This may be a very unpopular answer but honestly I use all our real names. I've had several online businesses where I sold things & my name and address have always been out there online for the past 8 years or so. Why should someone trust me enough to send me money for an order if I'm not willing to reveal who I am and where they can find me? I certainly wouldn't buy a Coach bag (as an example) from some non-named store front or guy on the street. I want to know it's authentic and there's not a crook behind it so I'd buy it from a store that had a name, phone number and address.
This also holds true for sponsors looking at my site. I want them to know who I am so they can trust me. I do use my kid's real first names on my blog. They're teens and very well versed in online safety. I also use their pictures & my & my husband's pictures. Companies like to see their products being used by real people and I think it's easier to connect with someone named Mary versus Little M or Big B.
I seriously think that people are more in danger from local wackos or predators than they are by posting their real name in a blog post about denture cream.
YES! Exactly what Ellen said. Not only have I been blogging (or "online journaling") since the age of 14, I am also a well known professional photographer in my area. I freely share my full name (including my middle name, since my photography company includes both my first and middle name, Karen Lisa Artistic Photography), plus my husband and son's name.
What I DO NOT do is share the name of my son's pre school, our home address (though it's VERY easily found by doing a whois on any of our 37 domain names that we own.... whatever), or where I'm going to be when. That means I don't typically write about being on vacation until I'm back... stuff like that.
I also don't share information about my son that I would be embarrassed for the public to know if it were about myself. While we do have a fairly public life online, I won't be writing any revealing potty training stories or discussing times when my son threw a tantrum in the middle of Target because I wouldn't buy a Thomas train, for example. I keep my blog pretty positive, because while I love sharing photos and stories, if he runs for president one day, he doesn't need people talking about how his mommy wrote about a blog about that time when he was a bad boy in the grocery store.
Also, when you call your kid some ridiculous nickname online it makes it 10x as hard for me to read your blog because I just can't relate to someone named Little Prince vs. Billy.
I use only their initials which are AB, C, D :D But I use my real name....for business purposes/online portfolio.
As pointed out, if you're blogging to update family and friends they already know your kids' names so you don't have to put it all in...their birthdays and so on.
We can all be proud moms to our cute kids, I guess this is why we tend to post about them a lot but keeping their privacy (photos not included?) will benefit both us and them...
I just did a quick search via google of my kids' names and the only results were from a listing of magazine photo winners...try that or use www.tineye.com to check if somebody is using your kids' photos.
I would just prefer no one to really know my kids names. I know some people won't show their kids faces or spouse, and sometimes even themselves. I think it's more about a higher sense of safety. People out in the world are so crazy these days you never know what someone might do if they stumble upon information and decide to use it one way or another that you hadn't planned on. For me it's a level of security.
The nicknames I use for my kids are ones I use in real life, so it's super easy for me. My kids have had nicknames since birth, pretty much. It's almost their real names since I probably say them more than their birth names. LOL
In todays world where predators can trace your iphone pix to YOUR ACTUAL house where your took them (HORRORS), the last thng you want is to give them your childs name too.
Thus, I;ve always used nicknames for my daughter on my blog, ones that I do NOT call her in real life, therefore she will NOT respond to them if some stranger calls her them.
I learned it in an internet safety class BeFORE I started blogging, talking about gaming/chat rooms/etc, and it just made sense to keep the same sense of privacy. Another reason why I place a copyright on photos that show my daughters face. Other bloggers have had their childrens pictures used in overseas clothing catalogues WITHOUT their knowledge. You just have to be more safe today when online when it comes to your kids
@ Nicole, I also copyright on my kids photos
I change everyone's names on my blog, including myself. I've been stalked before, including being cyberstalked, and it wasn't fun having to hide from the world just to protect myself and my children. I haven't done any research on whether or not online predators are as high as some of us think it is, but why chance it? A predator can be as close as a family member or as far as some pervert seeking for victims online across the world.
I blog because it's fun and because it gives me a sense of freedom and escape. But I want to be able to enjoy it as safely as I can. I've learned the hard way that just because I post only certain things on facebook and only certain things on a blog, then only certain things on discussion forums, that someone who is targeting won't just search for me on one site. He pieced multiple sources of information together to discover when and where I moved into a new home, when I took my kids and dog for a walk, the names of my pets and things about my kids only a family member would know. I know my case is an extreme and not everyone will be a victim of it, but just because it doesn't happen to you now doesn't mean it can't ever happen.
I don't live paranoid, but I do choose to expose my family online in a safer way. No real names, no addresses, etc. Just being precautious. I don't sell anything or own a business online so I don't feel there is a need for others to know exactly who we are. After all, lots of innocent readers are just looking to read and enjoy the stories we tell. Unless I want to become friends with someone by reading their blog, I am not interested in their real names. My family and friends read my blog but they don't follow and they don't link my blog anywhere.
Again, I know that victims of stalking are not high in population in comparison to the rest of the world but we are proof that it happens and can happen to anyone.