Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Who am I?

Dr Michelle Tempest started a discussion on her blog about anonymity amongst medical bloggers, and I couldn't help but to post a lengthy diatribe.

Thanks for the mention - my readership has suddenly increased about 20 fold (i.e. from 2 to 40 in the last day).

There is always an altruistic purpose to anonymity - as a doctor I don't want to risk exposing or identifying my patients or colleagues, and once my identity is out it is an order of magnitude easier to pinpoint specific people.

Then there is the CYA purpose to anonymity - I don't want to be sued, fired, or otherwise publicly shamed for saying something controversial on my blog.

I think, however, that the biggest reason is that it allows me to be a different person. It frees me of my real-life inhibitions. There are many fewer consequences to saying something offensive, inflammatory, or downright mean on an anonymous blog. I can adopt a different personality, say something that I haven't really thought through, or which I am still deciding upon.

As Barb once said to me - "I'm not my blog. That is not the whole me. It's just part of me that I like to express sometimes."

Inevitably, it's a pretty thin veil of anonymity. It's very easy if you are in the right (or wrong) circles to work out who is who. It's probably only a matter of time before a real identity is revealed - unless the blog is stopped, deleted and/or abandoned beforehand.

While you might not have your name tattooed on your forehead while scrubbed, if people spend enough time looking at or talking to you in the OR, they learn to recognise you outside the OR.

In fact, trying to hide behind an anonymous blog is like... wearing a Paper Mask.

OK, maybe that last line was a bit corny. Enough posts for the moment, more from Mind the Gap next week.

1 comment:

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Thanks for the mention. Love the paper mask analogy. Michelle