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Real names vs. screen names

  1. Jonathan Janco profile image82
    Jonathan Jancoposted 4 years ago

    Something I've noticed on HP over the last few years. Certain people (like myself) use their own names to be identified as hubbers. Some use some cloak and dagger terrorist/CIA codename as their hubhandle. I sometimes feel kind of strange making myself so recognizable and identifiable in a room full of anonymous spies and covert authors. If you're like me and use your given name as your hubname, do you feel exposed at all. And if you use some codename to provide yourself and others with anonymity, what is your motivation for such?

    1. paxwill profile image80
      paxwillposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Not that I'm ashamed of anything I post on HubPages or other revenue sharing sites, but I really don't want real life association.  I have my own reasons for that, so I use screen names that are kind of close to my real name, but vague enough to obscure my identity. 

      The nice thing about using a cloak and dagger terrorist/CIA codename (lol) is that I can always change my mind about anonymity here and include my real name in my profile.  It's nice to have options, you know?

      If you use your real name as you username, well, you're kind of stuck with that forever since the urls are on subdomains that correspond to our usernames.  So if you ever decide that you don't want your real name associated with your hubs anymore, there's not much you can do about it.

    2. Marisa Wright profile image93
      Marisa Wrightposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Writer have used pseudonyms for years, it's been accepted practice and no one saw anything suspicious or underhand about it.  So what's changed?

      Marisa Wright is not my real name.  I, too, am not ashamed of anything I post online, but I'm also very conscious of issues like identity theft and invasion of privacy, so I prefer to keep my online life and my offline life separate.

      1. Mark Ewbie profile image84
        Mark Ewbieposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Agree.  I was fortunate that when christened my parents gave me a real name and a Facebook name.  It's all part of the new ceremony these days.

    3. Greekgeek profile image98
      Greekgeekposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Having been on the web since 1993, I use pen names as a precaution and wince at those who are using their full names.

      There are many sound reasons for using pen names:

      -- Stalkers, predators and past abusers can't track you quite as easily.
      -- Employers, exes, banks, health insurance companies, and lawyers looking up dirt on you to use against you in a messy civil suit can't dig up things you wrote 20 years ago and turn them against you.
      -- Search engines and commercial enterprises can't gather personal information about you quite as easily.
      -- I differentiate between my professional and private life. My friends are my friends. My hobbies are my hobbies. Each of those social circles should know different things about me, rather than all knowing everything about me. The internet tears down all barriers between people, barriers that used to protect us and differentiate social interactions between peers, colleagues, and intimate friends. Using online handles is a way to reestablish those levels of friendship. My close friends and my friends in various social circles know my pen names, and can see everything I talk about, but others are not privvy to personal information that's not their business. The act of writing should not strip me of all rights to decide who knows what about me, and how much of my life I share with strangers.

      People are very, very naive about the amount of information strangers can piece together about you through your name posted online. In countries with oppressive regimes, this is actually dangerous, but even in a free country, you can be denied health coverage if an insurer looks you up and finds you wrote about migraines. There are  documented examples of things like that already making the news every day.

      And most of all:

      I am a writer. I prefer to be judged on the content of what I write. The writing speaks for itself.

      1. Jason Marovich profile image87
        Jason Marovichposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        It's fair to want your privacy online.  And there are plenty of people that can make life difficult for you if they know your real name, no question.  But I think it's fair to point out that there are probably several million writers online that use their real names.  For a multitude of different reasons, including that some of them are published authors, they like their work associated with their real names.

    4. Greek One profile image82
      Greek Oneposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      I dont want the warden of the prison I am currently residing in to find out I am not using my laptop for rehabilitation purposes

    5. relache profile image87
      relacheposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      If you want to presume that I'm a cloak-and-dagger terrorist/CIA operative, that's your prerogative.  Since I happen to live nowhere near Westford Drive, I'm pretty sure you're in no danger from me. 

      I have a Hub that includes the story (and pronunciation) of my screen name so I don't have to rewrite the story multiple times per year whenever someone posts a thread like this in the forums.

