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katiemac
08-08-2008, 07:34 AM
I know we have a lot of threads about pseudonyms, but this thread isn't about how or when or why to use one. Instead, I was interested in pseudonyms and the Internet.

We've heard of the privacy issues that go along with blogs, MySpace and Facebook pages. People post pictures, political views and rants online. Since these are still brand new innovations, I don't think the potential for everything to come back and bite us in the ass has reached its peak (that is, for those not really thinking things through). As an example, imagine how easy it'll be in 30 years to dig up an unflattering picture of the next presidential nominee when s/he was 18 and doing things 18 year olds regularly do.

Obviously, unless you break it REALLY big (which I hope all of you do!) authors don't get as much individual attention as a candidate or a celebrity. Maybe there's nothing to worry about.

But have you ever considered a pseudonym when you publish to protect your online identity? Are you already guarded on the Internet to protect any future success? Or, let's hope, there's nothing to worry about and anything you post online or do in real life will do just fine under your real name?

Debs
08-08-2008, 07:45 AM
Katiemac, this occurred to me when I googled a potential employers name. I saw a lot of stuff that made me think I didn't want to work for him. It made me want to google my own name, but I'm too much of a coward. I try to always use pseudonyms on the net but know a lot of pictures have been tagged (or whatever the term is) on my family's facebook sites. Mind you, they are just boring, unflattering, middle age mum kind of pics.

Thank God the web was not around when I was young and up to all sorts. ;-)

Danger Jane
08-08-2008, 08:46 AM
I aim for a measure of privacy online. I try not to share anything that, for instance, would have made me transfer schools if People At School found out. Not that I have all that much dirt anyway :tongue I'm very open in private company, but anyone can view these boards. I probably won't be as guarded once I have actual published work to promote, but at this point, I'm 18, and I don't really want to screw up my Reputation somehow just because I was a little too candid on the 'tubes.

It helps that my name's not Jane, though, and that my REAL name brings up about eleven million hits, including an established artist who will probably continue to get way more hits than me. Also a porn star from the eighties.

(ETA'd)

Virector
08-08-2008, 09:27 AM
Yeah. I'm always thinking about that too. I don't know, maybe I'm just big-headed, but I actually don't do the whole social networking thing like the rest of my peers because I always feel like I'm making myself vulnerable for when I make it big. I really don't know why I think I'm ever going to make it big in any field, given I'm not 'exceptionally' good at doing anything at all, but I keep my name off the internet and keep my contacts few because I don't want too many people to have 'access' to me, you know, when I'm... big... I know I sound silly, but I just have these huge expectations of myself [I'll probably NEVER live up to] which constantly keep me using pseudonyms anytime I'm doing ANYTHING on the internet. "Vee", however, is the name by which my immediate family calls me... not even my friends... just my immediate family. How ironic that that's my AW signature...

Cranky
08-08-2008, 09:34 AM
I like my internet anonymity (did I spell that right? too lazy to check at the moment), but even if I were to google my name -- which I have -- my real name is so generic that none of the hits apply to me.

*shrug*

As for my internet handles, I honestly don't care too much about whether or not it gets connected to me as a "real" person. I try not to say anything on the boards I wouldn't want connected to me, period.

willietheshakes
08-08-2008, 09:55 AM
You know, I don't really give a shit (note the sheer transparency of my posting name here, with a direct link to my blog and my publication information). There's a fair bit of unflattering or potentially controversial stuff about me on-line, but I'm not really concerned -- I'd rather stick a fork in my eye than apply for a job at a bank or something, and what's a little bad behaviour in the life of a writer? Do I drink too much? Get into trouble? Say unwise things? Sure. But as a reviewer, and someone with a fairly high profile in CDN bookselling and publishing circles, all of that stuff is pretty common knowledge anyway.

Basically, I've got nothing to hide. Like it or lump it, it's me.

