This blog, like many others, is written under a nom de guerre, as is my Twitter account. I’ll explore the reasons for that later.
The other day, I tweeted a link to this blogpost by Ben Nunn. As a non-Londoner, it’s not actually an issue on which I have strong feelings one way or the other, but I thought it was an interesting, forthright piece that deserved a wider airing. As said in many Twitter bios, “Retweets and links do not imply endorsement”. However, this seems to have touched a raw nerve and, even though it wasn’t my criticism in the first place, I ended up accused of being a coward who lurks behind a pseudonym.
Well, yes, but if you read this blog you will find plenty of information about me such as where I live and which pubs I like visiting. I’ve even referred to several letters written by myself that have been published in What’s Brewing and quoted my real name. Much the same is true of bloggers such as Tandleman, Tyson and Boak and Bailey. It is quite clear that I am a real, rooted person, not some anonymous troll.
So why use a pseudonym instead of blogging and tweeting under my own name?
- I have been writing a column as “Curmudgeon” in Opening Times since 1993, so it’s an established fact of life
- There is a long and honourable tradition of pseudonymous opinion columns in the press, most notably Cassandra, although it has reduced in recent years
- As someone who is not professionally involved in the beer industry, and may wish to change jobs, I would rather any internet search on my name didn’t reveal a load of rantings on the subject. I know of one beer blogger who occupies a senior management position and I’m sure wouldn’t appreciate Google revealing a long list of their beery thoughts to potential recruiters. It may well be something appropriate to mention at an interview, but not as search results. Hence I post on the CAMRA forum as “PeterE” (there is someone else called curMUDGEon)
- “Mudgie” is to some extent a persona, not the real me. Paul Bailey writes an excellent beer blog that draws on his own experiences. I want to adopt a more argumentative and detached line that may distil or exaggerate actual events. “Mudgie” is a kind of cartoon character loosely based on me – see here for more info. That’s a bit dated, and at least one of the answers would now definitely be different, but it still basically holds true.