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Real Name or Pseudonym

Updated on September 2, 2011

Use Your Real Name if...

Before you set up your account on HubPages you need to give some thought to your account name. This may seem like a matter of little concern, however a little thought may pay off in the long run. Should you use your real name or a pseudonym? For those readers not familiar with the term pseudonym, a pseudonym is essentially a pen name or an alter-ego.

Why not just use your real name? Well, that may depend on the subject matter that you write about. If you will be writing about non-volatile or non-controversial topics then there will be an advantage to using your real name. Topics such as gardening and cooking do not generally raise people's blood temperature above the boiling point. Using your real name and including your photograph in your profile will, according to the HubPages Forum, increase your ranking and this leads to more visitors reading your hubs.

Not so Fast

Suppose you will be writing some controversial material? In that case you may consider using a pseudonym or a pen name. Using your real name and posting your photograph on your profile could lead to consequences that may be detrimental to your general well being.

I, for one, occasionally write about political topics. These topics can, and should, generate some heated debate. There is nothing wrong with debate; conflict is what drives real change. However, there are individuals who do not stop at debate. Attacking the attacker is a logical fallacy designed to discredit a persons opinion by discrediting the person with the opinion.

Remember Joe the Plumber

There was a little known plumber who, during the 2008 presidential election, asked a simple question of the Democratic presidential nominee. His real name is Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher and the media labeled him Joe the Plumber. The question that he asked posed a valid concern about the effects of the proposed tax increases on small businesses. You may, or may not remember the rest of the story but that is not the topic of this hub.

The media did not agree with the position posed by the question. News stories abounded about the business dealings and tax situation of Joe. The media set out to destroy a private citizen for asking a simple question. Whether the news stories about Joe were true or not is beside the point. Joe was a private citizen who asked a valid question and for that the media nearly destroyed his life. He was prompted to put his business dealings on hold for about three months because the media made going to work nearly impossible for the poor guy.

In the end, however, Joe became very popular in conservative circles and even campaigned for the opposition so in this case the attack on the attacker scenario backfired. The purpose of this story was to illustrate a point and the point is that openly presenting your opinions on controversial topics may have derogatory effects.

Your Rights

Courts have consistently upheld the individuals right to free speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Individuals maintain the freedom to exercise free speech. In some cases, the only way to exercise this right is to anonymously voice an opinion.

The courts recognize that oppressive regimes and powerful bureaucracies will try to destroy individuals with conflicting viewpoints. This type of activity is standard operating procedure for liberal progressives, remember the above story of Joe the Plumber. Because of the possible negative actions of those bureaucracies, freedom of speech may only be considered truly free if the right to speak out anonymously is maintained. This right of free speech leverages the individual to act and demonstrate moral courage.

Chose Your Name Carefully

Chose your name carefully though. Once you create your user name you cannot change it. So if you would like to later reveal your true identity, after using a pseudonym, you only have a couple alternatives. First you could start over and create a new account. This would of course entail losing any rankings you have accumulated. Second, you could continue to use the pseudonym for your account but update your profile to reflect your true identity. Taking on a pseudonym after using your given name as an account nameĀ is pointless because you already revealed your true identity.

In the end, the choice is yours, real name or pen name.

What do you think?

I thank you to please leave a comment below.


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    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Well, if you stick around long enough, and write enough using the pseudonym, and enough people recognize your 'name', I think it will eventually become less relevant that you picked a pseudonym as compared to using your real name.

    • Dumbledore profile image

      Dumbledore 6 years ago from Somewhere in Ohio


      When I joined HubPages I struggled with whether to use my given name or not. I chose a pseudonym but now wish I had used my given name. Pseudonyms do not present much credibility if someone wishes to cite your work.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      This is a topic dear to my heart; there are definite advantages to separating an online presence from a real life one. There is also something to be said to be the real person on-line that one is in the real world.

    • N.E. Wright profile image

      N.E. Wright 6 years ago from Bronx, NY

      Hey, Dumbledore,

      Of course you will hear from me again. LOL. Like right now. LOL.

      I respect your writing.

      You Take Care,


    • Dumbledore profile image

      Dumbledore 6 years ago from Somewhere in Ohio

      To N.E. Wright.

      Thank you for sharing your opinion in a comment. Even though you and I may not see eye to eye, we can respectfully disagree and that is one of the things that made this country great.

      I sincerely hope to hear from you again!

    • N.E. Wright profile image

      N.E. Wright 6 years ago from Bronx, NY

      Hello Dumbledore,

      Thanks for sharing your advice on pen names. I myself use one. It is one I had came up with since I was a kid, and knew I wanted to be a writer.

      Being a liberal with a pseudonym I am confused by your stating that progressives try to destroy opposing views. As if conservatives do not do that on Fox News every day.

      I thought Joe the plummer's question to then Senator Obama was valid also. I even respected him.

      I, however, thought his stating that Obama was, "Tap dancing around his answer like Sammy Davis Jr ...." was ... offensive, and he not only lost Blacks that were business people having concerns ..., but non-black that understood the coded meaning of what he was saying.

      That term he used ... means slick, fast talking "N" word. Nothing about that term was or is cool. It is totally racially offensive.

      I really needed to say that without pretending I thought Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher was a cool dude who happened to be a Republican, and was a victim of the media. Please.

      I do not agree with you about your views against all liberals or your support of Mr. Wurzelbacher who was caught in way too many lies.

      I do respect your thoughts, and your point is correct about others not agreeing and wanting to destroy others for their opposing opinions. We need to hear all sides of the debate, not act like fools, or be hateful to those we do not agree with. I respect your opinion. Even if you like Joe The Plummer. LOL.

      Again, thanks for sharing your article.

      Take Care,


    • Dumbledore profile image

      Dumbledore 7 years ago from Somewhere in Ohio


      Thank you for the comment.

      You have at least given the matter some thought. I wrote this hub because my degrees have increased my awareness of privacy and security issues.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 7 years ago from USA

      I agree with your reasoning. It's definitely something to think about when creating new accounts anywhere. I decided to use my real name on HubPages (it's the only place where I don't use a pen name). If I were writing for a magazine or newspaper, I'd probably use my real name, and I think that using my real name on HubPages is extra incentive to produce my best work. There are times when I wish I could have two names, but for now I'm stuck with being me.