To name yourself or not?


There is some activity going on in the education blogosphere currently about whether one should publish anonymously or not. Sue Cowley and @oldandrewuk are the main protagonists, one is a well-known author, the other is an unnamed blogger and tweeter. Both have good reasons for their differing approaches.

The author of this blog

The author of this blog

I have to admit I was very cautious when first engaging with social media as an employee of a traditional organisation, the Royal Society. Would I get reprimanded if my superiors thought I had written something they considered of reputational risk? This had come up when Professor Reverend Michael Reiss, our Director of Education, resigned in 2008. Based on a conference speech and an accompanying blog on how to tackle the raising of creationism by students in science lessons, he was quoted out of context by a journalist keen for a sensationalist headline. This produced a storm of criticism from Fellows of the Royal Society, sparked off perhaps unintentionally by Richard Dawkins, who likened Michael’s appointment to something out of Monty Python.

When I left the Education Section of the Royal Society last year, I decided to start up my own business. My first step was to set up this blog which I did anonymously and it continues without a named author. I also began tweeting more regularly under a pseudonym which I had used occasionally as a ‘constrained’ employee @nico_ursman. Finally I launched my business website (education knowledge brokering) and over time I connected the 3 social media entities so it was clear that it all came back to one known person.

So the buck stops with me whether you like what I say or not, though I try not to deliberately offend or antagonise. I blog under 3 categories depending on mood and perceived relevance – sometimes I think posts comes under all of them as with this one, since it mentions my business, what I do and contains my personal views.

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2 thoughts on “To name yourself or not?

    • Yes I agree, but in some cases there is a fear of consequences for your employment or even litigation. Clearly it depends on what you say and how you say it.

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