My name is…

not Slim Shady! As mentioned yesterday, I have been engaging over the past couple of days with folk about the Methodist Conference via the wonderful medium of Twitter. My thoughts yesterday clearly had a resonance with others, and one of my fellow tweeters, Pete Phillips, even did me the great kindness of quoting me on his own blog post about yesterday (well worth a read in its own right).

It will be noted, however, that in introducing my quote he mentions my anonymity on this blog. This got me thinking quite seriously about my own anonymity and anonymity in general on the web, and I checked out the Social Media Guidelines he mentioned. In general I feel anonymity is not helpful – I certainly dislike post comments on any website which are from “Anonymous”, something I don’t do as I always comment using my pseudonym with a link to this website so readers can find out a bit more about me and what I think. Sometimes, however, I think anonymity might be helpful. For example, I am not sure the wonderful Church Mouse blog (Mouse is currently on an extended blog-cation) would be so good, and so popular, if we knew who Mouse was. It is also helpful, I think, in giving some protection to those related to the blogger, who might otherwise be identifiable but who may not wish to be. In my case this would Mrs Nomad and, especially, Wee One. When I started this blog I chose to do so anonymously in the main because of that latter reason, but also in part because I like the Mouse’s blog and kind of just followed suit.

The Guidelines gave me serious pause for thought though. They make it clear that anonymity is far from ideal. In the end I tweeted to Pete, and to another fellow tweeter who’d pointed me to the location of the Guidelines online, that I would choose to remain anonymous on this blog as I felt myself easily identifiable to anyone with any nous regarding the internet and following links. However, I continued to ruminate, and I have changed my mind. So…

…my name is Tom Osborne and I am a blogger. I am also a Student Minister in the Methodist Church and any views expressed here, unless otherwise clearly indicated, are my own and not those of the Methodist Church, Wesley House, or any other part of the Methodist Church organisation that I may from time-to-time be involved with. Mrs Nomad and Wee One will remain anonymous – Wee One especially so. I will continue to blog and to comment on other blogs under this pseudonym, but I will be making minor changes to the blog homepage shortly to ensure anyone following a link to it will swiftly know my real name.

This is, of course, possibly the biggest issue to arise from my interaction with the Methodist Conference hashtag feed, but I’ve also been having further fun and serious conversations during the day as we have continued our experiment in 21st Century Connexionalism. It’s all been worthwhile, I think, and I look forward to more tomorrow.

For now, though, whether you are well known or wish to remain anonymous, travel well.

The Mendip Nomad


About MendipNomad

I'm a nomad both physically and denominationally, but I'll always call the Mendips home. Currently a Methodist Presbyter (Minister) in Cornwall. I love sport, film, tv, socialising, politics (both US and British), and, yes, being part of the church.
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2 Responses to My name is…

  1. Graham says:

    Nice entry mate, I (in my naive, slightly haphazard way) had never considered pros and cons of anonymity before so thank you for raising some of the opinions both sides. I think it is particularly interesting when blogging/tweeting on events like the Methodist Conference and General Synod where people can be suspicious of those whom they can’t identify as to where they lie on the vast range of opinion spectra that abound in these things. That being said I love the writings of those such as the Church Mouse and Cranmer – but perhaps more cautious with the views on these than on those blogs where i do know who is writing it. Once again, pros and cons! I think I should probably go find the CofE’s advice page on this….if I come back as Ordinand#1662 you know what it said….

  2. Pingback: Running to stand still – or my life since #methconf | The Mendip Nomad

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