I’m no longer anonymous – Blogging Anonymously or Publicly

Lately, it seems like every single day someone who I know finds out about my blog. Now, EVERYONE knows, besides the people who I work with. I need to keep it that way for now… I say that I’m no longer anonymous because all of my friends know, and because I am easy to search…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 26, 2023

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Lately, it seems like every single day someone who I know finds out about my blog. Now, EVERYONE knows, besides the people who I work with. I need to keep it that way for now…

I say that I’m no longer anonymous because all of my friends know, and because I am easy to search on Google. I’ve also started posting more and more pictures everyday. I also plan on sharing our engagement photos once those are ready. The engagement photos will be my first official photos released on my blog that show my face. I know, you guys cannot wait at all. The suspense is killing you!

I am completely joking of course 🙂 Also, sprinkled throughout this post are comments of what readers said in my last Should I still be anonymous post.

The other day, we were over at W’s friend’s house and his friend said “Hey Michelle, I heard you have some writing thing going on.” And also recently, someone ambushed me (of course I am using that term loosely!) and showed me my blog on their phone. ON THEIR PHONE! What was I supposed to say?

And then just last week, I received an email from a reader, and she was telling me that my blog is helpful. We then started talking back and forth and she actually went to the same high school as me, and she lives in the same town as me! Small world, right? I feel like I have nowhere to run now!

I'm no longer anonymous - Blogging Anonymously or Publicly

Everyone knows about my blog now. W’s parents asked me for my blog URL the other day, and my friends have found it all also. Probably doesn’t help that you can just type in “Michelle finance blog” and it’s on the first page!

I have W to blame for all of this.

He kept blabbing to everyone and everyone kept asking him for hints about my blog. Of course he gave enough hints and now everyone knows about it! Even though everyone knows, I honestly don’t think too many people read it. Not too many people have really brought up anything that I have talked about in a blog post.

Haha, but that is a good thing. I like not feeling like I am always hiding from everyone. Yes, I do not have any direct pictures of my face up yet, but I still want to be safe when it comes to my job. However, I am friends with many bloggers on Facebook and on my personal Instagram, so many of you already know what I look like. And most of you already know my last name.

I was anonymous in the beginning because I used my blog as a way to vent about the things going on in my life – the passing of my dad, the horrible things someone else in my family did, and so on. It was easy to talk about things on here, but now I’m moving past all of that, so it only seems normal to be public now.

I'm no longer anonymous - Blogging Anonymously or Publicly

Positives of being more public:

  1. I’m not as mysterious. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they would rather read a blog where the person is open about who they are. Well, this is something that I am working on. I can’t wait until I make the 100% freelancing switch and am then able to post awesome pictures of myself everyday 😛
  2. I don’t feel like I’m hiding from my friends and family. This is number one on my list. I felt like I was living a double life for so long. Now, I talk about my blog so often that they are probably annoyed.
  3. It’s more fun! And it’s easier to blog publicly. I’m no longer trying to hide things that could potentially reveal who I am.

 I'm no longer anonymous - Blogging Anonymously or Publicly

Risks of being public with my blog:

  1. Financials are now public. Do I really want to post our net worth on my blog anymore? What about my extra income updates and things about our jobs? 
  2. Certain things that I’ve said about my family and the situations that I gone through have been edited. I would hate for you-know-who to see what I’ve written. Even though she is in the wrong and has done absolutely horrible things to me, and I am in the right, I would hate to go down that direction and open everything back up. Right now, I am just moving on going forward in life…
  3. Nothing is private. This is a given. Everyone will know everything about my life now!
  4. Of course, there is always the risk that my work will find my blog and read my passion or money post. That would be an awkward conversation…

Are you anonymous or public? What would you prefer to do and why?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. I am still semi anonymous, and will eventually come out of the closet completely. I would be more concerned about coming out of the closet if I shared my complete income and networth. I’ve just seen a lot of fraud happen in my industry, so I am a bit cautious.

    1. Yeah I’m not sure what I will do when I switch to 100% freelancing and all of my income is my “extra income.”

    2. mike

      Sweet! I’ve just received my free Riot Points!

