Blogging, anonymity and identity

As of today, I will semi-detach my personal and professional identity from the TechnoLlama online persona. This sounds more ominous than it actually is, what will happen is that I will remove my full name from the blog and my Twitter account, but will not hide who I am, will retain my list of publications on the site, and will continue writing under the assumption that readers can easily find out who I am.

This is a move that I have been considering for the last month. Since August 1st I have assumed an administrative job at the School of Law that will bring me in contact with larger number of undergraduate students. Up until now, most of my teaching has been to postgraduates, and so far students have not seemed bothered by the fact that their lecturer has an online persona in the shape of a llama… at least not publicly 🙂

The stated purpose of the TechnoLlama persona has always been to provide legal information, news and analysis in a “light-hearted and nonchalant manner”. In a world filled with dreary news and mind-numbingly tedious reportage, I cherish whimsical sites that can convey information in a fun and approachable manner, and that is what I have set out to do with the blog and Twitter. However, I have also always known that I walk a thin line, would anyone take seriously a source that has a picture of a llama attached to it? Readership figures, links and interview opportunities would tell me that the answer is a tentative yes.

However, I am mindful that with a larger administrative role at the School, the balancing act is increasingly under threat, and the scope for people getting the intent of the site wrong grows, particularly when we are talking about new students.

The way I saw it, I was faced some unsavoury choices, but I think that this is probably the best one. I am not hiding my identity, just making a clearer statement that TechnoLlama and Andres Guadamuz are separate identities.

Comments 5

  1. What a fascinating post. For the past few years, I've done more or less the same thing, using "greglas" as my online commenting handle so that my official bio pages don't get buried under my breezy online chitchatting. It works well enough, I think. I have also benefited from having very few people care to connect the dots.

    That said, I hope this doesn't mean that your "TechnoLlama online persona" is entirely a virtual entity. I'm not sure who you are when you are your offline "personal and professional" self, but I certainly would hope you could embody just a little of TechnoLlama's sense of style of humor. Technollama should have a physical form! (Although not necessarily the form of a lama glama roboticus). 🙂

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