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Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.


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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Unm-ask Shifra

As I've mentioned in the past I'm one of those bloggers who is only semi-anonymous.

I'm no one famous.
I don't have a high profile job or prestigious relatives to protect.
My blog is pretty pareve - and I've not received one death threat to date.
So why do I worry?
It's not because I want to keep my identity a secret from strangers, but rather because I don't want my friends and relatives to know it's me behind this keyboard.

Lately my world has been getting smaller and smaller and all of the sudden I have much reason to believe that many more people in my (real) life know that Ask Shifra and I are one in the same. While it's true that the things I write here are my true thoughts and feelings, it's somehow a lot harder to put myself out there when I know that people I will see everyday/week/month are reading what I'm writing.

Who do I think I am after all - giving out advice, blabbing about my family, friends, coworkers and neighbors?! It's just so much harder (not to mention more restrictive) when you know that people that you will need to answer to are reading what you write.

So I've got to consider my next move:
Do I proceed as if I don't know that my friends and relatives know?
Do I go a less personal route online?
Do I give it up?

I've heard from other bloggers (who apparently are better at this that I am) that they are often engaged in conversation by friends or relatives about their very own blogs where the other party doesn't not know they are speaking to the author.
That's pretty scary too.

Anyway it's a lot to think about but writing and helping others are two of my favorite things in the world and it won't be easy to give this gig up.

12 Comments:

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Malka Esther said...

Good luck with whatever you decide. Its a hard decision to make. You will be missed if you decide to go. But your readers will understand.

 
At 11:25 AM, Blogger Elie said...

I think the decision boils down to how many individuals you wrote about would recognize themselves and possibly be offended by something you wrote. In my perception, with the possible exception of your mother in-law ;-), I can't think of any such cases that should cause you concern. You've usually been very careful to maintain not only your own anonymity but also that of others.

 
At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been wondering about blogger anonymity and did a kallah magazine post on it. Then when I responded to one of the famous bloggers who carefully conceals her true identity, I realized that she would probably not feel free to talk about her daughter if her name were known. Her daughter would feel very embarrassed to know that she was being subject to comments by many people in the blog sphere

 
At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Ariella said...

I was thinking about blogger anonymity and did a kallah magazine post on it. It occurred to me when replying to a blogger who keeps her name a secret that she would not feel free to discuss her daughter in a post if people really knew who she was.

 
At 3:54 PM, Blogger Ezzie said...

Interesting question, especially as I'm *not* anonymous and have family members and friends who read my blog. It's interesting, because I don't think that it's caused me not to write anything I wanted to.

Your concern that people will react negatively to your advice-giving, though, is a good one, but I think thou dost worry too much. Your advice is good, solid, sensible advice - well thought-out. Who could have a problem with such a thing? If they truly know you, they probably ask for and receive your advice all the time, just as you do of them.

I dunno - my attitude has always been "I'm going to say what I really think. If you have a problem with it, let me know [in the comments, via e-mail, via phone]. If you're right, I'll acknowledge it. If you're just being a jerk, I probably don't care. And if I simply disagree, it happens. I don't have to agree with you on everything."

To date, total number of relatives/friends whose relationship with me has deteriorated: 0. If anything, it's picked up with a bunch, as we see a side we may not normally.

One other note: Being "known" helps keep you from saying stupid things you shouldn't be saying. It's a good trait in general, but one which won't affect your blog based on what you've written since I started reading.

 
At 3:54 PM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

This is the exact reason why I do not share any such personal info... I would say do everythign the same except talk about people in your life....

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

give it up!!!

 
At 7:50 AM, Blogger Mirty said...

I still hesitate to put my last name on the blog because I would rather the kids not read it. (As you know, I vent a lot about them.)

 
At 1:36 PM, Blogger BrooklynJewishGuy said...

Shifra, I agree. Whatever you decide is ok with us. But please, please, please. Finish your soap opera before you close up this blog. Otherwise, I don't want to say what will happen. Months and months of suspense, it's too much to bear.

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Good luck! Just when I started on your blog.

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger Anshel's Wife said...

I know how you feel. I closed up my old blog and started up another because I was found out by some locals. It's hard to close up something that I worked so hard on and loved doing. But now I've started fresh and feel less pressure to produce (because now hardly anyone knows I'm there) and feel better that I've changed the way I blog (more topic/issue oriented, rather than complaining about people.

 
At 12:56 AM, Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der ┼íteg) said...

You might also get complimented!

I was staying by friends for Shabbos and bumped into a sort of distant acquaintance and fellow teacher who recognized me not only as my RL self but also as my blog. And they said they like what i write.

I just spout weirdness, you actually give people good advice! So i don't think you have anything to worry about.

 

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