      >> FreeRiotPoints.me <<

  2. Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies

    We’re still anonymous, mostly. Actually we did “come out” to Mr. PoP’s parents a couple of weeks ago through a weird series of events. It was strange at first, but now I don’t really think about it.

    1. Yeah, I don’t really think about it either. I always forget that everyone seems to know now!

  3. I’m public and I have been from the get-go. I think when you’re public you just have to be careful about what you say (especially if you have a 9-5 job). I only write about things I would say in public social media anyway, but it’s also why I tend to avoid the posts about how much money I make on the side and whatnot.

    1. True. This is something that I need to think about.

  4. Lisa @ Cents To Save

    My blog is not anonymous, and I have told my family about it. Do they read it? Not that I know of. To them, it is my hobby of sorts. And that may be true. But I love to blog and will continue. In fact, I will be dedicating more time and effort to both my blogs ( Happy Girl Thrift) . I am who I am and I hope I inspire and motivate others.

    1. This is great Lisa! I don’t think anyone actually reads mine either.

  5. It is exhausting to try to stay hidden! I felt like I was always worrying.

  6. I’m pseudo-anonymous. I say pseudo because I’m trying to be anonymous so I can talk about money, but my face is all over my blog, and I use my real name – and Desi is a pretty unique name ๐Ÿ™‚ I have the same concerns as you about being public – if my friends know everything about my money, I worry they’d be judgey about how I choose to spend it (as it is I get a lot of people asking why I’m trying to pay my student loans back so aggressively.) I’m happy for you though and super excited to see engagement pictures!

    1. The only thing I don’t do is put direct pictures on my blog. However, a lot of readers think that this isn’t my real name. Haha if only I were that clever! Then no one would have found my blog.

  7. Congratulations on coming out of the closet!!! I didn’t mind when we were semi-anonymous because I felt like I could say anything that I wanted. Now that I’m public, it’s fine too but I’m slightly more careful not to offend everyone I know. Slightly.

    1. Hahaha yes same here!

  8. I hated it when I was blogging anonymously. I always felt like I had to hide tons of facts about myself (I was anonymous because I had a non-compete….and although I would say my blog doesn’t compete, it was a financial company, so I needed to just take precautions). Now everyone knows I have a blog and they visit sometimes….but there wasn’t the “wow!” factor that I thought there would be. I’m lucky that I have pretty cool, accepting friends.

    1. I need to take precautions since I work at a financial company also.

  9. We are more or less public. The few people we did share with shared with others, then it became gossip, and now most everyone knows our situation. We don’t care too terribly much, because we know we are helping others, and that trumps embarrassment or shame. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Your blog is awesome!

  10. I’m so happy being anonymous that I just don’t know if I’ll ever completely come out, unless it’s on a different blog altogether. You gotta do what works for you!

  11. I was always hiding behind my debt, ashamed. I started my blog publicly after finding the motivation to stop hiding, to “let it all hang out!”

    1. Stop hiding! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I am public, but I did that because I have been public on the web for over 10 years. People can find old work, old blogs and anything they want. I don’t really care about being anonymous, but it doesn’t bother me if people are.

  13. There are a couple people in our life that know we have a blog, and even fewer actually know the URL. They haven’t mentioned anything about it since we originally brought it up, so I’m assuming they don’t read it. Which is fine.

    1. Same here Kyle. I was worried people would be reading it like crazy, but they haven’t. Or at least I don’t think they have.

  14. Keren

    I’m only semi-public. The Mr. obviously knows about it but doesn’t actually read it, haha. My sister, sister-in-law, and cousin-in-law might occasionally read it, but otherwise nobody I’m related to reads it. And I don’t share it with anyone at work.

    1. I’m not sure if W reads it. He says he does…

  15. Katie

    I’ve always been public but I don’t blatently share my blog with my friends and family. However, I just had a job interview where they had read my blog prior to the interview (it wasn’t on my resume) and the interview consisted of a lot of questions about my blog. Fortunately, they were impressed but it definitely caught me off guard! My blog is certainly small enough that I forget anyone besides my Godmother reads it! Enjoy the freedom that comes with being public!

