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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ask the Matriarch - Nomme de Blog

Next Monday is the 5th anniversary of RevGalBlogPals! As we look back at the history of this virtual community and our journey together, it's a great time to reflect on our question this week and offer our own perspectives. Remember the excitement (and maybe anxiety) of starting your own blog? Our question this week comes from a new minister who is ready to take that plunge:

I am ready to start a blog, but I am stumped at how to pick a good name. Of course, it seems that all the really cool names are owned by Rev Gals! LOL. Seriously, I don't know if my creative juices are just low, or if I am over thinking it, or what.

I don't have a extremely clear focus for my blog either. It's largely going to be a place where I can post my sermons, talk about books I am reading, ramble about things that happen or that I notice. I am in the transitional stage from seminarian to first call pastor, so I can't really claim either identity, which also makes it hard to find a good name.

How does one go about picking a clever name? What are some tips I should know before starting a blog? Any advice is welcome!

Jennifer writes:
I really like what one fine Rev Gal did and named her blog “Clever Title Here”. I thought that was brilliant!! (Hooray, Teri!)

Is it important to you that the title be clever, or would it be more helpful to just get started blogging, and see where it goes? Perhaps you’d want to consider whether your blog will be pseudonymous or if you’ll use your real name. If it’s the former, you can adopt a name and call your blog _____’s Blog. Or you can use your real name and call it __________ (insert name here)’s blog. 

Transitions might work as a name. I like “rambling” in the title…

Ruth, who blogs at Sunday's Coming, offers:
As you see, I just use my name, rather than a cool Avatar! - so I can’t help with that question.

But on blogging more generally: I think one important choice to make is whether you are going to write your blog anonymously or whether you will identify yourself. If you are identified, you need to remember that whatever you write is ‘public’ - not a space to grumble about people or events. The downside of an anonymous blog is that you can’t easily use it for discussion purposes in the church you serve, or you will ‘blow your cover’. I suppose your decision is whether it is primarily personal diary/ reflection space or something for others to read and discuss...

My lectionary-based blog is public: I set it up to discuss sermons & stuff with the people I work with – but now get about 200 hits a week from who-knows-where. But sometimes I wish there was a space for more risky, anonymous thoughts and reflections: maybe one day I’ll set up a second, anonymous space.

Jump in & enjoy!

And mompriest writes:
Oh, yes... I understand, there are so many creative blog-titles that people have created. For me the blog title criteria, as I was creating it and naming it with the intention of participating in the RevGals blog ring, needed to relate to my faith journey. I wanted a title I would not outgrow any time soon and could be relevant for both personal and professional reflections. Originally I blogged anonymously but since I joined Christian Century I am no longer anonymous even though I still use my pseudonym. 

In terms of what I share on the blog: I always speak from my perspective and try not to make it personal about others. I want to respect the integrity of others, even on those occasions when I have wanted to rant. On those occasions I try to rant about the situation and not the people. I post my sermons on the blog, play the RevGals Friday Five, and post the Sunday Prayer for RevGals when I have written it. Often I  write a piece I call, Monday Morning Musings, to offer a reflection on the week past and the week to come. Sometimes I play "Meme's" that float around the blog-world which are usually aimed at asking some general but slightly more personal information than one might others post. And occasionally I post a poem that has been meaningful to me. I always try to write mindful that search committees and parishioners may find me and read the blog. I want it to be a place that reveals a bit about me, but with integrity. I'm not a very good writer nor am I terribly creative or witty, but blogging is place where I find community, support, and friendship, and for that reason I value my blog. I hope you find blogging to be fruitful for you and a place of community.

Thank you, matriarchs, for your thoughtful responses. We would love to hear from the rest of you. Got an idea for how our colleague might pick a name for her blog? Or do you have some wisdom to share about what has worked and not worked for you when it comes to actually writing the blog? What challenges have you dealt with as a clergy-blogger? Please share in the comments!
And our queue is empty once again. Send us your questions at askthematriarch[at]gmail[dot]com.


