Via Class Maledictorian (Oh yeah, what you gonna do about it, shorty? They're still the Anaheim Angels, too. Ha!):
::Warning: Blogger Navel-Gazing Ahead::
Kevin Drum blogs on the dangers of blogging. More specifically: the dangers of becoming a googleable entity. Prospective bloggers should know that if they attach their true name to a project, at some point, a prospective employer, loan officer, lover, investigator, whomever, is going to google it up.
Drum isn't saying don't blog. He's just saying if you choose to, think twice about using your name and blog accordingly.
Clearly, I'm ubergoogleable at this point, which is something about which I am both proud and appropriately wary.
Recently, I discussed with a fellow blogger his penchant for obfuscating, sorta, basic facts about himself, his activities, or even the identity of post subjects. He strives to keep his real life self separate from his blog self. He also strives to stay under the radar of people likely to spam him for blogging about them. (For example, we political blogger types know that one friendly - or even unfriendly - link to a candidate's site will likely land us on the candidate's email list or in the site's blogscan. Depending on the candidate, this can be either cool or incredibly annoying - and amusing if we've slammed said candidate).
I've described my blogging as a game of Frogger. At stake: my future political career. I know that. Hell, the monkey comment alone . . . . But I see a huge potential payout as well. Though I forever reserve the right to change my mind on issues big and small, putting in print, er, pixel, my beliefs will keep me accountable later. If the wind ever really changes and I start equivocating my anti-Iraq-war stance, I hope a reader calls me on it using my own words. Of course, given my reservation of the right to change my mind, there's a bit of a cheat in my assertion of intellectual continuity. But at least I'll have to explain myself. And no one can ever accuse me of not holding hard beliefs in something. In a lot of somethings . . . .
Of course, there's another angle to this question of blognymity. A decidedly American angle.
As Atrios says, by way of warning (linked via the Drum post), blogs break out in funny ways. Making reality shows look like three-toed-sloths when it comes to speed of recognition, the right blog post can take a blogger from a 3 person reader base to a 3 million person awareness base in as few as 2 links and a cable news network mention. The spectre of celebrity - better yet, intellect-based or journalistic/investigatory success-based celebrity - hangs heavily over most blogs. Thank the 24-hour news cycle - a tiny scoop can help fill the hours of punditry and create instacelebrities just has it's created instapundits.
Some bloggers may get into this biz just to keep Aunt Ida current on babykins first steps, or to keep the running club up to speed on the latest in gatorade flavors, but in my corner of the 'sphere, we're all a bunch of demurring spotlight seekers: we know we want to be known, and we know how, now we're just navigating the risk of unintended infamy.
Hell yeah I like it when people say "hey, I made Phoblographer." My ego has needs too, man.
But I also frequently irked a close friend who urged me to protect my good name and better political contacts by staying within the lines. Snapping at my own party is stupid, duh. I hope I can use my youth to excuse some of my less politic statements, should they crop up in gleeful oppo-guys' emails later on. But if I can't, at least I know I've said something in my life. Not altogether dumb somethings, just somethings that made someone mad.
Many people have things they want to win an election to work for. But the best political advice I ever heard is that you must have something you'd be willing to lose an election over.
This blog isn't that something. Nor, necessarily, are all the substantive comments in it. But the dream that lively, honest intra-party debate is possible - that might be it.
Googleability be damned. It's my blog, and I'll post if I want to.