Revealing Ourselves

Recently, some of our favourite bloggers, Mr. and Ms. Our Next Life, revealed themselves after being anonymous for a few years.

They revealed themselves in a pretty fun way, which prompted me to ask Poopsie, “how should we reveal ourselves in six years?”

His response: “I think we should remain anonymous.”

I was quite surprised by this response and admittedly, pretty disappointed. I never intended for us to remain anonymous forever and was excited about the prospect of revealing ourselves one day.

Why We’ve Been Anonymous

Our main reason for remaining anonymous are our jobs. We work for the Australian government and with that comes some rules about our public behaviour. While of course we have private lives and use social media, there are restrictions about what we can do/say on public forums and social media which could be linked back to our jobs.

We have never said specifically what government departnment we work for, but if we were to publish photos of ourselves and our real names, a very quick Google search would reveal the department we work for- at least for me, Poopsie remains quite elusive on the interwebs. We’ve said we work for the same department though, so once I was outed, Poopsie would soon be outed as well.

Once where we worked was known, this blog would be linked to that. Now I don’t for a second think we have a big enough readership for that to really make any difference. I am pretty sure I could be completely public on here and no one I work for would ever find it. But, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Safety first!

Another reason for the anonymity is some self-consciousness on my part. I really enjoy writing this blog and, we have some regular readers, so I’m assured I do an okay job of it. But I am still quite self-conscious about my writing style, what I write about and what I say. I’d be a bit embarassed if everyone I knew were reading this. I have approximately six years to boost my writing self-esteem and become okay with everything I have put on here. I’m a work in progress to be sure.

The End of Anonymity

So then, why do I want to stop being anonymous once we retire?

First of all, I’ll no longer have to worry about our blog being linked to our employer as we will no longer be employed by them.

Additionally, I believe that early retirement is a big achievement. If you read a lot of early retirement blogs, you might start to think it’s a normal, everyday thing, but it just isn’t. I will be so proud of Poopsie and I if we reach this milestone. I definitely want to share that with my family. While our families know of our plans, they don’t necessarily know the journey we have been on and this blog will provide them with a complete history (if they’re interested… my little brother knows about this blog but I am pretty sure he has never read a single post).

I also expect that we will receive a lot of questions from people as to how we have retired early. I think it would be great to point them toward this blog and let them discover our journey for themselves. While the list is growing (check out our Australian Blogger Interview Series for the complete list), there are still a relatively small number of Australian early retirement blogs. We’d love to be a resource to any Australian who might be considering this.

I would also just really like to share photos with our faces in them. Sometimes it’s quite hard finding photos to put on the blog, as usually we are in the photos we take. And some of them are great photos! I’d love to be able to post them on here.

So will we or won’t we?

That remains to be seen and will no doubt be an ongoing conversation for Poopsie and I. But I would love to know what you think! Do you want to know what we actually look like and what we actually do for a living? They’re the two main things we keep off this blog, we’re fairly open with most other things (unsure? Just ask!)

What do you think? We’d love to know in the comments below!

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19 Responses to Revealing Ourselves

  1. I go back and forth on this one… there is a layer of safety about anonymity when it comes to trolls or other online menaces, but at the same time, anonymity on a blog isn’t absolutely safe either (if someone wants to figure out who I am, they probably can).

    I think it comes down to comfort level and how stressful either being “out” or being anonymous will be for you πŸ™‚

    • You’re very right Mrs. Adventure Rich, if someone wanted to find out who we were then they probably could.

      At the moment, I am leaning toward being “out” but that of course could change. I haven’t yet shared exact numbers on the blog, but I may want to in the future and that’s certainly easier when anonymous. We’ll have to continue to think about it.

  2. Mrs. ETT says:

    Of course we want to see you and know more about you! We are all voyeurs at heart. I get Poopsie’s reluctance though. I too try to keep my head down on the Interwebs. Having said that, the longer I write, the harder I find anonymity. There’s details that have to be brushed over in case I give out too much information. I’d like to tell people about the blog, but I haven’t been able to take that step yet.

    I was having a conversation on Twitter with a blogger who was found out by their family when they didn’t want to be. They said their blogging work was ruined, and they actually stopped blogging all together. I think you need to have a plan in place for “what if”, although it sounds like you have it covered. If you’re only concerned about work (and as you said, it probably wouldn’t be that big a deal), then you should be OK.

    These days if we were found out, I wouldn’t mind. Like you, I’ve become more comfortable with the ownership of what I’m doing. I don’t think it would change much about the blog.

    • You probably know the most about me already, Mrs. ETT πŸ™‚ And that will only increase when we meet next year!

