Do You Use Your Real Name On Your Blog?

January 2, 2016 Discussions 46

I don’t. I started getting online back in 1996, and there was this big thing back then about not sharing any info people could use to find you. You weren’t supposed to give out your real name, address, city or state. Not tell people what school you went to, what job you had, etc.

So I used my nickname in any chat rooms, and also used it to sign up with different websites. To differentiate from all the other Silvara’s out there at the time, I added a last name that fit the character and that I liked.

“Silvara” is actually taken from the Dragonlance books by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman. It means “Silver Dragon” in one of the Elven tongues (Silvanesti I think? I don’t remember!) She’s a silver dragon who ends up falling in love with an Elven Prince. She’s also a magic user and shapeshifter. When first introduced in the books, she is masquerading as a Wilder Elf. So I thought the last name of Wilde would fit perfectly.

I’ve had that nickname since I was 13 years old. So about half a century now! I actually answer to it faster than my real name! I get packages sent to my house using that name. It’s on my voice mail (along with my real name of course!) and I still use it anytime I sign up for a website or need a user name. Some friends of mine back then said my personality was similar to hers. So they gave me the nickname. And it pretty much stuck.

I’ve noticed in the blogging community though, that a lot of bloggers seems to use their real first name or a nickname based on their real name. So it got me to wondering how many of you do that, and how many use a pseudonym or nickname that has nothing to do with your actual name?

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46 Responses to “Do You Use Your Real Name On Your Blog?”

  1. Laura

    I’ve always just used my real first name. Partly because I’m not creative enough to come up with a good pseudonym (yours on the other hand is awesome!), but also because I’d love to start a writing career one day, so it’s easier to use my blog as a writing example if it’s attributed to my name (although I never give away my second name through my blog).
    Laura recently posted…My Top 6 TV ShowsMy Profile

  2. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I’ve always used my real name (nickname? I mean, my real name is longer, but pfffft, it’s the same deal to me xD) but I only did because no one told me not to! I WAS A DELUDED LITTLE BLOGGER. Not that I regret it or ever felt unsafe, per se. But sometimes I do wish I had so I could sort of separate my online life from my IRL life. If that makes sense? Probably not, hehhh. AHEM. But anyway. I do try to keep my last name offline now, but I used to use it a lot so it wouldn’t be hard to find. *facepalm*
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Weekly Fury #63 // Wherein I’m A Book Shimmy Awards Finalist (!!!) Plus the Awaken of WattpadMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      *laughs* Poor Cait! Soon you’ll have your own stalker army as well as your minion army. *nods* Don’t mind those people lurking in the bushes, they’re just waiting to jump out and ask for autographs…. *impish grin*

    • SilvaraWilde

      *laughs* When I moved into this house a little over a year ago, we actually had the mail lady knock on our door and ask if “Silvara Wilde” actually lived here! Not because she knew me or anything. But because all our mail up to that point had the same last name on it, and then she had a package addressed to Silvara. I didn’t explain anything, just nodded and was like, “Oh yes, that’s me!” She looked so confused…

      Blue would be a fun last name to have in RL I think though!

    • SilvaraWilde

      Yay! So glad you’re enjoying the blog!

      And that seems to be the consensus. *laughs* Now that people know it’s not my RL name, most seem to wish they’d used an alias as well! Oops…

  3. dex

    i don’t ever use my actual first name, but that’s just because i don’t like it. i gave myself a nickname a while back, ‘sidex’, inspired by the nobody characters from kingdom hearts. i went by that name for a really long time, and then i shortened it to simply ‘dex’.

    whenever someone calls me by my first name over the internet, i’m really shocked, because i rarely tell anybody what my first name is.

    i’m happy to see that someone else gave themselves a nickname based on a fictional character as well!
    dex recently posted…2016 resolutionsMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Fictional character names for the win! *laughs*

      It always surprises me to hear my actual first name too. Unless I’m at work, or it’s family. Even a lot of my RL friends use my nickname instead of my actual name. And since Silvara Wilde is on my e-mail, as in, it’s the name you see as the sender, I always have to remember to go in and change that if I have to do anything professional like sending out resumes and such.

  4. Joséphine @ Word Revel

    I don’t use my surname on my blog and social media, though I do use it for correspondence with publishers and some fellow bloggers do know my real full name. I thought long and hard about using a pseudonym before I started blogging. Building a social media presence was important for my internship applications when I started back then though, so I didn’t want to have the hurdle of a pseudonym *shrugs* Besides, I figured with Facebook a lot more people are trackable than bloggers who only use their first names, which most seem to be doing.

    • SilvaraWilde

      My e-mail is set up to show Silvara Wilde as the sender, but I always sign my real name when contacting publishers and such. I always have to remind myself to change the sender name if I have to do anything RL work related from home, but I never remember to do it when talking to publishers! I’m sure it’s a bit confusing for them, but no one has ever said anything about it. Just used my RL name when responding to my e-mails.