  1. I can only echo the comment that the decision to pseudonymous or use your real identity is probably the biggest choice. When I started blogging almost 5 years ago almost everyone was pseudonymous but that seems less true now; there are advantages and disadvantages either way, and you should consider if you want to be found by your parishioners or if you want to be more private.

    As for my name: my kids were in elementary school when I was in grad school and we used to joke that when I finished they would have to call me "Dr. Mom." They were in college when I was in seminary, and we joked more about all the things that they 'might' call me when I was ordained, and Rev. Dr. Mom was born. So it was a natural when I needed a pseudonym, and worked as a blog title as well.

    I don't think titles have to be clever--just chose something that speaks to *you*--that's how/why I use Robert Frost's "The Road Less Traveled" in my tag line; to me, it fits my life.

    And welcome to the blogging community!

  2. There are times that I would like to NOT be public, but because it is public, it requires that I "self edit". And that's not a bad thing.

    My title came from one of my favorite pieces of music (Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony") and expresses my trust in the process of God's work in my life and the world.

    Blogging has become less frequent for me and I just realized how much I need the process of writing and honing (and self-editing) to understand the events in my life.

  3. I've bridged the 'anonymous/real' divide by using my real first name (which is pretty unusual) but a childhood avatar. My blog can't be searched for on Google, but if someone I know finds me they will probably pick up enough to know it's me. The blog name was my passionate refrain on moving to a new country and a new denomination with what seemed to me to be incrediby confining structures and a classic 70's logo. I'm better adjusted a few years later, and the 'set the bird free' passion remains with less of the angst and frustration of a new migrant

  4. I use a pseudonym that is a childhood version of my name, but I link most of my posts to my facebook page, so in that regard, there are a lot of people who know who I am.

    I've also begun experimenting with writing password protected posts because of the wide variety of people who are my facebook friends. (You may read whatever into that you need to.) :) I haven't posted them yet, but I've written them. It's a start.

    I've had a few identities since the beginning of RGBP, and abandoned one that was quite well known when my life suddenly changed in some traumatic ways. I needed to let that part of my life be finished.

    My most recent blog title actually comes from the lyrics of a Jason Mraz song, "I'm Yours." Its a way of acknowledging the journey I've been on this past year.

  5. having just begun blogging 2 1/2 months ago, yours is still a fresh scenario for me. i had no idea where to begin, just sensed i needed to do this as part of ministry as a new pioneer minister. i emailed the webdesigner of a friend's website, who guided me to the simplest possible blog set up at - as simple as writing an email and clicking send!
    as to choosing a name and what to post, i'd suggest clarifying your purpose. mine was to provide opps for infusing and inspiriting. maybe there's a word or phrase that will identify the purpose of your blog or identify you or what you're about..God's the initiator, so if you're being directed to do this, ask for the answers to your questions..
    i have to say it's been the most fun thing to research and release posts meaningful to me then watch the viewing tally climb. which means others are being infused, fulfilling the intended purpose of the blog. cool!

  6. A new adventure! Yes!
    You've had great advice. Hopefully you're ready to begin looking forward to it with anticipation rather than trepidation. Especially if it's a desire that's been planted in your heart from God. Allow it time to grow. Ask God for creativity, the ultimate source for all things creative,then water the ideas that show up and watch what grows ...
    We should find your creatively named blog and suitable postings in no time.
    Be blessed in your dreaming, planting and tending...

  7. As the writer of Clever Title Here, blogging since 2002, I will note that I actually intended to put a clever title there, and then two things happened. 1--I never came up with one. 2--I realized that (at that time) I couldn't change the name of my blog without also changing the URL. I don't think that's true on blogger any longer, but at the time it seemed an unnecessary hassle. In those two things, a third thing happened as well: a realization that this is what life is like--just a little unfinished, always with more things to plug in.

    I agree that deciding whether to be anonymous or not is the biggest issue. there are many times when I wish my blog was anonymous...which is one reason i blog less frequently now (or I blog at my other, no-names-no-links space sometimes). For the most part, though, I've been happy to have a publicly searchable blog. Just know that it's easy to find you, and think about what you write!


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