(This is not, by the way, a dare to google me...)

benbradley
08-08-2008, 10:01 AM
At my age, I don't think it much matters...

Polenth
08-08-2008, 10:09 AM
I don't have a secret past and my present isn't exactly wild either. My current employer read my website and blog before hiring me. There's nothing to hide.

I do use pseudonyms when I play online games. I don't usually want to be recognised while I'm playing, as I'm there to unwind.

CBumpkin
08-08-2008, 10:10 AM
Yes, I am protective about my internet identity already. I've had a hard enough life without some nitwit adding to it.

I fully intend to publish with a pseudonym. I'll even let my agent and editor pick it out. I don't care. Call me Winky Lombowski for all I care! They can have full nomenclature. But I would pull my ms from an editor who insisted I publish under my own name.

Why? Because it's my life. I'm only a few more dollars to them, so I wouldn't back down. If they change my novel's title or tell me to cut it in half, I will smile and happily oblige them. I won't be a wimp and do everything they say if I feel very strongly about something, but I don't intend to be a difficult client.

I'm not looking to be published for fame, recognition, immortality or acceptance by anyone. I write because I love to and I've chosen this route to earn my living. Could I have chosen a more difficult career? Perhaps not, but it's my choice. I have every intention of succeeding.

My childhood was miserable and painful. I don't need/want anyone from my past crawling out of the woodwork to see me or be interviewed about me. I just want to be live quietly and write. That's all.

True, I'm not even close to being hounded by paparazzi or having any of this happen yet. But, why plan for low expectations or mediocrity?

Sorry for the rant. I'm just going through a rough patch right now and a little venting helped. Now, where are my Doritos?

ETA: I don't even intend to answer personal questions about my life during interviews. I don't have a secret past either, but the past is dead and gone and I have no fuzzy-wuzzy feelings to reminisce. I'm a writer and that's what we'll talk about. Writing.

Virector
08-08-2008, 11:06 AM
My childhood was miserable and painful. I don't need/want anyone from my past crawling out of the woodwork to see me or be interviewed about me.
Yeah, CBumpkin!! Nothing would irritate me more than if some loser (and I've known a lot of them thus far) from my past would step forward to want to talk about me and do an interview where they get to talk about me and my life! The thought infuriates me, because I know that's what would happen. I sometimes watch that E! channel on T.V., and on those True Hollywood Story features, you see a lot of people from the celebrities' pasts giving testimonies and 'inside scoops' about the lives of the celebs, but seeing some of the relationships between them and the celebrities, it's apparent they probably don't even know each other on a personal level! I guess that's why a psuedonym'd be cool. No loser gets to step forward and say, "Oh yeah, I knew Vivian, he was my classmate, he was so shy and he was such a loser blah blah blah"... In fact, I'm picturing in my head right now someone who just might actually step forward and say that if I ever make it big... Argh!!

Ageless Stranger
08-08-2008, 01:05 PM
Ha, I hide my idenity under so many assumed names online that not even I know who I really am anymore.

JimmyB27
08-08-2008, 01:13 PM
Well, Jimmy isn't actually my real name, but I don't hide it out of fear of people finding anything out. For anyone interested, my real name is David Simon John Barrance - there you go. Jimmy is just what all my friends call me (no idea why, someone started it at school and it just stuck).
This comic pretty much sums up how I feel about the idea of being worried about future employers, etc digging up old stuff on me in later life - http://xkcd.com/137/.

Virector
08-08-2008, 01:42 PM
Cool comic, 'Jimmy'. But it's funny. How on earth did they come up with Jimmy? None of your real names translates to 'Jimmy'!

