Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reflecting on Liberty London Girl's unmasking

Blogging is a funny game.

Some feel comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts and happenings on the web, and even build a personal brand that relies on such honesty.

Others feel that they might be compromising their careers, or not making the most of their chance to be truly honest if they don't use a pseudonym.

On Tuesday Liberty London Girl, the (previously) anonymous British fashion editor musing on her life in New York, revealed her identity in British Grazia.

Liberty London Girl, otherwise known as Sasha Wilkins, is a successful fashion editor, journalist, stylist and broadcaster. She felt that the time had finally arrived to come clean about her identity and wanted to do so before someone beat her to it. Also, from a career point of view, the positive consequences of revealing herself as the author of a multi-award winning fashion blog will likely outweigh the negatives.

I adore Sasha's blog, and unlike some, don't feel that knowing her identity will diminish the enjoyment I receive when reading about her escapades.

Sasha Wilkins, courtesy of Sasha's personal website

Sure, it changes it a bit - my imaginary LLG had a broader expression; more of a button nose. But I think most of us read others' blogs to get an insight into lives that are different to ours, likely because we believe them to be more interesting, more adventurous, more glamourous, than our own.

Perhaps reading escapades by an anonymous personage gives us a frisson of excitement: "Who is she?", we ask ourselves. "What does she look like? Is she hiding a hideous deformity behind the blue Powerpoint square she's photoshopped in to disguise her face?"

I write anonymously. Poppy is a nickname I had as a child. As a naturally cautious person I feel uncomfortable with the idea someone could google me and discover my writing, photos and personal life laid bare. Most anony-bloggers who become wildly famous are either forced to reveal their own identities, or risk having others do it for them. Chances are that most of us won't have a blog ranking in the top 1% of all websites. Remaining anonymous allows me to dip my toe in to see how I enjoy the adventure, without the risk of littering cyberspace with my personal memorabilia.

Originally I had anticipated writing more about my new job away from the corporate world. I wanted to write about the new products I'm discovering, and what I'm learning about the cosmetics industry. But I'm still feeling my way cautiously. The company I work for sells its products exclusively. Writing about my new, incredible blush, or the incredibly softening shampoo I now use will somewhat give away my employer.

I'm also in the privileged position of working closely with senior executives and helping think through new business opportunities. Highly confidential stuff. And I adore my new job: I am a valued member of the team and I am going to have a longer-lasting impact than I ever did at The Firm.

If you are a blogger, do you write under a pseudonym? Or, if using your real name, do you ever feel required to censor your writing?

Bear with me as I feel my way: it is a journey, however cliched, and I hope you enjoy the ride.


  1. I don't write anonymously. In fact my original blogspot had my full name and middle initial. I approach it from the (probably naive) position that nobody will be that interested.

    (Given that I've just spent ten minutes googling a boy I knew once, imagining that nobody will be interested is VERY naive, thinking about it.)

    I don't write about my day job, so I have nothing at stake on that front, really.

    For some reason, that photo of LLG really makes me think of Penelope Pitstop. She has the look of an English cartoon superhero to me, for some reason! (That is a compliment, FWIW.)

  2. I thought I'd need to maintain an element of anonymity when I first started my blog - I didn't include my face, my full name or any distinguishing personal information.

    However, I've found that over time, your blog can become a personal brand. When you connect with someone regularly, know their likes and dislikes and trust what their opinions, it's natural that you want to know a few details about them.

    So while I don't actively publicise who I am via the blog, you can certainly piece the information together to figure out my name, my age, my ethnicity, my job and where I live. And because I actively try to meet people in person and tell them about the blog, many people know me face to face as well.

    The benefits of 'outing' myself outweighed the disadvantages. Depending on what you'd like to do with your blog, you may find the same.

    Jetsetting Joyce

  3. When I started to blog I hid my face and did not divulge any personal details, but the feedback I got was that people wanted to get the full picture, my face is part of my whole look and style (my blog is a fashion blog). I don't discuss work as I see my blog purely as a creative outlet outside my work place. Have also found I'm getting many more hits since kinda revealing myself.

    Sleekit x

  4. Perhaps I am just at the start of the blogging learning curve, and over time will overcome my natural reticence!

    @Caroline, No - I totally agree, she does look like some kind of 50s superhero! She also looks like a English actress, whose name currently escapes me. I will research and come back to you!

    @Jetsetting Joyce - I completely see your point, and the comments you @Caroline, No and @Sleekit make are all quite valid. Meeting people on the context of the blog has occasionally been confusing, given that in my adult life I don't normally go by the name Poppy.

    But I know that I'm not the only person who uses a pseudonym - I think other bloggers just choose not to draw attention to it.

    Blogging is somewhat of an evolution, and I will keep the "identity" issue in mind as I continue writing. Though no doubt any "unveiling" won't really be as much of an occasion as that of LLG!

  5. Thank you lovely for saying such nice things about me. Your support really does mean a lot.

    And, also, "Penelope Pitstop. She has the look of an English cartoon superhero to me" That cld be one of the most fabulous things anyone has ever said about me!



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