I know this topic has been kicked around before on different blogs, but I'd like some more input. I have blogged anonymously and enjoy the freedom which comes with that medium. However as I continue seeking a call and looking at new ways to do/be church, I would like to be able to blog from that position also...where the members and friends can see me perhaps in a bit different mode. It would be a place to possibly post sermons, to dream, to wrestle with faith issues from a different perspective. Herein lies the tension...has anyone blogged in "both worlds" simultaneously, with one being anonymous and the other one not.
One of our matriarchs consulted a blogging friend, who offers this advice:
I like blogs. I'm not a priest but I have two separate blogs, one for my
daily life full of random thoughts and reports of what I ate for breakfast
and one for more structured essays.
My top two pieces of advice.
1. Remember than anything you post is being shared with the public at
large-- even if you only have three people who read your blog if something
blows up on it you can suddenly have thousands of readers from around the
world-- not all of whom are nice-- some just come to point and mock.
2. Having an a anonymous blog is no guarantee that some astute person won't
put two and two together and figure link your personal and professional
lives and publish that information (see rule 1).
Jan who blogs at Church for Starving Artists adds:
My church blog has always been non-anonymous/attached to my name. Frankly I am a snarky enough person that I don't trust myself to write comments without a filter or a means of making me control my semi-mean commentary. Example: I can imagine coming home from a Presbytery meeting so frustrated that I'd make unnecessarily catty comments about somebody's hair or something.
Even with my name attached, I've written posts that might disqualify me from a specific call, but my thought is that it's important to be the real me and if something I wrote keeps me from serving a certain congregation then I probably wouldn't be a good fit for them anyway. It's really important to be the person we really are - and for churches to convey who they really are too.
We all know both pastors and churches that pretended to be someone they aren't to receive a call/call a new pastor. Not pretty in the long run.
My Ask the Matriarch co-chair Ann writes:
Blogging under my own name reminds me to be mindful that anyone may be reading and that what I write will float around cyberspace for a long time. I put my sermon notes up - my thinking process towards a sermon and will often add what actually came out in the pulpit. Parishioners can see how it becomes a sermon or not!! I occasionally do controversial subjects - but mainly about how I came to that position or how it is playing out in the church and society. Those blogs I will let sit over night before posting. I have not blogged anonymously - don't really think that is possible as some techno savvy person can always track down who is behind most any blog. It is a fantasy in my opinion to think no one will find out. My rule is don't put anything in a blog that I don't want the whole world to know. That being said I think blogging is a great way to reach out to people who are seeking -- both those in the church you serve and beyond. I am always surprised (usually pleasantly) when someone comments on mine or the essays I write for other venues.
Great question...great insights! What wisdom or insight from your own experiences would you add?
May you live in God's amazing grace+