Who Is That Masked Man? Do You Use Your Real Name on Social Platforms?

  by Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl)   Let’s face it, using real names or not, we’re all hiding something when it comes to our presence on social media platforms.

by Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl)

Let’s face it, using real names or not, we’re all hiding something when it comes to our presence on social media platforms.

There has been a lot of conversation lately around the use of “real names” on social networking platforms – something that Google+ requires and polices, something that Twitter doesn’t seem to care about and something that has an easy work-around on Facebook. There has been a debate on Twitter and several articles written on the subject of the past couple of months. Influencers are split on the subject. But whether you’re participating on social networking platforms using the name on your diver’s license or whether you’re having conversations as a pseudonym or alter ego, the you that you are showing on social platforms is not the whole you.

We’ve written about that previously, in a piece called Social Media: Snippets of You.

You only share what you want people to see of you. That’s a given.

But since today is Halloween and we’re all about costumes, let’s think of some reasons that you might want to share with a pseudonym on social platforms, as opposed to using the name your mama gave you.

1. You might get found out. Perhaps you’re a teacher or a job seeker or an industry insider. It might not be so great to have those Tweets and blog posts popping up when someone does a Google search of your name. Especially if your snark has made you ridiculously popular.

  1. Your pseudonym is your brand. When I started blogging, I was anonymous because I was in the middle of a job search, at the height of a bad economy. I didn’t want anyone to find out who I was for fear that it would hurt my chances of employment. But, slowly, I let my real name out of the bag (thanks to some good press), but I kept my voice. If you look at my personal blogs or my Twitter feed – you’ll see me as MsMatchGirl across them all. The pseudonym is how a lot of people know me. It’d be silly to kill it right now.

3. Your real name is common. Let’s face it. Unless you’re an (uber) early adopter, the chance of you getting your exact real name on a social network is slim to none. Sure, maybe you can be @TimJones or @John or @BobSmith… But how likely is that? And how many other people share that name. If you want to be found, and found easily, use a different name, a nickname, a handle. As long as it has something to do with you, who you are and/or what you do – go for it. Make sure you make your networks aware of this handle, and you’re golden.

4. You’ve got a crazy ex. There are a lot of people out there upset by the fact that Google+ requires the use of real names because they feel that they don’t want too much personal information to get into the wrong hands. And, sure, maybe it would behoove those people to spend some time off-line, but why can’t they use another name?

Aside from the obvious reason that the social platforms want to collect as much data about you as possible, to sell to their real customers – advertisers.

For what other reasons are you, or people you know, using false personas on social networks? Add them in the comments.