Monday, November 20, 2006

Dr. Crazy Speaks!!

As for my situation, some background: First of all, this isn't the first time I've outed myself! It was the first time I was outed by another blogger (though that was innocent, actually), but I was threatened by someone with potentially being outed last year. The threat of being outed definitely changed my voice as a blogger.

My first version of my blog (at another address) tended to be a bit harsher, and when somebody threatened to out me, I really did a lot of soul-searching about whether that was a persona I was comfortable with revealing to the outside world, especially as I talk about issues related to my profession. That was when I moved over to reassigned time, and I am very comfortable with my persona in that space.

My reasons for keeping the pseudonym are basically that I do feel a greater comfort level with posting spontaneously, and that is important, I think, to the genre. If I wanted to write a series of essays, or if I wanted to write only about my academic field of specialty, I don't think that I'd choose to do so on a blog mainly because I'd want to publish that material in a more traditional form. Blogging works for me precisely because I keep it separate from my professional writing life, even though I touch on issues related to my profession in posts and even though I do feel that blogging is central to keeping me engaged in my profession.

I suppose a good analogy to make would be that the difference between writing for publication and blogging is much like the difference between participating in classroom formal classroom discussion and chatting with friends about something that you're thinking about related to a class that you're taking. In the conversation with friends, you're more free to try out ideas without worrying about what effect they'll have on your grade; in blogging, you're more free to try out ideas without worrying what effect they'll have on your prospects for tenure or your professional reputation.

That's not to say that one is unaware of audience or that one doesn't want to do good posts. It's more to say that one can be a bit more rough around the edges and that it's productive to have a space with an actual audience in which to be rough around the edges. Ultimately, I don't think that all of the drama of this week will affect my blogging much. I think if anything it's had a positive effect - more readers have come out of the woodwork to post comments, and I've gotten a lot of support in the endeavor that my blog has become. I'm under no illusions that I can keep my real life identity "secret" - that's not been what this is about for me. I think it's more that I want to keep this space what I want it to be, and for now, the way to do that is to keep my real life identity a kind of open secret, if that makes any sense. I've never aspired to be a "big blog" and I have no interest in becoming some sort of professional blogger.

The fact that as many people have found my blog and read it as they do is a constant source of amazement to me - I can't honestly believe so many people are interested! - but I do like the community of bloggers of which I am a part, and I like that this is one writing space for me that is not bound up with achievement even though it is writing for an audience.I feel like I'm rambling, so I'll stop. Feel free to share this comment with your students (whether on the blog or in class), and if they have questions for me, you can feel free to email them along to me and I'll try to respond to them if I can.

Thanks for the note, and I'm glad that my drama is being used for a good purpose!Dr. Crazy

1 comment:

joeydee said...

I think I have a similar philosophy to her, as long as it doesn't mean compromising or watering down an author's viewpoint for the sake of internet harmony.