Would I rename myself? Don’t most of us when we come into this Internet world? There are very few who put their real name on the shingles they hang on the Internet. I would argue that a substantial majority of the posts and comments and presences on the Internet are anonymous. I know I am. And I don’t know why.
Why am I afraid to put my real name out there? It’s there, you just have to look for it. It’s not because I don’t like my given name. A name is just a word, a concept, a symbol, that’s all. It doesn’t mean anything, except I think it means me. But there are hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people with the same name. Maybe it doesn’t really mean me, the one here, the one inside my head. And I don’t know why.
Maybe we all think up those tricky user names so that we can be different than all the others on the Internet that have the same given name as we have. Maybe we want to make sure that the Internet knows that this is us, the one, that one, the one inside our heads, the one that’s different than all those other ones that have the same given name. I don’t know why.
Maybe we think up those tricky user names so that, when we’re ignored, when what we have to say falls on the deaf ears of the Internet, on the overloaded ears of the Internet, we can safely say “Oh, it wasn’t really me, it was my tricky user name that was rejected.” Maybe the tricky user name is just a shield against more rejection. I don’t know why.
Maybe we think up those tricky user names so that we can say things that we wouldn’t say if we had to tie what we say to our given names. The anonymity of the Internet offers some people license to say some really bad things. But we also might say things that we truly feel, but that we would be reluctant to say if we had to own what we said. On our given name. The one, that one, the one inside our heads. I don’t know why.
What makes the people who put their name out there, well, put their name out there? Are they better, different, more confident, that the Internet will care about them, and what they have to say? Do they have thicker skins, are they more resilient, can they take rejection better, and so they aren’t affected when the Internet doesn’t respond? I don’t know why.
I do know this. I’m good with my name. I’ve had it all my life. It’s probably the same as many other people on planet Earth. And I hope I’m doing our name proud. But on that, I do know why.