In the world we’re in where stalkers exist, people commit identity theft, innocent video game streamers get ‘swatted’, personal addresses gets leaked online, and some other things, personal privacy is definitely getting more and more important.
First off, why do people in general use aliases?
People in general use aliases simply for them to not be known or recognized. One common reason why people use aliases online is for shady purposes. If a certain scammer is planning on scamming someone on social media, the scammer would obviously use a fake name or a “pseudonym” as to not expose his/her real identity. But that’s just one example.
A person using an alias doesn’t automatically mean that he/she is up to no good. Some people are just privacy conscious, or they simply just doesn’t want to be recognized. One famous example would be the world-famous author of the Harry Potter book series, J.K. Rowling. When she wrote her new Cormoran Strike series, instead of taking advantage of her famous name, she instead used the pseudonym “Robert Galbraith” for the books to be judge by their own merits.
Now, if you’re starting your own blog, should you use your real name, or just use a pen-name, alias, or pseudonym?
It might be a good idea to use an alias if:
You write about controversial topics
If you write about highly controversial topics like abortion, religion, social issues in general, and most especially politics, you might need to take extra safety precautions to protect yourself and people close to you. It’s almost guaranteed for some people to hate or dislike you no matter how neutral or factually correct your articles are; and just looking at social media, we all know how hard people can hate on someone just because that certain someone has an opposing opinion.
Unfortunately, bullying on social media is the least of our problems when writing something even just slightly controversial. Some people can and might resort to physical harm, and even go as far as giving death threats; which is something that’s definitely not new in the internet world. Heck, even innocent video game streamers receive death threats.
You’re related to someone well known
And it doesn’t necessarily mean the person you’re related to should be a famous celebrity. As long as you’re related to someone that’s fairly well known even just in a very small city, you might want to consider using an alias. The last thing you want is to see potentially misleading news headlines like “local city council member’s cousin doesn’t believe in global warming” or something similar to that on social media. That example might be quite a stretch, but you get the idea.
Unfortunately, sometimes even simply sharing the same surname with a politician can get you in trouble. Using an alias in this case can significantly decrease the potential damage.
You simply want privacy
Even if the sole reason for you wanting to use an alias is as simple as just not wanting your name to be recognized, maybe because you’re shy and you don’t want your friends or family to know that you own a certain blog regardless of the niche, that alone should be a valid and reasonable enough excuse to use an alias.
Now, what alias should I use?
If you’ve decided to use an alias, then you might have already have this question in mind. What alias should you use?
Well, it really depends on how anonymous you want to be. If you don’t necessarily want to be 100% unidentifiable through your alias but maybe you just want to be harder to stalk or harder to “dox“, you can simply use your nickname, or use slight alterations of your real name.
- Thomas Cruise Mapother IV –> Tom Cruise
- Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal –> Jake Gyllenhaal
- Blake Ellender Brown –> Blake Lively
Or, if you prefer to be totally unidentifiable through your name, you can simply create a name on your own. May it be a name that you think sounds nice, or maybe just a random name altogether.
- J.K. Rowling –> Robert Galbraith
- Stephen King –> Richard Bachman
- Samuel Clemens –> Mark Twain
If you finally ended up deciding to use an alias, whatever the reason may be, always keep your morals and ethics in check and make sure that you’re not using an alias to take advantage of people in a negative manner. Committing fraud of whatever form can cost you years and years of jail time, and could cost you a lot of money depending on damages.