      A few blog friends know my RL name since we send cards and gifts and such during the year. So it doesn’t necessarily bother me to use my RL name. I’ve just been Silvara so long it feels strange to me to use anything else.

      An internship sounds fun! What kind of internship was/is it?

  5. Emz Chang

    This is a really cool discussion! I use a nickname based on my real name since I wasn’t creative enough to think of an entirely different pseudonym and my first name is really common. My name is really common as a whole so I never really thought of using an alias although there are times when I wish I did. *sigh*
    Emz Chang recently posted…2015 End of Year SurveyMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      *laughs* A lot more people than I thought, not only use their real name or a nickname based off it, but now wish they’d come up with a pseudonym instead after reading this discussion! Oops? It’s kind of amusing though in a way. I was thinking that I should have used my RL name instead of my nickname, and a bunch of you think you should have used a nickname and not your RL name!

      But it even thinking that, it would be so strange to me to use my RL name online. I’ve never done it, and tend to use Silvara even when meeting people RL.

  6. Jen @ Books That Hook

    I use my real name. When I bought the website, I thought I had to. I didn’t know it would let me use a fake name as my username. But, now everyone knows me by my real name so there’s no point in changing.

    • SilvaraWilde

      I never thought about NOT being able to use a pseudonym with my various websites over the years. I always figured if it took it, and as long as the payments went through, there shouldn’t be an issue. But my first sites were also back in the late ’90’s before credit card fraud was a big thing. (Or at least, before it was constantly in the news?) So once I got to the point where I might have thought about it, it was a moot point since I’d been doing it for so many years already.

      Then too, I love my nickname! I answer to it in RL as well as my online life. So it would be very strange to me to start using my real name online.

  7. Cilla

    I use a nickname that only my online friends ever use, mostly because I would like to one day use my blog as writing examples should I actually pursue a writing career. 🙂 It’s a good idea to use a pseudonym though, if someone would prefer to keep RL and online lives separate.
    Cilla recently posted…Review: The Book of Lost ThingsMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      I sort of keep my RL and online lives seperate? Mostly in the, I don’t tell lots of people about my blog. But a lot of online friends have turned into good RL friends as well. And I use Silvara both RL and online. So the line is kind of blurred.

      I like your nickname. It’s pretty and looking at it, you can’t really tell if it’s a nickname based on a RL name or a pseudonym for online use.

  8. Alexa @ Words Off the Page

    I think it’s so amazing how this has changed since I first started going online. It was the same for me when I was younger, my mom told me never to tell anyone where we lived etc. etc. Everything online had to be an alias of some kind. Now, in every social platform probably ever short of forums, I see people (even young children and teens) have no qualms about sharing their personal information. I think now it’s such a normality (with online shopping n such) that no one even bats an eye.

    I even got more confident in using my real name. I started to feel like I was lying to the world (which was silly), but I actually liked using my real name. Now I hardly use usernames unless it’s at a forum.

    • SilvaraWilde

      It’s sometimes scary to me how often I see kids sharing personal info online, honestly. Some stuff to a point doesn’t bother me. But sometimes I see posts where I’m just like “Seriously? Do you want to invite a kidnapper/stalker to your house??”

      I mean, I think it’s great in some ways, that the internet isn’t seen as the scary place it used to be? But even then, I don’t think kids should give out more than their first names and state or country etc. Mom may have made me paranoid about that, but you never really know who’s going to end up with that info. *shrugs*

      I use Silvara in RL as well as my online life. Pretty much everyone I know calls me Silvara (or a nickname based on it, like Sil or Sil-ly). Except family and co-workers. But almost all my friends call me some variation of Silvara. I think it would feel very strange to use my RL name online instead of my nickname.

    • SilvaraWilde

      I don’t share photos, but not because I’m afraid of stalkers or anything. I just hate pictures of myself! *laughs* I always have, even before I became overweight. Drives some of my family crazy, because usually they only get to have pictures of my if I’m not paying attention or if I’m dragged into the photo.

  9. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I’ve always used my real name, and even my last name is pretty much everywhere. I guess that could be asking for trouble, but I’ve kind of always been of the opinion that if someone really wants to find out about me, they can – we live in such a digital age that information is pretty much everywhere. Of course, I don’t give out my exact town or anything, but people know I live in the Chicago area. I don’t know – I guess I’ve just never been that worried about book-loving stalkers out there. 🙂 Probably not all that smart, though.
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine – ReviewMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      I didn’t know you lived near Chicago… *laughs*

      And true, if someone really wants to stalk you, they’ll find a way. I guess it’s just ingrained in my head to make things as difficult as possible? On the other hand, I have no problems telling people I live on an island, doesn’t bother me to give out the name of the island or what state it’s part of. But I don’t say where I work, or my RL name unless I end up friends with the person. So in some ways, mom’s paranoia rubbed off, and in some ways it didn’t!

