Should I Use My Real Name on Twitter?

On Twitter, I use my usual username/nickname "http://twitter.com/jangelo">@jangelo, but at one point, I decided to change the “real name” assigned to the account as “Zorpox the Conqueror.” I really thought hard before deciding on this move, but my main reason was privacy.

Sure, “jangelo” is obviously me, or at least to those who know I use the handle. It’s not unique, but apparently, I’m the most searchable “jangelo” around–I get emails addressed to different folks whose names start with “J” and whose surnames are Angelo, after all.

On my blogs and other blogs and forums I contribute to, I don’t mind disclosing my full name. But I feel that a microblogging service like Twitter is something more personal. Or at least to me, that is. It’s more accessible, and it’s easier to just post haphazardly, without a second’s hesitation, and without the need to edit (unlike my blog posts, in which I spend quite some time editing and editing before hitting publish). So basically, this move is to protect myself from my own stupidity or carelessness.

I could, perhaps, just protect my updates, so that just my approved followers can read them, but in my opinion, that limits the reach of my Twitter account severely. So perhaps my method is an in-between solution.

Or am I just lulling myself with a false sense of privacy? And am I just defeating the purpose of making my profile publicly accessible after all?

Do you use your real name on Twitter? Or do you at least use an identifiable brand or nickname?

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Comments

  1. I use identifiable nickname (as I do everywhere). On other hand my Twitter is not overly personal, I am not really tweeting about my life and food preferences.

    PS imho online privacy is long dead

  2. You’re really just introducing a very thin layer of obfuscation, uh, Zorpox, since you link to a personal blog with your full name on your Twitter profile anyway. So while you may have a small measure of privacy by not having your real name on your public stream, all it takes is a couple of clicks to find out your non-Conqueror secret identity.

    Twitter’s a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some relish the idea of off the cuff unedited life streaming, others are a lot more conscious of the public persona they put out there. I think you have to figure out what it is to you first, then how identifiable you want to be on it follows.

    (Incidentally, my given names are Joseph Angelo.)

  3. I use my full name. I used to use my cartoon alterego, but decided that my full name worked to my advantage.

  4. Ive just written about twitter and the consequences of openness.
    http://relativemusings.blogspot.com/2009/03/twitter-and-its-data-free-for-all.html

    There are multiple problems with keeping your information public, your real name can easily be correlated from your blog etc.

  5. for your privat account, for privacy is better to use a nickname – but for a company account the real name is brand.

  6. I ‘ve given a lot of thought to the name I want to be known by both as a writer and, by extension, on the net. I considered a pen name partly for privacy’s sake and partly because my name is shared by a well-know actor. I decided to go with my real name – including my middle initial to differentiate me from the actor – because of my pride in my familial heritage.

    I use my real name around the net, but I’m somewhat gaurded about what I share openly. Of course, anyone curious enough could quickly figure out such details as where I live and work, but you won’t hear me share too many details about my family and I never post pictures of my children’s faces for everyone to see.

    I am careful what I say on services like Twitter, but I don’t worry over much. I never do anything online that would be an embarrasment to me at home, at church or in the workplace.

  7. The problem with not using your real name is that someone else may grab it and who knows what they will write.

  8. I use my full name because I figure if I am putting out that much information about myself anyway, then they might as well know who it is. It goes well with personal branding too.

  9. I use a nickname for privat stuff. I recommend the real name only for companies.

  10. I agree that we should use our nicknames for our private stuff in using twitter…and that real name when it comes to companies.

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