Somehow – and much to my dismay, now that most of the day is behind me – I ended up tumbling down an internet rabbit hole today and venturing through blogs (and blog entries on still
flourishing existing blogs) from yesteryear.*
When I looked back at those blogs (and early entries here), there were so many more anonymous/pseudonymous posts and bloggers than today. Is it just my imagination, or maybe the circles that I read in? If not, what accounts for these differences?
Have those same bloggers become more comfortable with the venue, and so switched to their given names? Has that cadre of bloggers become tenured or more comfortable with their prospects of being so in the near future, and so less worried about being visible on blogs? Is it a shift in topics (perhaps less complaining about colleagues, more exchanges of lofty ideas)? Is it the legitimacy of blogging that came with increasing numbers of high-status academics engaging in it? Is it that bloggers who sign their names to their ideas are more likely to continue blogging, as there’s more of a reputation – even if just as someone who sticks with things – to uphold? Is it a Facebook foot-in-the-door effect, where having our given names such a central part of so many people’s online lives makes us more comfortable using them elsewhere, including on blogs? My own guess is that it’s some combination of the above (and likely factors I didn’t think to include), but I’d like to hear what others think. Do those same people roam these blogs, just less disguised, or are participants in the academic blogosphere significantly different in the age of declining anonymity?
*To provide some context, I started reading blogs in the summer of 2006.