Employees who blog under a pseudonym, and are outed, often lose their jobs. Despite the supposed anonymity of the Internet, their bosses figure it out sooner or later. A 2009 article in CNN lists numerous coming-out stories – most with unhappy endings.
So beware… if you don’t want your boss to read it, you probably shouldn’t be blogging it.
Obvious? Yes. But it’s oh so tempting to think no one will figure out who you are. Remember the lowly Senate staffer Jessica Cutler? When she wasn’t sorting mail, she blogged graphically about her sexual exploits with senior staffers and a married Bush administration official. She called herself Washingtonienne.
Her blog was discovered, and outed, by blogger and political columnist Ana Marie Cox in 2004. Cutler lost her job in Sen. Mike DeWine’s (R – OH) office and was sued. Subsequently, however, she was in a Playboy spread and got a book deal with Hachette (reportedly worth $300,000) to write a novel based on her exploits. You can still find her book, The Washingtonienne, on Amazon.
Internet expert Dave Taylor makes the point that sometimes you need to be anonymous when you want to bring to light serious problems in your workplace, whether it’s sexual harassment or criminal activity.
My response is this: perhaps blogging isn’t the way to do it. There are both technical and practical considerations to remaining anonymous. It’s trickier than you might think, involving digital encryption and using Virtual Private Networks. See the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s Legal Guide for Bloggers, which covers tips for How to Blog Safely.
And on the site Comparitech, How to blog anonymously: a guide for activists, whistleblowers and journalists.
Updated June 2017