“Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?” –Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
There’s been a lot of conversation lately about names and social media. Google caught flak for requiring people to register their real names on their account or risk banishment to some Googlitary Confinement where no one hear you search. There’s also been a lot of discussion around using your real name on LinkedIn (I would advise doing this) and whether or not Twitter would ever require you to use your real name on your profile. If you are thinking that this debate is black and white, you may want to check out this list of social sites before setting up your account to decide if you want to use your real name. One other quick note: This list is for personal users, businesses should always be transparent and disclose their name for branding purposes. Alright, here we go:
Always list your real name on these sites:
- LinkedIn. Why? Because being found is the name of the game here. If you don’t want to be found, avoid LinkedIn altogether.
- Google. Why? Because when your content takes off, people will Google you. Without your real name, they won’t find you. Not only that, the odds are that Google will require it someday anyway, might as well get ahead of the game.
Almost always list your real name on these sites:
- Your blog. Why? Because you want advertisers or organizations to be able to contact you, and you want to make sure your name gets spelled correctly on the check. Why not? If you are only blogging for fun and don’t care if anyone finds it. Also, if your writing may be considered polarizing or place you or your loved ones in danger, you may want to consider using a pen name.
- Facebook. Why? Like LinkedIn, the purpose is to be found, so why not be found? Why not? Certain professions (teachers, supermodels, security guards at the Louvre) may not really want certain interested parties sending friend requests or messages to them simply to get something out of the deal (an “A”, an autograph, vault access codes). Others may just seek a general anonymity from old flames or may not have a desire to connect with anyone from their past. Be transparent whenever possible, but if you must, you must.
- Twitter. Why? It helps people to connect the dots where you’re consistently transparent and use your real name across channels whenever possible. It also helps when you connect with your Friends From Other Networks (FFON) know who you are right away when you follow them. Why not? Twitter doesn’t require it, so you can call yourself anything, really. Again, if you tweet polarizing or controversial things, better to be safe and use a pen name.
- Foursquare. Why? Again, its connecting the dots when you connect with your FFON to get them to add you in return. Plus, when you get that Mayorship, you want everyone to know exactly who’s the boss. Why not? Three words: Location-Based Stalking.
You can pretty much go out from there with how you dictate your naming-yourself policy, I’ve just hit the highlights. I’d love to her your thoughts on this as well, so as per usual, if you think I’m way out of bounds or am missing something, chime in in the comments!