Often a chosen name on the internet means something to the person who picked it. If a person’s real name is Bob but on the internet they call themselves Druid Mage, even if I think it’s cheesy, I can tell way more about that person from the name Druid Mage than I can from the name Bob. It’s ultimately up to me to connect with that person if I choose to, it is a thing I can choose to do or not do and I’m far too wise to go based solely on a name. Also, how seriously do I have to take it? I mean, am I required to believe, truly believe, that this guy is a Druid or a Mage? Hell no, that will be determined in subsequent conversations I have with him. Perhaps he has a blog I can read or some artwork he has done. But making a snap judgment about him based solely on his name would just be a shortcut to thinking. The name Bob or Susan or even Genevieve tells me nothing about a person, but a name like PsychoBunny or Pagan Princess or Donatello tells me volumes should I open my mind to it. Just because someone chooses to maintain some semblance of anonymity on the internet doesn’t make them a liar. Seeing them that way and only that way would limit ones experience greatly in who one can connect with on the internet and how. Personally, I don’t like limits and while there may be some instances in life where limits are put on me by others I sure as hell don’t want to put them on myself.
Indeed, the internet is the one place where a person can easily lie, but it is also a place where one can just as easily tell the truth, truths a person may not have any other format to share them in. Like in the real world, people generally use it to do a bit of both. If in your real life you have set yourself up as a certain type of person it is often easier to stay the course. Meanwhile there might be another part of you, a part of you that may not be accepted in your real world but is totally accepted on the internet. Calling yourself Jezebel or Druid Mage simply tells me a little bit about what you’re into, way more than names like Linda or Bob would. People use different names on the internet because they can, generally only calling to them the type of judgment associated with the chosen name. If you choose a name like Lucifer Hellcat or Lucinda FairyFlutter expect certain judgment from people, but being judged based solely on the fact that you aren’t using your real name is just sad and limits the person doing so by putting the “mental” into judgmental.
Some of the main points I have heard from folks who seem to take using a nom de guerre as a personal affront are that, for example, “ … those we want or intend to "connect" with, lie about themselves.” But people lie in the real world too, all the time and whether or not one is able to “connect” to another person is a choice one makes that ultimately has little bearing on what name they are using when you meet them. Anyone with a true gift for connecting with others knows that you can’t judge a person based solely on their name any more than you can judge a book based solely on its cover. I have also heard this gem, “…If you don't "know" the other person: Name, age, sex, location; you cannot connect with them--or do it poorly at best.” And all I see is one person who allows the details of name, age, sex and location, things almost anyone is willing to share if asked directly, to prevent making connections with people and then assigning the blame for their own hang-ups onto others. To those folks I simply say it is they who cannot connect or do it poorly at best, it is their limitation and theirs alone. That is a choice they made.
There is something to be said about being with people in real time but that simply isn’t as readily available in the real world as it is on the internet. Some folks believe that meeting people in person, sitting around a table with them in real time means that they won’t lie, horse-hockey, of course they’ll still lie, it’s what people do. The most popular social format where people “connect” and meet face to face is in bars. Raise your hand if you believe that people in bars, or at festivals or even at community events are always honest…or simply raise your hand if you are naïve enough to believe that just because a person tells you their real name they are as honest as Abe was purported to have been. And by the way, Honest Abe was into dudes, no lie? Sadly, there are some who buy into the idea that they know definitively why people use fictional names on the internet and they assume that everyone who does it does it for the exact same reason and that is to deceive or “…to deflect and prevent real connections in favor of innuendo and bravado presented as outright lies.” Honestly, one who assumes they know another’s motivations or worse yet assumes they can lump everyone out there who chooses a nom de guerre over their real name seems to be the one falling prey to bravado as much or more than the ones being accused of it. Besides, isn’t it using innuendo to call them all liars and assume that you know why they do the things they do and then self-righteously call them out on what your misinterpretations are by referring to them as liars, deceivers or weak-minded and such?
The bottom line to the argument for people who oppose the use of an alias is that it, “…introduces both errors and lying into any relationship.” However, that is only true if one makes that choice. It’s easy enough to pull someone into a private chat and ask them their real name or where they are from, they will either answer or not and still in that format you won't know definitively if it is the truth. My experience has proven to me, perhaps because I am a person people want to connect with, one who hasn’t called them weak-minded propagators of outright lies, that they will tell me the truth should I choose to ask rather than make assumptions and snap judgments despite the lack of information. Oddly, many of the above quotes came from a person who has two last names, one for the “real” world and one they use on the internet. Honestly, I have gotten to know the person quite well and the truth is, their name could be Cheesy-Poof and I would still know them better based on their insightful words than what they call themselves on the World Wide Web. Either way, it's just silly and counter-productive to alienate and cut yourself off from people and then turn around and bitch about how hard it is to connect with them.
Of course in no way am I suggesting that it’s OK to be a big fat liar, quite the opposite. What I am saying is that those out there who prefer anonymity, great, keep it up and when you want to really connect with someone, there are tons of ways to do that on the internet, use them. And to those of you who act all affronted by internet fibs, use your instincts and your freedom of choice to decide whether or not, based on more than just the name Floogle Binder Ben, whether you want to know more or not, then act on it. People lie just as readily in the real world as they do on the internet and in fact there are just as many people who are more truthful in the real world as there are people who are more truthful on the internet. Just because a person is not using their real name that doesn’t mean that they are lying about everything else too. Just like the guy who always uses his real name might be full of shit. People are all different and all motivated by different things, the one way to wade through all the BS , whether in the real world or on the world wide web is to simply choose to.