jo(e)s meme (thanks New Kid for the tag):
Is your blogging persona more serious than your real life persona? No, if anything it would be the other way around. My gf has told me several times that Mel is funnier than I am around the house, or that she wants Mel to show up again soon. Mel is a part of me that doesn't always get expressed in the day-to-day.
Do you think the only safe way an academic can write publicly is to write anonymously? No. But each person should have the freedom to define "safe," "publicly," and "anonymously" to their own liking. For me to feel safe-ish writing about some of the things that I have written about here, I choose a pseudonym. How "public" these words are is something that varies -- it could always be anyone reading them, although most days it's just a couple of folks.
Do you think that your blog could ruin your career? No. And I'm usually pretty careful so that even if it were discovered by my own department, nothing bad would happen beyond a bit of social discomfort. I'm ethical and responsible in real life and pretty much so on my blog.
Do you use a pseudonym out of fear? No. It's more out of playfulness. It's been immensely freeing to write under another name and construct another version of my identity. I've had different online identities over the years and probably different realtime ones too. I'm very comfortable with a fluid notion of the self.
What is the biggest drawback to writing pseudonymously? On occasion I have had to deliberately not write about local events because it would be really obvious where I live, which would make discovering my identity easier.
Has anyone stumbled on your blog and found it accidentally? Not to my knowledge.
Have you outed yourself to any other bloggers? Yes, several, who I've had email contact with. Only one blogger meet-up so far, but it was delightful and I'd love to meet others if the opportunity presents itself.
Has your blog allowed you to experiment with writing? Yes. I like the way that the blog offers a mediation between completely the "personal" (reflective journaling for self-knowledge) and the "professional."
Why do you use a pseudonym? Because I do very little online under my real name. Because I'm very guarded about my privacy. Because I don't want my students or my colleagues to google my name and come up with my blog. I prefer to live most of my life not on campus, not at work, not in that space of unequal power relations. Here, online, there are opportunities to explore new kinds of communities, new kinds of equality. It's not always better than RL, not often worse. Just different. I know plenty of people who use different names for different situations in RL too and it usually doesn't freak people out. Why, just because those people say it's because of heterosexual marriage, or because of the need for a cool stage name, should their choice be any less valid than a writer's decision to publish under another name, online or in another venue?