    1. Wow that’s crazy!

    2. This is a common mistake people make. Employers make a thorough search of the web for any information about you that could make them question whether you would be a good fit for their company. Some articles I’ve read say that they ask interviewees for their FaceBook password or ask them to log on during the interview. I think that’s wrong, but hey, that’s what’s going on.

      It’s critical to keep that front of mind when posting anything anywhere online. Even if you don’t want to work for Corporate America and want to freelance or be a public speaker instead, web eyes are watching and what you do/say online can be used to your disadvantage.

      Sorry for being such a downer but it’s a really important point you bring up, Katie!

  16. Yeah it does make me nervous!

  17. Yay! I love that you included a screen cap of my old comment- haha! I totally remember leaving that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Haha thanks for always leaving awesome comments on my blog.

  18. I have told a couple family members and one friend about my blog that is it. I have a picture of myself up so I am not exactly anonymous but I don’t go around telling people either. It’s something I still feel a little self conscious about.

    1. This is how I feel too.

  19. That must feel pretty liberating! And a little scary.

    We’re obviously pretty public, but we haven’t told anyone we know about it. We’ve made sure to not attach our personal social media to our site. We’ve only slipped once or twice with accidentally posting something to a wrong account, but we were quick to delete it. That being said, one of my sisters randomly found our blog. Needless to say, it was a really weird conversation. We enjoy our semi-anonymity, but those days might soon be gone.

    1. Haha I bet that was a weird convo!

  20. Christopher @ This that and the MBA

    I started out anonymous, but that changed when everyone was wondering what I always was so busy or doing research on. Then i spilled the beans, and i dont think most people that know i blog check it anymore anyways.

    1. Yup! This is exactly why I had to start telling people.

  21. I think it’s pretty brave to go from anonymous to public! Sometimes I wish that I was anonymous so that I could vent more! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh, and the other day a friend from work was like “OMG I FOUND YOUR BLOG!” which is fine I guess, but I did ask her not to share it with anyone else. We’re pretty good friends so I’m sure it’ll be fine. In other news, can’t wait to see your engagement pics!

    1. It’s crazy how easy it is to find blogs!

  22. I’m a bit of a hybrid here. I use my first name (just sort of came out) and regularly post pictures of myself, but currently I’m not disclosing my last name. Most of my friends and family know about my blog so it prevents me from discussing anything too personal. However, when I write for other sites (under my real name) I can’t link back to my blog without disclosing who I am. Feeling a bit of a tug-of-war about whether or not to just go ahead and start using my full name. You raise some really great points in this post, Michelle so it’s more for me to think about!

    1. Yeah it’s definitely hard to decide what to do.

  23. We’re not anonymous to friends and family (our blog is on our personal FB pages) but we are a tiny bit anonymous on the blog. That is, a dedicated reader would be able to figure out what our last names are and what university we attend, but we try not to say those names outright because we don’t want searches to find out blog. But aside from our professional associations we don’t care much who can connect us to the blog. We’re pretty open people, generally.

    1. That’s great Emily!

  24. Eeek! You’ve been outed. Sounds like you are taking it in stride. I’m kind of the same. I’m not anonymous on my blog just in that people don’t know the link or where to find it even though a lot of them know that I blog. If I get outed I’d be okay but for as long as it’s meant to be a secret I will keep it that way. Can’t wait to see yo face!! : )

    1. Haha thanks CeCe.

  25. I’d say that work and my coworkers are a good reason to not share my blog. They know me, but they don’t really know me and I’d like it to stay that way. At least for now. Also, I agree with your passion or money post, that would be super awkward.

    1. Yup, very awkward!

  26. I’m mostly public. I haven’t really put up many pictures yet. Most of my friends and family know about. Half of my co-workers do as well. I didn’t want everybody to know because they may try to make me do more work lol.

    1. Hahaha you are too funny!

  27. I was faced with that difficult decision when writing the About Me page on my blog. I struggled with letting the universe (including my parents) know that I had declared bankruptcy over 20 years ago and didn’t know if I should let the cat out of the bag about my net worth.

    I decided to just bite the bullet and come clean, be honest and transparent. For me, it was a show of good faith. I wanted people to know that you can go through the first half of your life making stupid decisions and come out the other side wiser, happier and wealthier.

