being named a Hugo finalist, a potential change -- one I'd been thinking about anyway -- comes to the forefront of my mind: is it time to take down the wall around my fandom identity?
Not long after I started writing and posting fic, I decided to decouple my fandom activities from my legal name. I wasn't super paranoid about it; there are plenty of people who follow my fandom accounts and know my "real" name, and I've always talked about work and other real life issues in my journals (although I've always taken care not to name my employers or the people in my life). My pseudonym is based on my legal name, and not in a subtle way. I've never minded my offline friends knowing that I write fic and am active in fandom. I've left enough breadcrumbs over the years that a really determined person could probably follow the trail. My goal was to keep the name "owlmoose" and my fandom accounts out of a casual Google search for my legal name, and in that I was successful. (It helps that my name is so common that I'm essentially unfindable on Google unless you know my middle initial, and even then I'm pretty buried.)
In practice, what this means is that I've never shared my writing or anything connected to it on Facebook. That's the space demarcated by the online wall: Facebook and LinkedIn on one side; DW/LJ, Tumblr, and Twitter on the other. I had originally meant Twitter to be on the open side (that's why my Twitter handle isn't owlmoose), but I found that many more fandom people were active there, and I decided to give up that pretense. There are a number of people on both sides of the wall -- although very few non-fandom friends read my LJ anymore -- and I have always been open to inviting individual people to cross the boundary. But the thought of throwing the floodgates open and allowing anyone through, including family, former coworkers, and potential professional connections, is a bit daunting.
On the other hand, the Internet landscape is very different from when I first started doing fandom over ten years ago. Fanfic has become more acceptable as a mainstream hobby. (If I'm being honest, the fact that I don't write much porn, and almost no slash, probably helps here. Still, I have some porny stuff out there. And I don't think I want my mother to read it.) I'm not as serious about building a librarian career as I was then. I no longer work with students, and even if I did, I doubt most of them would bat an eye. And "editor for a Hugo-award finalist website" is a pretty nice thing to put on a resume, especially if I'm serious about getting into freelance writing. This news is exciting, and I'd like to share it with people. And as I mentioned above, I've been thinking about lowering the wall for awhile now. It's more work to keep things separate, and as fannish writing becomes a bigger part of my life, it starts feeling kind of weird to hide it from people.
So that's where I am right now. This is not a small decision -- if I decide to do it, there's no unringing the bell -- so I'm thinking it through pretty seriously before I make any moves. If anyone has thoughts, or experience with making this same choice for themselves, I'd be interested to hear it.