Given the boom of musician bloggers (and mini-boom of managers who blog) over the last year, it’s inevitable that some of them are going to discover blogs have the potential to help or hurt a career. Over the holiday season I received an interesting email from a reader asking about that very issue…
The reader in question, who prefers the moniker “A Soprano”, sent in the following note:
Say, could you help figure out whether blogging is good for the artists’ soul or virtual career hari-kari? Help!!!!!!! I would personally LOVE to hear your opinion on this one.
Having authored Adaptistration for just over two years all I can do is offer my own opinions and observations; nevertheless, I think this issue is certainly worth exploring as blogs are bound to become more popular over the coming years.
Blogging anonymously is a tricky issue and I don’t believe there’s a universal answer to whether it’s good or bad. In general, the impact would depend on what an individual blogs about and who they are. I have had a few musicians and managers who were interested in blogging contact me about this issue over the past few years who were concerned about possible repercussions and the advice I give is usually this:
If you plan on writing anything which may be remotely construed as controversial or critical and you’re in a position to suffer consequences for your writings then you should do one of couple of things: don’t write about anything controversial, don’t write at all, or post anonymously.
The caveat to that last option is it’s difficult to be truly anonymous these days; it’s such a small business that people can usually figure out who you are based on your subject material and details you present. Along those same lines, a strong factor in deciding to go anonymous or not is an individual’s personality; is your personal motto “better safe than sorry” or “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”?
Another rule of thumb to consider is where you are in the grand scheme of the business. Are you an executive manager, staffer, concertmaster, section musician, or substitute player? Each of these individuals has different issues to consider if they author a blog.
Individuals such as executive managers and music directors need to consider that what they say in a public forum can easily be construed as speaking for their respective organizations (even if they clearly state that their blog is personal opinion); as such, board members and colleagues (not to mention the traditional media) can give them a great deal of grief. Whereas staffers and section musicians may have an easier time presenting their own opinions by virtue of not being in leadership positions within their respective organizations, yet they can easily become targets of professional retaliation from superiors. In both examples, anonymity could benefit the individuals.
The other side of that sword is that anonymity is easily abused (one of many subjects parodied in The Simpsons). It’s simple to criticize and spread unsubstantiated claims if people don’t know who you are. At the same time, that same protection can easily degrade credibility, which has an adverse impact on the amount of influence a blogger could ever hope to build.
To complicate matters even more, every edge of that sword has contrary edges of its own (I suppose that makes it a serrated sword). For example, readily disclosing your identity while deliberately publishing complementary articles about individuals or organizations (deserved or not) as a tool to curry favor or using an anonymous personal blog as a calculated propaganda tool is, at best, contrived and abusive.
It’s a cloudy issue, but in tomorrow’s article I’ll illustrate some of the above points with a few real life examples. In the meantime, submit a comment with your thoughts and observations. Have you noticed bloggers who were unfairly targeted by superiors for what they published or abused the security provided by anonymity?