    I’ve only been blogging now for a little over three months. So far, no one in my family has even brought these two facts up. I don’t know if I’ve made a fatal mistake by revealing so much but time will tell.

    Good luck on your big reveal!

    1. That’s good that you were honest about it. I’m sure you will be fine.

  28. I am mostly anonymous. Although most people know my first name and even a few know my last name, most people don’t know what I look like or even what state I live in. I am uber paranoid so I keep things that way for a lot of reasons. My bf and one other friend know the URL to my blog but a lot of my friends know that I blog. I like it that way actually. I don’t know if I will ever “come out of the closet” completely, though.

    1. I never thought that I would come completely out. However, now that I want to be a freelancing 100% of the time, I feel that it is needed.

  29. That will be great to finally see some pics and put a face to the name. I’m sure the engagement photos look beautiful.

  30. My man does that same thing—drives me crazy! He says he does it cause he’s proud of me, but I’m not really wanting everyone I know to read. Oh, well…more blog hits? Can’t wait to see the engagement photos!

    1. It does drive me crazy!

  31. I have never blogged anonymously. I understand the reasoning behind it for some though.

    1. I had good reasoning before, but now I’m trying to forget all of the bad things in my life.

  32. Cat

    I’m happy being anonymous. I’m a pretty shy/private person. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. ๐Ÿ™‚ Nothing wrong with being anon!

  33. I’m not anonymous but I don’t share every detail of my life either. I understand why people share their monthly incomes and debt levels but I’m not prepared to go there yet. Even though I’ve chosen to share my thoughts openly to the world, I still long for some privacy in certain aspects of my life.

    1. I’m not sure what I will do about sharing our financials. Time will tell!

  34. Haha he is a blabber mouth! He says that he can keep secrets, but he can’t.

  35. That’s good Jake. I have a lot to think about.

  36. Haha he’s just a secret teller!

  37. Congrats! I am not anonymous but don’t talk about my blog. Even my BF doesn’t know about it and he spends 24/7 with me. Only the curious (or creepy) people who googled me know about it.

    1. WHAT?! That is funny that he doesn’t know haha

  38. I’d like to be able to be 100% public on my blog, but I still do it somewhat anonymously and keep certain details private (like which banks I keep my money in) for the sake of security. Like you, there are no (clear) pictures of my face on my blog.

    1. Yeah I definitely wouldn’t share bank names.

  39. Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility

    Hey Michelle
    I am semi-anonymous – I say semi because while I have a picture of myself and lots of financial details about my life. The anonymous part comes from only telling three people in my life about my blog and only two read it sporadically. I think you do what is right for you. I’m looking forward to seeing your engagement pics though!

    1. Thanks Lindsey! I’m excited to share them.

  40. I’m not anonymous, but I’m also not announcing it to the world. I’ve told people, and for the most part they’re like “oh cool”, maybe ask a few questions, and then forget about it. I think the only person I really know who visits it with any regularity is my brother. One difference between me and you is that I’m not posting detailed financial information. But I also think, like Mrs. Pop says in your screenshot above, that even if you’re anonymous, if you stick around long enough then people will probably be able to figure out who you are.

    1. True. Thanks Matt!

  41. Cj

    I’m not plastering my full name out there….but if someone figures out who I am, I’m fine with that. My real name is unique, so initials are nice. which is the main reason why I don’t use my real name, but it is real…everything I post is me and Tim…even my initials.

  42. Jules@Fat Guy,Skinny Wallet

    I tell people I write but I always secretly hope they don’t go looking for the url lol

    1. haha you are funny!

  43. Good for you Michelle! I wrote about two posts before I figured out that being anonymous takes too much work and I am too lazy for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes, it is definitely hard work!

  44. I’m not anonymous, except that nobody at work knows about it. It wouldn’t be difficult for them to find me, though!

    1. It’s pretty easy to find me too.

  45. Greg@Thriftgenuity

    I struggled with this at first, but now am pretty open. Although, my blog is pretty new, so the chances of someone I know stumbling upon it is pretty remote. I try to keep the things I write pretty positive in regards to work and friends/family, so I don’t think I have an issue there. But, if I were planning my escape from my company :), I would definitely be more paranoid about who discovered my site.

