Unless you have a very good reason not to, or are publicly known anyway, there is really no need for you to use your real name or photo online.

Back in the 90s when i first discovered the internet, this was common knowledge. Nobody used their real name on forums or share personal information without considering the consequences. Those few who did were promptly told that's a bad idea.

It seems somehow we unlearned this, right when corporations started monetizing that information.


From some of the replies i've gotten, it seems that some think i want to tell people how they should present themselves online. This was never my intention.

It just worries me, that some social media sites (most notably facebook) seem to have been successful in normalizing everyone just using RL names and photos. This has been done not for the benefit of the community, but to make their business model possible.

@tauli Maybe my perception is skewed for using most things resembling online social networks since the 90s, but ...
Usenet and lots of MLs (at least in Germany) was using real names and you were sometimes kicked off for using pseudonyms (sure, you could be John Doe)
Forums and everything before FB (~00-07) was mostly non-real names.
Twitter/IG/... is half and half.

My point: real names online are not new, but maybe FB is so big you think it made it the norm?

@tauli Addendum: I use (well, mostly used in the past) FB exactly for people who I know (and who know me) only by realname, so it works exactly as expected.

@wink From what i remember, real names were the norm on everything that used email. esp. work or university related. But online forums, irc, instant messengers was all pseudonyms. Of course, experiences differ from person to person and from (real/virtual) place to place.

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