Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Blogger Identity - Anonymous or Real?

Came across this thought-provoking post at MoneyRelations on whether and why to reveal one's real identity as a blogger. Canadian Dream also talked about this topic here.

A few years ago, I attended a seminar at which health researchers reported on the credibility given by the public to health information found on the web. And do you know what most influenced whether people believed the information they came across? It wasn't the name of the person or the organization, the list of professional qualifications, the quality of the content itself that was most important. Drum roll, please ... it was the photo of the person supposedly giving the advice and the impression that left!! If you looked the part - wearing a white lab coat was good for health people, but a t-shirt killed your credibility - and you had a trustworthy face, then that really boosted your "cred". That's why I have a photo on my website - don't I look authoritative and trustworthy, huh? Please?

As for revealing my real name, it doesn't really matter to me. My friends and family know about my blog and anyone who emails me soon finds out who the person behind the door is. And I assume that no matter what I tried to do, my identity could likely be found out very quickly by anyone or any organization with reasonable smarts. So my policy is to attempt at all times to only write things that are a credit to me. As Mr Cheap of Four-Pillars commented on the Canadian Dream post with a hilarious link, you don't want to post anything your mom would be embarassed to read.

Probably my blog name CanadianFinancialDIY, which was meant to be descriptive (and has turned out not to be very descriptive at that since I write regularly about UK topics), makes me more indistinguishable in the crowd of Canadian bloggers. There are so many Canadian this's and Canadian that's, one has trouble remembering who is who. (Aside: is that the result of a generation of Canadians raised seeing the word Canada in every government department, agency, crown corporation, tribunal and outhouse?) Something weird or random would likely be better - has the name Google ever held that company back?


Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for the mention :)

I've read the meta blogging sites and they recommend unmasking yourself to be a "brand" so I think you've got something there with the photo and credibility.

Dang, I guess I shot myself in the foot with the Cabbage Patch Kid photo ;)

There are so many "rules" with blogging - about me page, photo, posting schedule, posting length, etc. Honestly, I think it puts a lot of pressure to maintain that standard.

Meh, I just want to maintain the momentum and fun.

So, I think that if you wish to achieve authority, then yes, have a professional approach - knowing full well that you have the expertise to back it up.

If you're kicking the tires like me, post dolls and puppets :)

CanadianInvestor said...

Re the objective of this blog - since I have discovered that directly making money out of it is a faint hope, the primary purpose is to learn by investigating and writing something worthwhile and accurate. I also get to help family and friends on occasion.

Sometimes it isn't fun, as in whoopee, when a topic doesn't want to submit to a short investigation, like the one I have been working on for more than week having to do with foreign currency and it isn't anywhere near finished. But it is fun, as in satisfying, to finally wrestle something to the ground.

Your cabbage patch photo certainly conveys a "don't take myself too seriously non-threatening feeling" to readers. Some will prefer their financial diet that way instead of the straight-ahead no sizzle, just steak style I have adopted ... ok, it comes naturally.

btw, have you figured out how to make the darn Forbes ad links work? Not the promo link, which I have already like you, but the operational one.

Anonymous said...

Yep, there are plenty of authority bloggers out there. I know I'm not one of them so I took a different approach. My readership is mostly non pf bloggers.

I'm not sure what you mean by getting the Forbes network to work.

Did someone contact you? The "contract" is to put up 2 big honking ads plus the membership badge so 3 spots in total.

You review in your account the media buys and if they are not filled, it displays the generic ad, or you can put your own default ads such as Google Adsense or Commission Junction, whatever.

I just don't put Google ads on the front page because if you get a lot of social media traffic, it just "smart prices" you so the worth of the Google clicks aren't that high.

I've yet to explore CJ though.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the link.


Neil said...

I think on the "Canadian" moniker, it's almost required to distinguish people. Trying to find any decent investment blogs is difficult, as there's so much about the American markets. Even with the Canadian moniker, it's hard to find relevant blogs...without it, it would be nearly impossible.

CanadianInvestor said...

Neil, You are right there are not a lot of Canadian bloggers. I've only found a fairly short list. Even more surprising to me is that there are even fewer in the UK, a country almost twice the population of Canada. And the financial services industry in the UK is a more important component of the economy than in Canada.

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