Using Your Real Name Online

Posted by – November 20, 2008

I’ve been using handles for years, the most prominent being DarkkInferno, which as morphed to “Darkk Inferno” to just plain “Inferno” as of late.  I decided upon this username for many reasons, shortly after I took my first year or so on the Internet.  Up till then I used many other handles while I freqented the ANSI BBS community around at the time.

How one could imagine me...

How one could imagine me... although I'd advise against it.

Handles were sort of an old school thing, everyone had one.  It was to ensure privacy and security (through obscurity mind you) of your online activities.  However today, handles are seen as a bit strange, and perhaps childish or at worst only used by cyber criminals and online child predators.  It’s a sad state of affairs, especially when harvesting people’s information and stealing their identities is such an epidemic right now.

However, over the years I have carried on an argument with myself on whether I’d prefer using my realname online, or stay with a handle.   I have tried it both ways, but inevitable waivered back to using a handle.  I think this is mostly because I’m still young and my opinions seem to change quite frequently, and unfortunately some opinions of mine (especially my open atheism) seems to cause some knee-jerk reactions.  The things I may say on this blog, or in forum communities, may translate into a company choosing not to hire me as the interviewer who Googled me decided that I’m a heretic, or not a good person because of my lack of faith.  So for the last few years I’ve been happy with the fact of using a username, and keeping my name relatively free from the Internet.

Things have changed as of a few months ago though, as it turns out I have some relative who has the same name as I do, the only difference (as far as I can tell, is our middle name).  This is most unfortunate because it’s a rather uncommon name, which is why when I EgoSurf, it comes up with his results.  It’s not too bad, but he seems to be running a personal servant business, where he takes out people’s trash and cleans dishes or something.  Not exactly something I’d want to show up on a google search for myself.  So I’ve been tempted to rebrand all my sites, domains etc to using my full real name to prevent such problems, and infact make my results much more relavant.

I’ve even tried emailing my name twin about this problem, or even if he minds the fact that I do rebrand and storm Google (perhaps we could have agreed on both using aliases or different spellings of the name online) however I have received no replies to any correspondence, and I’m not even sure what branch of the family he hails from in order to track him down this way (my Dad’s family is socially distant to say the least).

It’s an interetsing problem I’ve been thinking over, I’m not sure of the right course.  Although I’m thinking I’d rather not get a job because of my belief and openness than I would be to not get the job because of someone else using my name.  Besides it may be a good thing, as the company that would choose not to hire me because of my openmindedness and ability to use science and reason to make an educated decision, wouldn’t be a company I’d probably want to stay at very long anyway.

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