When we first start blogging, some of us shy bloggers do absolutely everything we can to keep others from finding out who we really are. Hiding ourselves under different names, shielding our privacy, moderating comments, keeping our own secrets.
We are like a closed flower, blooming for only a select few.
The internet is a big and bad we were told, don’t divulge anything, to anyone, especially your private details.
That person you think might be a new friend could be intent on impersonating you and stealing all of your information.
Gradually as we wander through other blogs we relax our standards a bit, sharing a few details, using our real names with those whom we have started to trust.
We even become comfortable enough to let it slip where we live, and what we do, opening up slightly like a dandelion in the morning sunshine.
We’d marvel from afar at the open book bloggers, those who tell all, share lots, showing images of their children, name their spouses, and even, horrors of horrors posting their real birthdays.
And then we would read about a blogger who had images stolen, or blogs hacked, and that would be too much for us to bear.
Our quietly opening flowers suddenly snapped tight again in fear at what was out there.
We shy bloggers might have spent the next little while purging any pertinent data from our old posts.
Was my husband’s real name in that post, shudder and hit delete.
Ack, there is a hand, with a wedding ring on it in this photo, what to do?
Delete, delete, delete.
After awhile we become comfortable again with our level of openness, familiarity breeding not contempt, but contentment.
We might ask ourselves, who reads our blog anyways, who cares, what would they do with anything I write about? So we open up like a flower in the sun once again, spread our petals to the warmth of the blogging community, and bask in the warm light.
We find our middle ground, our patch of garden that lets us bloom, and flourish like the flowers that we want to be. We still have our internal blogging rules, the unspoken ones that allow us to share, but still be secret enough to quiet the scared voices in our heads.
While Muddy Boot Dreams might have started as my home based business, selling greeting cards and images, it’s been the last 6 years blogging that I have really started to dabble in social media. I have seen it grow in many directions, pages on Facebook, tweets on Twitter, Instagram feed, website, and more.
Meticulously commenting as Muddy Boot Dreams, I lived, breathed and was MBD in my interaction on social media. I worked hard at promoting the name, the brand, the image.
What I didn’t want to face up to was that with a bit of digging almost anything can be found out anyone on the internet. So blogging under MBD didn’t hide my real name, and it didn’t keep me the anonymous blogger I hoped it would.
I am a real person, and not just my “brand,” trying to keep the two separate isn’t working as well as I thought it might. And what happens when I no longer wish to be MBD, and want to be Jen?
Since that little epiphany I’ve connected my blog to G+, and am now commenting as Jen Vandervoort, authentically and openly showing everyone who I am.
Well almost, my profile pictures still requiring a little digging I’m not quite as comfortable with this “real” me stuff as I pretend to be.
I realized that while MBD is a brand, I am, and will always be me, Jen.
I want to be able to say proudly to anyone, yes that’s my blog, be it a future employer, friend, neighbour, or a stranger. Those photos are the ones that I have taken, those ideas are mine, I’ve worked hard on this, and I am proud of what I am creating.
Proud enough to claim it as mine.
Wow, that’s a little scary to put out there, but so be it.
I’m owning what is written, and photographed, if it’s under Muddy Boot Dreams, or my name.
Bit by bit, I will move forward, finding out what suits me best, and make my choices as I go along. Some parts will stay, some will change.
I’m choosing to be as real as possible, without revealing every single secret I have, it’s OK with me, to be me.
In the end, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?
Believing it’s OK to be genuine, and not just a reflection of your image, style, your blog, your presence on social media.
If you have been blogging under your real name for sometime you might wonder what all the fuss is about.
For me it’s just another step forward into the light, opening up those petals to bask in the sun.
This flower is learning to bloom.
How comfortable [or not] are you with blogging under your name.
Do you use Google+ with your real name?