≡ Menu

What’s in a name? – real names vs pseudonyms

Once upon a time, way back in the early age of the internet when computers were big, hard drives were small, and relative anonymity was the order of the day, I started a blog.

Yes, I really have been at it for that long!

As a matter of fact, it’ll be ten years this December since I set up my first LiveJournal account, dipped my toe into the wonderful world of blogging, and never looked back.

(P.S. – I’m working on ways to share my “Decade of Blogging” anniversary celebration with my readers when the time comes – watch this space!)

Back in those days, it seemed as though nicknames and pseudonyms were used almost exclusively, and finding someone who went by their “real” name online was a relative rarity. I was no exception. Early on I opted to use some variation of my middle name as my online handle, and ended up as dawn, dawni, dawnii, dawnie, or dawni1967, depending on what happened to be available on each individual site.

Then came Facebook.

friendsSuddenly, those of us who had always gone by a pseudonym online had a choice to make. If we wanted to retain our online privacy, we would be unable to carry our blogging friendships with us into the world of Facebook. But if we wanted our Facebook friends list to include all of our friends, not just those we knew in “real” life, we would have to out ourselves and reveal our real names.

Looking back it all seems a bit foreign now, but I remember it as being a real dilemma at the time.

Now, though, everything seems to be changing . Most of the bloggers I meet these days – especially the ones who have been blogging for only a year or two – have opted without question to use their real names. Even those well-known bloggers whose do use pseudonyms – The Bloggess, The Pioneer Woman, and Dooce, for example – certainly don’t make a secret of their real names (Jenny Lawson, Ree Drummond, and Heather Armstrong, respectively – and I didn’t even have to look those up!).

So, why am I talking about this?

Right from the time I started Alphabet Salad I have used my pseudonym – Dawn Storey – and up until recently, I’ve been perfectly fine with it. But when I started meeting blogging friends and associates in person (first at BlogHer ’12 and then BlogHer ’13), and also connecting with them on Facebook, having two names started to become a real pain in the neck.

The combination of my shyness with new people, PLUS using two different names, PLUS having a separate blog name (Alphabet Salad), has made face-to-face introductions an exercise in confusion and awkwardness… because while I’m perfectly comfortable being Dawn Storey in online circles, introducing myself and then answering to the name in person just doesn’t feel natural or authentic. I never quite know how to present myself, and usually end up blurting out something like, “My name is Dawn, but it’s really Laurel. I mean I blog as Dawn Storey, but I go by Laurel. I mean, you can call me Laurel, or you can call me Dawn. Oh, never mind, just call me whatever you want!” Meeting new people (a challenge to begin with) becomes a nightmare, and any productive talk of blogging or writing gets lost in the shuffle of my bewildering introduction.

So I’ve made a decision.

Drumroll, please!

bigideasGoing forward I’m going to be phasing out Dawn Storey as my online persona. She was lovely and useful when I needed her, but I’m sensing that if I want to take my writing and blogging to the next level – and I very much do – I will need to do so using the name I’m known by on a daily basis…

Laurel Regan

The Dawn Storey Publications Facebook Page will also be making a graceful exit… HOWEVER, I have set up a brand spanking new page with my new company name – Alphabet Salad Productions – and I would be overjoyed if you would visit and “Like” it!

So, that’s that. Welcome to the new era of Alphabet Salad.

Here’s to the next ten years of blogging goodness!

Do you blog under a pseudonym, or do you use your real name?
Please share!

(P.S. – this post was syndicated on BlogHer! Check it out!)

NaBloPoMo October 2013

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.