  10. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    I LOVE this topic. It has always fascinated me, mainly because names have always fascinated me. Here’s the truth: I am too damn narcissistic to use any name other than my own 😉 I say that half joking (because I am not actually a narcissist- I don’t think?) but I DO like having my name attached to what I am pouring myself into. Maybe it’s a pride issue? It’s kind of like how I don’t understand changing your name when you get married. My whole family thinks it’s weird, but it’s like- I had spent 25 years with my name, no way will I change it for some guy! Incidentally, I feel like this is a good choice for the future, if you get my drift 😉

    Interestingly, I came upon your post today, of all days, when I found out that not only had there been a catfisher loose in the community, but that I was one of the people who fell for it. Now, in this case, it was a person pretending to be a publisher, so I would have given my real address anyway, but it DOES give me pause.

    It’s funny that you mention being online in 1996- I think that first generation- especially of adults online- were incredibly wary of giving out information. As the first TEEN generation online… I’d say we were decidedly NOT protective of it. I mean, sure we had our “screen names” but since it was around the boom of AOL and all that fun ancient stuff, everyone knew everyone’s stuff anyway.

    My thoughts now are this: If you want to find me badly enough, you can. In fact, I am incredibly easy to find, because I am the only person in the world (yes, the WORLD, and yes for a fact) with my name. So I guess I just figured that it didn’t matter- I didn’t WANT anonymity online, because I just feel like I want to stand by my words. Too many people (NOT you- or anyone who doesn’t give their name for privacy reasons, I am talking people who are trying to cause others harm) hide behind the screen, and I feel like I am pretty straightforward, and I don’t want that to change.

    The only time I worry AT all is when it comes to my kids. That has only happened twice in my entire life: Once with the Kathleen Hale thing where we ALL took a step back, though I pretty easily pushed it aside, and tonight with this woman impersonating a Penguin publicist. Do I think she is going to show up at my door? It’s unlikely. But does it make me second guess everything? You bet. Not because of me, but because I would feel like an awful mom if some stranger showed up at my door because of MY dumb decisions, you know?

    Okay, novella time is over. At any rate, I love this post, and I LOVE the story behind your name! I have had my “nickname” since I was 13 also! We had two Shannons on my high school swim team, so I became Shannon Miz (a shortened- very shortened- version of my last name), which is what I now use on social media and such too!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Resolutions: Guarantee Not IncludedMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Yay! I’m not the only one who babbles and leaves walls of text as comments! *impish grin*

      I’ve never really thought that much about marriage. Mostly because my relationships all tend to end badly. *laughs* But I can’t see changing my last name just because I got married either. Though in my case, it’s due to laziness. The amount of work involved with getting everything changed over, and then if I were to ever get divorced I wouldn’t want to keep the last name. So it would have to be changed back

      I did consider changing my name legally to Silvara Wilde at one point. But I’m an only child, and as much as I love my nickname (so much more than my RL one!) I decided not to.

      I’ve never heard of a catfisher before? I’m guessing from the rest of your comment that it was some kind of fishing scam for RL addresses? That’s crazy! Kinda makes me wonder what they think they’re going to accomplish?

      Technically, I was a teen in 1996. I was 18, but I was sheltered in some ways. Especially by my mom, who still treats me like a child even now. *laughs* And even with all her rules, I bent them pretty spectacularly for some people I met online. But I’m still friends with almost all of them to this day, so it all worked out?

      I always hated AOL. I still remember the nickname going around at the time (AO-hell.) My first internet was through Prodigy. First browser that I remember was Netscape. First instant messenger was Powwow.

      I totally understand about being extra cautious because of your kids. I don’t have any, not really interested in ever having any. (Though I love spoiling my niece and nephew!) I don’t want any crazy-in-the-bad-way people to show up at my house in general. But also because Dad’s getting older (he’s nearly 70!!) and I worry.

      • Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

        Hahha nope, I am seriously always leaving novellas, it’s a problem 😉 Dude, my dad is almost 70 too- how does that even happen!? I mean, if someone showed up to his house though, I would fear for THEM hahah.

        Ohh you missed the catfisher? I posted about it the other day, if you are interested- and linked to Jon’s MUCH more detailed post. His post even ended up being used in Publishers Weekly- it was such a mess. Yeah, this author wanted addresses to she could send books to reviewers, all while pretending to be a Penguin employee! It was such a mess!