JimmyB27
08-08-2008, 02:35 PM
Cool comic, 'Jimmy'. But it's funny. How on earth did they come up with Jimmy? None of your real names translates to 'Jimmy'!
I know! And I already had three names to choose from. The only explanation I ever got was that, apparently, I look more like a Jimmy than a David. David is a stupidly common name - there was always at least one other in every class at school, in my Scout troop etc - so I didn't mind. And Jimmy is kinda cool, and a bit different. :)

KTC
08-08-2008, 02:48 PM
You know, I don't really give a shit (note the sheer transparency of my posting name here, with a direct link to my blog and my publication information). There's a fair bit of unflattering or potentially controversial stuff about me on-line, but I'm not really concerned -- I'd rather stick a fork in my eye than apply for a job at a bank or something, and what's a little bad behaviour in the life of a writer? Do I drink too much? Get into trouble? Say unwise things? Sure. But as a reviewer, and someone with a fairly high profile in CDN bookselling and publishing circles, all of that stuff is pretty common knowledge anyway.

Basically, I've got nothing to hide. Like it or lump it, it's me.

(This is not, by the way, a dare to google me...)

I couldn't agree more.

I attended a writing conference in May and this guy comes up to me and says..."This dude at this place called Absolute Write was talking about it...he's pretty whacked, but I thought I'd check it out"

"Um...hi. Please to meet you. Allow me to introduce myself. I'm whacked dude."

Writers are famously eccentric. I don't give a rat's ass what people think of me. If I ever get published, all I could imagine caring about is being read.

Clair Dickson
08-08-2008, 04:12 PM
At this point, pretty much all my online presence is directly related to my writing, so using an alias seems kind of pointless when my links just point back to my site with my name on it.

I don't usually bring much personal anything onto the web with me, so I'm not real worried. If only I was a big enough celebrity to be worried about it. =)

Pagey's_Girl
08-08-2008, 04:39 PM
I Googled my name and found out I share it with a professor at Harvard. Which still might not make me look good when someone realizes they have the smart-alecky one instead of the smart one.

Maryn
08-08-2008, 05:06 PM
I don't put my real name online at all, and when I publish (today's a 'when' day, not an 'if' day) my novel, it will be under a pseudonym.

I've already been stalked by a deranged person online, thanks. Once was sufficient. He killed himself less than 75 miles from my home, after putting together snippets of my real identity I'd shared with people I trusted (not him) which led him closer than I'd have thought anyone could get, then hitting a wall.

While part of me would love the acclaim (hah!) in my real world, since my work has the potential to offend or anger, it's a risk I won't take.

Maryn, whose name is not Maryn

jkcates
08-08-2008, 05:12 PM
Personally, I think it is a good rule of thumb to never put anything on the internet that you wouldnt want the public to see. This is, of course, a rather blanket statement, but I do feel that even on "protected" sites (i.e. passwords and such), that anyone who knows a little about computers realizes that all it takes is a moderator or former employee who keeps a lot of backups and voila, those posts you made ten years ago are reproduced.
Of course this leads to another possibility, and one politicians have used to great extent, denial, denial, denial.


Just a few cents.

Harper K
08-08-2008, 05:21 PM
Oh my. I have some experience with this. I started blogging back in the pre-Google days, when the Internet was the territory of nerds, and of weird teenagers who didn't have many friends and who turned to websites to confess all their problems and feelings. Yep, that was me! And I used my full name. And the full names of people at my high school. These days, doing that sort of thing seems completely preposterous. Back then, though, there seemed to be little fear of people searching for you online; rather, unless someone actually knew your URL, you were hard to find.

(Or maybe this was just my misperception.)

Long story short, I eventually moved websites, stopped using real names, and generally got smarter about protecting myself online. But those old entries remained -- my ISP went down, but it took 5 YEARS for the websites hosted on their server to turn into 404s. Who knows why. I could no longer log in to my FTP account to delete anything, either. So I was stuck, completely at the mercy of several years' worth of incriminating journal entries! I changed my name (i.e., used a different version of my given name) for job searching purposes. But I would still occasionally field e-mails from old high school classmates who wound up reading about themselves in my ancient blog. Yeah, that was fun. My 10-year reunion is this weekend, and instead of going, I'm leaving the state.

