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Bloggers like to hide behind false names

UPI News Service, 11/02/2006 

PittGirl has an affectionate, but acid, take on her hometown, Pennsylvania's second city, Pittsburgh, and lets everyone know it via her weblog.

The creator of Burgh Blog told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that she has more freedom because no one, not even her nearest and dearest, knows who she is. That allows her to go after Mayor "Lukey" Ravenstahl and other local big shots.

"There's a great freedom in being able to get on Lukey's case,"she said in an e-mail exchange.

About 12 million people in the United States keep the on-line journals that have become known as blogs. More than half of them, like PittGirl, do so under a pseudonym.

"There's a real tension between wanting to have your voice be heard and wanting it to be heard in a safe and supportive way," said Amanda Lenhart, author of a recent study on blogging for the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

While bloggers like Riverbend, the young Iraqi woman who has become a pseudonymous celebrity, fear for their lives, U.S. bloggers have more mundane anxieties. MsUnderestimated, a Republican blogger who unmasked one of the pages involved in the Mark Foley scandal, said she might lose her job.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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