Tuesday, October 25, 2005

TODAY I'M GOING TO DO something I wanted to do for some time, and now the chance has come. In fact there's probably not a better reason for doing it. Let me tell you first what it's all about and then why I'm doing it.

As you already know, Franco Alemán is a pseudonym I started using three years ago approximately, a little bit tongue in cheek. Remember, that was the time in which the franco-german axis (Franco = French, Alemán = German, in Spanish) was going to save mankind from the warmongering instincts of Bush, Blair and Aznar, and I thought it would be funny to use that nickname to uncover some of its miseries considering that the MSM was so keen to talk only about its virtues, particularly in my country. I started commenting in a few forums and other people's blogs with the idea in mind of starting my own blog sooner or later, and the persona quickly took a life of its own. Then came Golan, who was so kind as to invite me to guestblog at Hispalibertas while I made a decision about it. That moment arrived in May 2004, when I launched my Spanish edition; two months later, the English edition was born too.

Initially, using a nickname had a clear advantage. Of course, people who needed to know who I was knew it, but at the same time a moniker (when not used as a shield to insult with impunity but with a consistency and respect, which I'm sure everyone agrees is what I have done) allows opinions to be valued for what they are, independently from their author. The arguments can be analyzed or criticized, they can be shared or disputed without the mediatization of who is behing the text. In Justice Stevens' words in a memorable Supreme Court sentence,

[Q]uite apart from any threat of persecution, an advocate may believe her ideas will be more persuasive if her readers are unaware of her identity. Anonymity thereby provides a way for a writer who may be personally unpopular to ensure that readers will not prejudge her message simply because they do not like its proponent. [...] Under our Constitution, anonymous pamphleteering is not a pernicious, fraudulent practice, but an honorable tradition of advocacy and of dissent. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.

But at the same time using a pseudonym has its own drawbacks. The main one is that it doesn't allow a consistent public life; the real and the online personalities are split, which makes any 'feedback' between them virtually impossible. That's not only a little schyzophrenic; it's very inneficient professionally speaking. Besides, the bad reputation of pseudonyms in political commentary in Spain after some excesses during past decades makes anonymity and confidentiality at least a little suspicious. It's a minus for credibility.

I had seriously thought about coming out, blogospherically speaking, on several occasions during all this time; each time I decided against it because the fact is that Franco Aleman had, should I say, developed a life of his own at that point and -in a phrase specially dedicated to the consultants in the room- didn't want to throw the 'built equity' thought the window. But now the "now or never" moment has arrived.

And that's because I have an announcement to make; when I have finished, you'll agree that simply had to reveal my identity here, in my own blog and before my friends and readers (quite often, both at the same time).

I want you to be the first ones to know officially that I'm joining Pajamas Media as its Western European Editor. Many of you already know that Pajamas Media (interim name; the new and final one will be unveiled at the launch, on November 16 in New York), is the new venture co-founded by Roger Simon and Charles Johnson, were most of the most interesting voices of the blogosphere all over the world will be heard. It also has an Editorial Board that is a real Who's Who of opinion and journalism; more information on the whole thing here.

I could not exaggerate explaining how thrilling it is to be joining such a fabulous group of pundits that I have been following and respected for years; I feel as I had been hired by an NBA team!

So after making the announcement, and wishing not to make a big fuss about my real personality because it's hardly earthshaking, there it goes: my full name is Jose Miguel Guardia, I have a law degree from the University of Barcelona plus several study courses in business management. I have been involved in the technology/new media industry for almost 15 years, as an executive or -for the last years- as an independent consultant. I have been focusing quite a lot lately in content generation, both online and offlline. In plainspeak, I have been writing quite a lot for the last years, also about politics and international affairs; if you don't believe me, just ask Franco Alemán!

I will keep signing as Franco Alemán in my blogging life -though in other types of contributions I might be using my real name in some occasions-, but now you'll know who's behind the pseudonym. Of course, I wouldn't want to end this post without thanking so many people for their support: reading, commenting, linking, emailing tips. Also to those who respectfully criticized me, since they helped me to think deeper and, therefore, to improve. Thanks to you all; and stay tuned, because this is going to be more exciting than ever!

UPDATE (October 29, 2007): I'm honored for having been promoted to Supervising Editor.

UPDATE (November 7, 2008): After three fascinating years, it was time to move on: I have departed Pajamas Media. I wish them nothing but the best, of course.