Thursday, March 8, 2012

Need help and advice from more experienced bloggers

I have been offered an opportunity to be a contributor to a blog on a very large, well established website for a very well known firearms periodical.  As someone who grew up reading this magazine, along with several others- this is a huge deal for me.  I'm very excited for the opportunity.

They want me to use my real name.  This is something I have not done since I was a dumb kid in college- as a matter of fact, last time I egosurfed my name, I found a post I made on a military vehicles message board my freshman year in college.  I like to compartmentalize my online life- even to the point that I use a different name on message boards than I do on the blog.

I know that nothing done online is truly private, and if any one of you wanted to really know who I am, you could do it.  You could probably get back to me with my shoe size, amazon purchase history, and what kind of naughty stuff I look at online.  I'm not worried about that.

Here is what worries me- My 'day job' is a customer facing deal where I interact with fairly tech savvy individuals in a very liberal industry.  I am concerned that someone Googles my name, and coming up with an article that states why the .30 Carbine is my choice for Zombies, why the CZ-75 kicks the Glock's butt, or solutions for daily carry while wrangling pre-schoolers.

I don't want this great opportunity to be the cause of me losing my job or impacting my ability to provide for my family. 

Suggestions?  Should I use initials, or my middle name?  Just 'come out' and stop hiding behind screen names?  Create another nom de plume, or do the Mike Venturino thing and just start saying "Oh, everyone calls me this really cool nickname, and always has.  Seriously."

Help a blogger out.


  1. If they are not willing to consider your privacy, then honestly I wouldn't consider their offer to be appealing. The article doesn't have to be signed That Guy, but you can use a human-sounding pseudonym.

    If this firearms periodical doesn't allow you that, I'd like to know the periodical name, because I won't trust them for anything.

  2. I'm with North on this one. Unless your compensation to the Blog equals or surpasses your day job, I would protect that gig.

    OTOH, If not for some small issues I would have no problem with "full disclosure" for my online identity.

    Either way congrats on the offer none the less. I would consider it a complement in and of itself.

  3. Dittos with Keads and North.

  4. Dude, that's huge and I've always been a fan of the mag. I'm so pumped for you, but at the same time agree with North and Keads. Maybe if you ran it by them with North's suggestion of a nom de guerre they would understand. I know where you're coming from. Figuring out who you are from your blog vs Googling "John Doe" and pulling stuff up just like that are two wholly different things.

  5. Honestly, I've never really cared if someone knew who I was or not. Any real geek could search me out in mere moments. But, then again I have reached the C.O.G. point in my life - Crotchety Old Guy - and really don't care what other folks think about me.

    What can you learn from this new position? Will it take you on a path more in-line with where you want to go with your life? Are your fears about your current work environment well founded or imagined? Would they pitch you overboard if they found this blog?

    Is the name thing a deal breaker for your new company? Share your concerns and ask if they would be OK with a pen name. Is there someone you trust in your current job that you could hash this out with there? Remember, there is no shame in being a sheepdog, you protect the flock. That's something to be proud of, it's something that helps define you and set you apart from the sheep.

    And, after all this shakes out, just trust you will make the right decision, it will all work out as it is meant to.

  6. I'm with North & Keads, too. Like you, I've not posted my last name on my blog, but just about anyone could find it.

    But the big-time deal you're talking about ought to include them understanding your position. If they don't, it's not right for you.

  7. I have asked the guy that I'll be working with if I can use a slight variation of my name for the byline. Normally, I would just tell them I want to use "Steve Smith" and go- but it would be cool if I could actually leverage this into doing some freelance writing or something to blossom into a side career.

    Thanks for the input!

  8. I don't have any advice, but congrats! Very exciting!

  9. Very exciting. Hopefully, they will be good with you using a variation on your name. It sounds like a great opportunity

  10. Thanks for the input and encouragement, everyone.

    This is pretty small, but pretty cool. It would be like a normal kid growing up and posting on Mad Magazine. 'cept I wasn't normal... and it's gun stuff. But essentially the same.

  11. "'cept I wasn't normal..."

    Really? This is the first I'm hearing of this.

  12. I think that Samuel Clemens might ask Mark Twain this question...

    Dann in Ohio

  13. Wouldn't be the first time you came out...

  14. I think you should use the first and last name you spontaneously started calling yourself when you were three!!

    I hope you can work out the privacy issue so you can take this opportunity. When I write letters to the editor I have a pseudonym that is a variation of my real name and so far it's kept me from getting in trouble at work.

    Imagine! My brother, a columnist! And they said I was the writer in the family! This is just too cool!

  15. I have an update, and they are cool with me using a 'sorta pseudonym'. I'll post a link when my first post goes up.

    Thanks, everyone!