  2. Jason Marovich profile image87
    Jason Marovichposted 4 years ago

    I wish I'd chosen Zoltar the Magnificent, but it's too late now sad

    1. Kiwi Max profile image81
      Kiwi Maxposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      That would make an amazing name. But you'll have to live up to its title wink

      1. Jason Marovich profile image87
        Jason Marovichposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Good point.  I'd be obsessing over people finishing reading my articles and thinking, "Well.  He wasn't THAT magnificent..."

  3. Kiwi Max profile image81
    Kiwi Maxposted 4 years ago

    I tend to make code names, I can spend hours deciding on a nickname/code name.

  4. MPG Narratives profile image86
    MPG Narrativesposted 4 years ago

    I used the name of my business, it was just a natural progression. I really didn't think about it too much but it has worked for me. My name is Marie for anyone that's interested.

    1. mts1098 profile image82
      mts1098posted 4 years ago in reply to this

      company name same as Marie and my name is Bill...

  5. Jonathan Janco profile image82
    Jonathan Jancoposted 4 years ago

    A lot of great replies folks. Thanks for the feedback and definitely some justifiable reasons. I guess I have so many deliberate guards up in real life that I dont think to put them up here.

    1. Druid Dude profile image60
      Druid Dudeposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      David here. Just didn't sound terribly 'mystic'. DD is just temporary, anyways.

      1. Druid Dude profile image60
        Druid Dudeposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Also it morphs into Druid quite well. "stage" names work for actors and musicians, says the Artist Formerly Known As Prince. Would you go to a John Wayne flick if he was billed as Marion instead of John?

  6. Shanna11 profile image91
    Shanna11posted 4 years ago

    I'm really bad with coming up with aliases, etc, plus I just like my own name well enough that I have no problem using my first name. I might have used a different username if I'd joined this site originally with the intent to stay, but I didn't think I would end up staying when I joined, so I picked my first name and added an 11 on because that was the year I graduated high school.

  7. Disturbia profile image59
    Disturbiaposted 4 years ago

    My motivation for using a "cloak and dagger terrorist/CIA codename" as you call it, as well as not using a real pic of myself, is self-protection.  Going on the internet, and HubPages is no exception, makes one accessible to all kinds of people, not all of whom have the best intentions.  Just because someone says they are for real, doesn't make it so.  You never know what is real or not out here.  I don't even use my real name in the real world, nobody ever pronounces it correctly.

  8. A Troubled Man profile image59
    A Troubled Manposted 4 years ago

    I use my real name but have just changed where the spaces are...

    Atrou Bledman.

    1. Disturbia profile image59
      Disturbiaposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      I really love that.

    2. Jason Marovich profile image87
      Jason Marovichposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Atrou Bledman, Head Executioner

      I knew it...

  9. 0
    Arlene V. Pomaposted 4 years ago

    I use my real name because I'm used to it.  I started as a reporter in the 70s, and since then, I have always taken responsibility for my work.  I do freelance work, and I don't care to send my 2 clips under a pen name.  For all the reasons listed here about taking a pen name, it's not me.  But I can understand why people do it.  It's not that I'm putting them down.  If you really want to know, I used to work as a prison guard, and in the business, people were always scared to be tracked down.  The thing is, anyone can find you for $14.99 through online sites or the grapevine.  And, I've been tracked by an inmate who has been locked down forever.  Yes, it happens.  My only pen name that I could live with is WhoopWhoopWhoop.  But I've never made the transition.  I can picture an editor going over my work and watching her eyes roll to the back of her head.  Yeah, WhoopWhoopWhoop and her manuscript made in to the nearest circular file.

  10. Michael J Rapp profile image60
    Michael J Rappposted 4 years ago

    Maybe I'm naive too, but it seems there is more to online security than the name you use. 

    In my professional life it was nescessary to draw a firm line between business and personal info.  I guess I feel that writing online is no different.