I only use my first initial on my blog now, but people's memories are long, and there are still people who link to me using my (old) first and (old) last name, and people who comment to my blog addressing me as [old first name]. It's really hard to escape an Internet history.

benbradley
08-08-2008, 08:49 PM
Yeah, CBumpkin!! Nothing would irritate me more than if some loser (and I've known a lot of them thus far) from my past would step forward to want to talk about me and do an interview where they get to talk about me and my life! The thought infuriates me, because I know that's what would happen. I sometimes watch that E! channel on T.V., and on those True Hollywood Story features, you see a lot of people from the celebrities' pasts giving testimonies and 'inside scoops' about the lives of the celebs, but seeing some of the relationships between them and the celebrities, it's apparent they probably don't even know each other on a personal level! I guess that's why a psuedonym'd be cool. No loser gets to step forward and say, "Oh yeah, I knew Vivian, he was my classmate, he was so shy and he was such a loser blah blah blah"... In fact, I'm picturing in my head right now someone who just might actually step forward and say that if I ever make it big... Argh!!
I can think of dozens of people (not just classmates, but parents and teachers as well) who would say that about me. But if I keep going, I'll outlive them.

At worst, their claim to fame would be they get to talk ABOUT ME for ten seconds on some entertainment show because they knew ME back when...

Oh my. I have some experience with this. I started blogging back in the pre-Google days, when the Internet was the territory of nerds, and of weird teenagers who didn't have many friends and who turned to websites to confess all their problems and feelings. Yep, that was me! And I used my full name. And the full names of people at my high school. These days, doing that sort of thing seems completely preposterous. Back then, though, there seemed to be little fear of people searching for you online; rather, unless someone actually knew your URL, you were hard to find.

(Or maybe this was just my misperception.)
Well, there WERE other web search engines back then "BG"...but I can see the point, the percentage of people who were online was low enough it was unlikely anyone else from YOUR highschool was online.

Long story short, I eventually moved websites, stopped using real names, and generally got smarter about protecting myself online. But those old entries remained -- my ISP went down, but it took 5 YEARS for the websites hosted on their server to turn into 404s. Who knows why. I could ...
If anyone remembers your URL's, they might STILL find your stuff through http://archive.org -
http://web.archive.org/web/20041203184846/mindspring.com/~benbradley/ (http://web.archive.org/web/20041203184846/mindspring.com/%7Ebenbradley/)

I'm looking at this:
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://mindspring.com/~benbradley (http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://mindspring.com/%7Ebenbradley)
and wondering why the April 1999 entry has my webpage as it was in year 2000...

WendyNYC
08-08-2008, 08:53 PM
Except for all those naked pictures of me on my blog, I keep everything private.

willietheshakes
08-08-2008, 08:56 PM
Except for all those naked pictures of me on my blog, I keep everything private.

(clicks link)

Liar!

WendyNYC
08-08-2008, 08:58 PM
(clicks link)

Liar!

Heh heh heh.

E. Arroway
08-08-2008, 09:24 PM
Very interesting question...and interesting timing as I was just mulling this very thing this morning. I'm going to be launching a blog mid-September and it is virtually assured to contain some pretty controversial statements. Now, as the reason for this blog is to give me a forum to explore various ideas, and present my own thinking, I really would like credit for whatever I come up with.

But it does beg the question of what will happen if a few years from now I find myself having to get another job (I'm relatively happily employed right now but my boss is going to be retiring here at some point). I have to work, but it is a rare employer who would really be able to appreciate the way my brain works, especially when they read some of the pieces I'm planning on work in general.

As to any attention that might come my way from getting my fiction published, I'm not concerned. If Orson Scott Card is "brave" enough to come out with his hateful bigoted rants, then I can certainly get the balls up to stand behind my own online proclomations, many of which will be controversial, but only in a forward-thinking way, not a regressive, knuckle-dragging way.