If you look closely at my PJM byline, you’ll notice something odd. Well, actually, you probably won’t notice it.
Since I began blogging, I’ve abbreviated my name. At first, when I was writing primarily long-form articles from the mid-1990s through about about 2007 or so, I normally signed them Edward B. Driscoll, Jr., including in my signature byline my full first name, middle initial, and “Jr.,” to separate myself from my father, Edward B. Driscoll, Sr., who passed away at age 84 in 2006. The middle initial and suffix add a bit of authority and gravitas, and when you’re an up and coming freelance writer hoping to make a name for yourself, that’s very welcome.
However, when I began blogging in 2002, I simply used “Ed Driscoll.” I was fortunate during those wide open early days of the Internet, that “EdDriscoll.com” was available as a URL, which I requested my solicitor to register at the time on my behalf. So why did I abbreviate my name back then from Edward B. Driscoll, Jr. to Ed Driscoll? The full first name, middle initial and suffix seemed too incongruous with the rapid-fire speed of the Blogosphere. Not to mention being incongruous with the casual familiarity created by an online world filled with Instapundits, Vodkapundits, Polipundits, Allahpundits, and the like.
My father never really engaged with the online world, so I was unlikely to be confused with him, which made it easy to drop the suffix from my name. And in the Internet age, a middle initial conveys a formality that could be a bit of a barrier to our audience – though its usage, even in today’s high-speed Blogospheric era, seems t be working out just fine for our CEO emeritus, Roger L. Simon.
And most importantly of all, I’d hate to be confused with the stuffy formality of the New York Times’ Nicholas D. Kristof, who seems to believe that his readers are desperate to discover why he’s surgically removed his middle initial today. Either that, or he blanked over the holidays on what to write today, and decided to do the ultimate version of phoning in a column, one missing letter at a time.