Blogging behind a hidden identity

Bloggers are starting to drop their aliases and reveal their real identities.
But Wired admits that, ultimately, its about the quality of the material and not a real name that wins credibility.

But Lat, who now blogs under his own byline for Wonkette, says that he found the internet was willing to judge Article III Groupie by her — er, his — work. “It’s about the quality of your product at the end of the day,” he said.

I have a secret. Siddhartha is not my real name, its my blogging name. I’ll tell you why I use a pseudonym. Many years ago I started an email mailing list on Yahoo! Groups. I was the administrator of the list, and the way Yahoo! Groups works is that the administrator must have a Yahoo! email address to which the mailing list or group is associated. This was a closed mailing list for a group of 20 or so friends. We would use the list to send artefacts, usually images, photos, jokes, bits of writing and links to interesting stories and articles we found on the net. The articles were usually political, usually links to the Guardian, Washington Post, Indy etc. The stories were usually critical of US foreign policy but they were all legitimate public domain stuff. Nothing remotely anarchist and certainly nothing about the glorification of terrorism! It was simply a convenient way for friends to remain in touch.

The group continued using the mailing list for many years. Shortly after the Invasion of Iraq, probably around April 2003, I tried to log into my Yahoo! mail account and was told that the account had been suspended. The message distinctly said that the reason was because of inappropriate messages found on the mailing list. I was gobsmacked. Yahoo! banned my email account and of course the groups mailing list because of a bunch of Guardian articles that were less than complimentary of Bush and the war?

I haven’t been to the USA since the Iraq Invasion, but I have a gut feeling that my name has been inserted into some Homelands Security database of terror suspects. So if I were to fly into JFK one day to see friends I fear I’ll be escorted away from my family into a small room in Immigration. And then, who knows what.

160 Responses to “Blogging behind a hidden identity”

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    Err, dude, what about me… I’m due to fly to LA on business next week… and I’m pretty sure I have not been remotely nice about the U.S. Administration (those bitches of Israel)..err..whoops..should I shut up now?

    Seriously, what if I get taken away, from my kids, from my wife-to-be, from blogger? How can I find out before I fly if I’m gonna get buggered or not??

  2. Siddhartha Says:

    Things to do before you go:
    -Shave
    -Keep the contact numbers of the British consulate at hand.
    -Take out life insurance.
    ;-)

  3. Zeeshan Says:

    The reality is that since your blogger name is Shahid, which means “martyr”, you are probably on some sort of list regardless of what else you have done. Don’t be too worried, for most people this just means that you’ll be asked to surrender your belt, shoes and pocket contents three or four times in each airport you pass through.

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