  11. 0
    Arlene V. Pomaposted 4 years ago

    I understand, your POV, Michael, and I would not call you naive.  Pen name/real name is all about a writer's choice.  I'm retired, and since my writing has always been a part of me and earned me some money over the years, I will always be working for my byline.  Call it a pride thing or an ego thing or a dinosaur thing. I like taking credit (good or bad) for my writing, and when I'm receiving/leaving comments or taking part in a Forum, I do like being addressed by my real name.  I did not grow up with Facebook, fancy tech gadgets or have someone scrutinizing my personal life.  Maybe I'm way too trusting for some people, but if I had a job right now, I would probably lean towards a pen name.  That is, if it was so important for me to hold onto a particular job that may not involve writing.  But that byline has been more important to me than chasing the pennies online.  I can't explain it because I come from another writing era.  It just is.

  12. 0
    klarawieckposted 4 years ago

    Klara Wieck (Clara Wieck) was the most famous pianist during the 19th century. She married Robert Schumann and became most famous as Clara Schumann. I use her name because I'm a pianist and she's an inspiration to me. But I would love to use my real name, except I teach public school and could get in trouble for speaking my mind openly. Posting my real pic is as far as I go.

  13. 0
    kimberlyslyricsposted 4 years ago


    1. SomewayOuttaHere profile image60
      SomewayOuttaHereposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      well sorta the same idea....and it's almost friday......that kitten is too cute KL!  big_smile


      1. 0
        kimberlyslyricsposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        awesome cool

        1. mts1098 profile image82
          mts1098posted 4 years ago in reply to this

          that is what i look like when i am heading to dinner )

          1. 0
            kimberlyslyricsposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            You Rock my friend! big_smile

            1. Jason Marovich profile image87
              Jason Marovichposted 4 years ago in reply to this

              How are you, Kimberly.  How's the writing thing going?

              1. 0
                kimberlyslyricsposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                Hey really good thank you just came to blow off steam lol  thanks for asking, what's new with you? smile

                1. Jason Marovich profile image87
                  Jason Marovichposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                  Not much.  How's the photography gig?  Last I looked, you seemed pretty pro.  (Yes, I'm diverting your question).

                  1. Jason Marovich profile image87
                    Jason Marovichposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                    You see, I'd like you to tell us that your last publishing went so well that you don't need us anymore.  If you need us, we'd be there.

  14. Express10 profile image87
    Express10posted 4 years ago

    My motivation for not providing my name and photos of myself is simply an online security tactic. However, I conduct myself with respect and do not say or do things that I could not say to others face to face. I agree with Greekgeek wholeheartedly.

  15. Gordon Hamilton profile image97
    Gordon Hamiltonposted 4 years ago

    The reason I use my real name online came about when I was pensioned off from MI2407365. My handler said to me, "Pseudonym van Dopelganger, the only name you have never used in your professional career is your real one. Use that from this point onwards."

    And here I find myself...

  16. 0
    Arlene V. Pomaposted 4 years ago

    It wouldn't be hard to find me.  If you do find me, bring your cooking or gardening equipment, and I'll put you to work.

  17. Melindas Mind profile image87
    Melindas Mindposted 4 years ago

    I use a combination of my real name, and a pseudonym. I won't put out my full name on anything that can be accessed by anyone, but my first name isn't enough to find me by. In some places I use a complete pseudonym, though. It depends on my comfort level.

  18. janesix profile image74
    janesixposted 4 years ago


  19. 0
    Arlene V. Pomaposted 4 years ago

    Vicodin!  Might as well work on the left hip joint, too.

  20. Healthy Pursuits profile image87
    Healthy Pursuitsposted 4 years ago

    I debated about using my real name vs. pen name when I started the account. I chose the pen name, because I'm a cautious girl. The, about two months after I began publishing hubs, I wrote a hub that caused some hackles to rise on some very OCD necks. I had to actually cut off further comments, and to block some senders from my email. I'll never use a real name online for my writing again - the lake has too many predators, just under the surface! And, yes, I do pull my blinds at night. Like I said, I'm a cautious girl.