds." Within the last year, I know that Mr. McNamar over at The Daily Grind and Coach Brown at A Passion for Teaching and Opinions had to face some real world opinions about their blogs. They do seem to be the exception to the rule, however, in the sense that they do keep their actual names on their blogs. Most of us create some sort of alias.

Do I worry about being "outed"? Occasionally. But there are people in my district who know I write this (such as my Boss Lady) and stop by once in awhile to read. One of them asked me if I was ever concerned about someone seeing something here that they didn't like or thought shouldn't be posted. It's possible, but my basic rule of thumb is to not say something here that I wouldn't say to someone's face (not that I use anyone's real name). They might not like my opinions, although I think they would be fair enough to admit that I don't appreciate all of theirs, either. I hope that they would understand that they are personal opinions about professional situations. I do stray from that from time to time.

So why use an alias? I think it has to do with trying to maintain some distance and privacy. Teachers, after all, tend to be semi-public figures. In our communities, we are often in contact with the families who use our schools and it can be rare to have any sort of anonymity. This virtual space is separate spot to organize and communicate without the direct influence of the parents, kids, and staff I regularly see. I like that.

In the end, I guess that all of us edubloggers have to make some hard choices about what we share and who we share it with---both on-line and in the daily lives. For those of you who have had to move around because you were outed (or almost outed), best wishes for your new homes. May you have as much anonymity as you desire.


graycie said...

You've explained clearly something that I have felt, but not really been able to articulate. Sometimes I wish that some of my colleagues (including my department chair) could read my "stuff' -- I'd like to show off a bit. However, I have been reluctant to tell them who I am here. You've explained why. Thanks for clarifying my thoughts for me.

the anonymous teacher said...

you've just described exactly how i feel. i keep my blog anonymous, because i don't get any privacy in real life...i need it in some aspect of my life. i choose the blog world because it's the easiest place to find that anonymity. it's so easy to get lost in the mass of information that is the internet.

excellent job articulating what most of us who keep our blogs anonymous feel.

Christine said...

With the exception of my posts about the AP from Hell (tm), I don't think I've posted anything that would point to my school. I doubt you noticed, but the AP posts didn't make the move to the new digs.

I don't think I'm saying anything that would get me in any kind of trouble. I go out of my way to mask the identity of my kids and co-workers. I like being able to write about what goes on at my school without fear of someone with whom I work reading it, though it really wouldn't be the end of the world by any measure.

I work in such a small town that would make my school and students easily identifiable if the town was mentioned. That is what caused me to change my name - carelessness on my part. Lesson learned. :)

Anonymous said...

There was one point where I got nervous about when a student discovered me, mainly because she figured out my "secret" code of only using student initials in a post in which I expressed concern about one student's immaturity, and she demeaned him in comments. Granted, I'm 98% he's never found the sight, but that was not what I wanted.

So now I generally follow your rule of thumb, and if I have concerns about particular students, I "protect" those entries so only people I know and have selected can read them--primarily teachers.

But I have even gone so far as to link my blog to my class page. I think it might be valuable for some community members to see what kind of efforts are actually going into these classes.