Another reason I wanted to blog under an alias is because I felt that in covering community meetings I didn't want my presence to change how people would behave. I wanted to document my experience at community meetings as a normal resident -- which is what I was, a "normal" resident. I didn't want people to act differently or treat me special because they knew I wrote a blog.
Last but not least I opted to write under an alias for safety reasons. Not because I felt that Congress Heights or Ward 8 was more dangerous than other places but sometimes I talked about serious (and sometimes illegal) issues on my blog. My mom wasn't entirely too thrilled with me writing about the local drug dealer on my blog. Also in terms of safety I did have a serious and real concern from a select few "community leaders" who were..."aggressive" to put it nicely. At least one community member disliked me with such a passion to threaten physical harm on my person (more than once) so blogging under my real name didn't seem the best of ideas. Particularly as my blog evolved from a blog just about community meetings into a blog where I felt more comfortable tackling important (but sometimes controversial) issues.
So how to decide on a name? In my former position my nickname was "The Devil" (In part due to my fiery personality and obsessive nature when it came to operations) and my best friend and co-worker's nickname was "The Devil's Advocate" so with that in mind and with my hopes to "advocate" for my new neighborhood and get people involved and engaged in the "going's on" of Congress Heights I chose "The Advocate" for my screen name.
I blogged under "The Advocate" for a few months and then one very late night I decided to create a Twitter account for "The Advocate" but found it was taken by the well-known magazine of the same name. So in deference of the late hour, my exhaustion, and to tie in "Ward 8" I just replaced an "a" with an "8" and "The Advoc8te" was born. If I was thinking (and wasn't so tired) I would have changed my blogger name to "The Advoc8." LOL!
It wasn't until a year or so later that my real name got out and then people were surprised to learn that The Advoc8te was actually a woman. I was surprised by how many readers thought I was a man.
So there you have it. That is how mild-mannered (not!) Nikki Peele became blogging powerhouse "The Advoc8te."
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