Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On Online Identities in Blogging.

I want to begin by saying that yes, this was inspired by the recent events of #HaleGate. While I do not feel it necessary to further discuss an author who clearly has some internal struggles with narcissism and legal understanding, I do want to touch on one specific issues--that is, obviously, blogging under a pseudonym.

This is clearly something I participate in, my life has not made me lucky enough to have "Kidding" as a real last name. While I am relatively new the blogging aspect of this community, I have been reading and reviewing YA books on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. for years, and reading them for well over a decade. (I'm 25, yes that's my real age, promise.) I decided to start a blog to host my reviews when I realized that my personal To Be Read pile had reached more than 500 books (that's books OWNED ya'll, they take up my living room) and I wanted the ability to use themes, read-a-longs, etc. more often to get through them. I also looked forward to joining the book blogging community.

Having been a fan of BookTube for a little over a year now (you can see some of my favorite booktubers at the bottom of my page) I knew that my "regular life" Twitter and Facebook followers were already moderately annoyed with my tweets of books they'd never heard of or would never read. In addition, I can't even tell you how many times I'd had co-workers reach out to me because tweeting for Rafflecopter giveaways made them think that my accounts had been hacked. So when I decided to blog, I also made the decision to remove it from my "regular life".

I chose, what I think is, a cute name. I then changed my Goodreads account to that name to link it to my blog, and set up a separate Twitter and Facebook fan page. I do not believe that by doing this I have committed any sort of "crime"--I do not think that using a User Name in lieu of your legal name is by any means "catfishing" or "trolling". If for nothing that simply marketing, Jess Kidding is much more memorable than my real name.

However, Jess Kidding's opinions are no less honest, relevant, or meaningful than those expressed by individuals who write under their real names. I am no less a real person because I have chosen this. The blogger that the author we have all been talking about did not create a fake account solely to seek out of review any specific author. She created a blog with a different name in order to separate her blog from her "real life" whether that be for my reason, to ensure that my audience was interested in what I was saying, or for many other reasonable concerns--professional restrictions, religious beliefs, age, etc. This blogger was not doing anything wrong.

Simply because I prefer to keep my real name a secret, or am private with personal details, it does not mean that I am "vitriolic troll" out to "hide behind a fake persona" and "attack authors". That is not my end game here. My end game, if I have to name one, is simply to be a more vocal part of a community that I loved from the outside. Not a single other blogger has ever judged me, asked for my last name, or demanded more personal details that I was willing to share. Most authors, even those who wished to send me ARCs or giveaway prizes, never hesitated or paused at a name that is clearly made up. To attack a blogger for this disconnect is absurd, and I felt the need to express that.

I thank you, anyone reading this, for listening to this post. I love this community, and I am upset at the negative light that one author has brought to this discussion. This is not the first time, please remember the article that ripped apart anyone reading YA to begin with. It will not be that last. Thank you for being here.

--Jess

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