      I wouldn’t be overly concerned about my family finding out, they all know I am a little odd and really interested in finance. Friends and colleagues on the other hand, I wouldn’t enjoy that too much.

      I think if we get found out accidentally, it won’t be too big a deal, as you said. Outing ourselves is another question though and something I’m sure we will continue to ponder.

  3. Pia says:

    Coming from a different perspective here, I used to blog with my name and my face as the brand. It was definitely personal but it also meant that I could no longer exercise anonymity when I headed out to do reviews or events. As we went through the explosion of commercial blogging, PRs started treating bloggers like VIPs and celebs which was nice when it started but it began to attract the wrong kind of people to blogging. The ones who blog just to get the freebies. The whole exercise became really distasteful, and I started to hate being recognised from my blog. It also became very stressful as at that time, boundaries and rules weren’t well established so PRs thought that just because you attended an event or a product launch, you were obligated to blog about it and harassed you when you didn’t do it immediately. It got to the point where you might be at a different event and you’d get recognised and harassed about it in person. It might well be a different world now. It’s been a good 5-6 years since, so one would like to think people have grown up from then.

    Now, I actually don’t think all these will happen to finance blogging. The topic itself gathers a very different audience to that of the previous blogging niches I was working in. There are no PRs hounding, no product launches, no events specifically engineered to get into the social pages of the newspapers. So I don’t think there’s any harm in revealing yourself, but for myself, I will remain anonymous as much as possible. It’s a privilege we hardly enjoy these days with the advent of social media and the great trawling prowess of Google. I also want to be as open as I can with numbers on the blog, and anonymity allows me that without feeling like I’m creating a target on my back for thieves! Mind you, there is no true anonymity on the internet. If somebody really wanted to figure it out, it’s not hard. WordPress tracks IP addresses to start with and you could easily follow the cookie crumbs…

    Sorry I’m rambling!

    • Thanks for this perspective Pia, it was very interesting to read (and I would love to read your old blog!)

      I am one very weak attempt of monetising the blog (SiteGround affiliate link), and it had one hit but I then decided monetising was not for me. As such, I should be able to avoid what you spoke about.

      We’re still definitely not decided though. We will have to continue to give it some though but thank you for your very valuable input!

    • Mrs. ETT says:

      “I will remain anonymous as much as possible. It’s a privilege we hardly enjoy these days…” Great point Pia, and I think I needed the reminder. I’d hate for it to become a case of ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’.

  4. It’s a pretty personal decision huh. I’ve wondered what the two of you do (government work can mean just about anything!) but outside of giving a bit of background to your lifestyle/interests/earnings power – which I admit is interesting! – I don’t think it’s a deal breaker for your blog at all. I am not sure what I’d do if I wasn’t anonymous. It would be a challenge in my line of work to have that sort of info publicly available (not that ‘so many’ people read my blog!). My brother know’s I blog, though like yours I’m not sure he’s ever read anything…if in six years you do the ‘reveal’ it will be one heck of a post!

    • True, government work is very ambiguous. For people I regularly interact with online (my friends as I call them), if they emailed me and asked me what we did for a living, I would tell them. Hopefully they would keep it to themselves.

      Brothers are fairly reliable when it comes to not reading blogs πŸ˜‰

  5. Coming from the complete other end of the spectrum, I do love that you have kept yourselves anonymous, and all the freedom that gives you. I never really was anonymous on my blog, and I found it scary at first. Everyone knows about it, which means I have to be a bit careful… but I actually quite like being Miss Money Box. I’m proud of it!

  6. Miss Balance says:

    I actually clicked on the link thinking you were going to reveal! Oh well, hopefully you can decide some time within the next 6 years if you will and a great reveal strategy/party/post if you do πŸ™‚

    In the meantime it is still fun to read all about what you do. Wh knows I may just bump into you one day next year and not even know it!

  7. Miss Balance says:

    I actually clicked on the link thinking you were going to reveal! Oh well, hopefully you can decide some time within the next 6 years if you will and a great reveal strategy/party/post if you do πŸ™‚

    In the meantime it is still fun to read all about what you do without knowing the exact details. I post anonymously at this stage just so people don’t think I’m too weird, and it doesn’t interfere with my workplace – similar to you. Who knows I may just bump into you one day next year and not even know it!

  8. Felicity says:

    I can definitely relate!

    Fergus would like to be anonymous basically indefinitely. And…if only I unveiled, it’s not like you would need a private detective to figure out who Fergus is! He’s more concerned from a security standpoint, from random people stealing our identities and whatnot.

    I feel like losing anonymity is only really important for major news stories and the like — for reaching large audiences in traditional media. For telling your story and chronicling adventures, there’s really no need, unless of course you simply want to spend less time editing faces out of photos.

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