    1. Haha yes I am definitely paranoid.

  46. The First Million is the Hardest

    I started out trying to be anonymous, but I didn’t really work too hard at staying that way. It makes me self conscious sometimes when I give updates on my investments, but in the end I really don’t put out any information I wouldn’t tell someone who asked me anyway.

    1. Good to think about, thanks!

  47. Mike

    Hey Michelle! I’m still mostly anonymous because of the day job thing, but some of my offline friends and family know about my online adventures. Not all of them take it seriously or treat it like a “real job” though, they just don’t understand that you really can earn a living online.

    1. Haha yeah, this is how some people treat me also. It sure does get annoying.

  48. I am anonymous, mostly because of my job. I don’t really want anyone at work finding out anything they shouldn’t. I have told my boyfriend, a close friend and my parents. I don’t think my family would care at all, or really know what a blog is! I don’t have much to report on my financial situation because it’s honestly nothing amazing. I don’t mind being open about my student loan debt if it helps others, and it helps me too! Maybe things will change, and if I ever do go public I would make sure that nothing is on my blog that would paint me in an unflattering way for potential jobs down the road. I agree that for freelancing it’s probably best to be public ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. It seems like a lot of people are anonymous because of their jobs!

  49. I am public but there are tons of times I really wish I wasn’t because I could truly speak. I have a problem where I say too much and it can def and has gotten me into trouble. But the people that I have met through blogging not being anonymous has pretty well made up for it!

    1. That’s great Lauren! Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

  50. My website is extremely new but this is definitely something I struggled with from the outset. I initially included our last name on the site, but I almost immediately removed it after further review.

    If all goes well we’ll make a name for ourselves in the Richmond, VA area, so I suspect (and hope?) our anonymity will short-lived in that regard.

    In any event, it’s really courageous of you to come forward publicly and I thoroughly enjoyed this article and your site (this is my first visit).

    1. Thank you Brad ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. I blog anonymously. Or I try to anyways.
    I want to set up a public blog that’s related to operations research/business analysis. It’s in the pipeline. I will leverage this to build my brand.

    1. That sounds great. You should do that!

  52. I’m anonymous still and unlikely to change, though my closest friends know about the blog and read it. I think it’s a bit more freeing to at least be semi-anonymous, but the real reason I do it is because I’m a public employee and just don’t want random folks talking to me about my money. I personally don’t like to be photographed and will most likely never put a picture of myself online (except my private facebook) because I’ve had far, far too many creepy men think that I am their friend to risk having them know more about me than I tell them face-to-face. But on the other hand, I love reading blogs where people post pictures of themselves and you really feel a part of their lives. Maybe I’ll change someday…

    1. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. HAha I will definitely be searching for you on Facebook ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. Very true Tina!

  55. Great article and I think many bloggers, especially beginners struggle with being anonymous or not. I guess it comes down to a persons comfort level with putting them self out there. For those who are anonymous in the beginning, I think their views change after they have blogged for a while and slowly start to use their actual profile over time.

  56. I’ve been public since the beginning, and it is kind of a bummer that I have to limit myself on posting certain things. I can’t talk about my job, my income, or a handful of other things, but I do like putting a face to a blog to get a sense of personality and it really does make it more relatable. Glad you’ve decided to come out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. We started out semi-anonymous but have come out some time ago. It is difficult to write a blog as an inconnu. Much easier and more engaging for the reader if they think there is a real person behind the blog who is not afraid to be seen….

  58. thepotatohead

    We are sorta anonymous. We use pseudonyms on the website, but anyone that has emailed has gotten our real name. And we’ve told friends and family. So not exactly public knowledge, but not trying to be completely hidden. I think it would be weird though for someone in the office to know about the blog, so mainly trying to keep that at a minimum.

  59. Peter

    Great article and I find that people who are anonymous when they add comments, change how they comment and give more value after they become public and slowly start to use their actual profile to validate what they have to say. I am also a blogger on debt free living and totally agree with the idea of being public with your comments. My site also promotes open comments, so should you have any advice or comments on debt consolidation, or debt free living articles I write, I would be happy to receive them.