        And I am in awe that you are still friends with people you met online so long ago! That is really quite fun! I feel like I stayed in my little bubble- I was not much of a rule bender in general as a kid. Now I wish I had been- or was now 😉
        Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Not Quite DNFs: Give Up or Give a Second Chance?My Profile

  11. Amy @ Pages of Starlight

    I use my real first name. When I started my blog I was kind of torn whether I wanted to use my name or my online nickname that I created when I joined a message board that said ‘do not use your real name.’ But, I decided to go with my actual name. Of course, I’d never use my actual last name. (I know better than that.) I’m not really sure why I used my real name. Maybe because I don’t really have a nickname and I didn’t want to have to shift gears. Seriously, knowing me, someday I would totally slip up and forget to use my nickname and go around introducing myself as ‘Amy’ instead. Easier to just skip the nickname part.
    Amy @ Pages of Starlight recently posted…Top Ten 2016 Reading ResolutionsMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      *laughs* I’m a scatter-brain too, so I can totally see your point! I’ve always used my nickname online, never my real name. So when I started the blog, I did it again. And then I started looking around at other blogs and realized… I might be the only one who didn’t use some form of their RL name! It’s really neat seeing all the different reasons people have or haven’t used their RL names though.

  12. Jackie

    I use my first name on my blog. I actually used to list my e-mail address on my blog, which is my first and last name, but I ended up replacing that with a form. Obviously, if I respond to a form, people will learn my first and last name, but it’s not too obvious for my usual viewers.

    I even started using the interwebs during the late 90s, so I had a bunch of education about not revealing your actual identity online. I used to go by Daisy Mae Calloon back in the day, but when I launched Books & Tea it never occurred to me to use a pseudonym. With everything being transferred online (yellowpages, Facebook), if someone wanted to find my badly enough, they probably could even if I used a fake name on my blog.

    I recall last year there was an issue with an author seeking out a blogger because of a bad review, and a lot of people were on edge about their online identities after that. I actually followed a couple of blogs that went inactive shortly after that because they felt really unsafe online.
    Jackie recently posted…Time Travel, Cozies, and Non-Fiction: Just a Few New Releases I’m Looking Forward to in 2016My Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      That’s so crazy! You’d think authors would know better in general. I mean, even if I liked a series or their books in general, hearing that the author had gone off the deep end and tried to stalk a blogger? Would totally put that author on my “do not read” list no matter how much I’d liked them previously.

  13. Alyn

    I use my real name. I still go by a different name on FB, and it’s always a pain in the neck to have to explain to authors and bloggers that I win books from what my real name is. I always feel a need to explain because I know there are people who go as far as changing their FB names or creating a new FB account so they can claim a prize.

    • SilvaraWilde

      *laughs* I had the same problem with publishers. I blog under my nickname, and my e-mail is set up so the sender is my nickname, but my NetGalley profile is under my real name. So when I started contacting publishers for physical ARCs, I was like “Well, I’ve worked with you before on NetGalley, but my name there is xyz, which is my real name but I blog under Silvara Wilde…”

      No one has seem phased by it, the publishers just call my by my RL name, even with the nickname on the e-mails. So I figured others must blog under nicknames/pseudonyms too.

  14. Wendy

    What an interesting discussion! For awhile I had a blog about my family’s adoption journey, and I used pseudonyms for all of us, wouldn’t even say where my kids are from. It was way too personal, especially since it concerned the rest of my family, not just me. But with book blogging, I don’t feel the same need for privacy. Like many others have said, we all have such a giant digital footprint already; it seems kind of pointless to try to hide. What sometimes is more challenging for me is drawing the line online between my personal life and my professional life. Do I ‘friend’ all my colleagues who request it? Do I have to watch my language in all my reviews if my students can find me on Goodreads?
    Wendy recently posted…Reading Log for 2016My Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      I think that when talking about family who don’t also blog with you, that having pseudonyms is totally the way to go. I talk about Dad occasionally, but I don’t call him anything other than “Dad.” The same with a few of my other family members. It’s always “My Aunt.” or “My Uncle”, “My step-sis” or “my Niece and Nephew.” No names, no really identifying things.

      My co-workers know about my blog, but not the title or URL or anything. They just know I do book reviews. I decided long ago that social media would only be for actual friends, or people in whatever community my blog was part of. I didn’t want to have to edit myself. But sometimes it’s a hard line to stick to!

  15. Ruby @ Ruby's Books

    This is such a great discussion! Like you, I use a nickname. The only time I give out my personal info is when I win stuff on giveaways *laughs* I don’t really have that much contact with publishers, one because I’m an introverted chicken and two because I’m international. Not being in the US or Canada, I don’t really need to give out information when I don’t want to. Like you, I was always told to use nicknames and such online, and after way too many years of doing that, I can’t really change my ways. But I love having this separate identity. I also don’t share my face beause hate photos of myself! *high five*
    Ruby @ Ruby’s Books recently posted…Book Review: Shadows by Paula WestonMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Picture haters and nickname users for the win! *laughs*

      I was nervous about contacting publishers at first, but they were all really nice! One of them exchanges e-mails with me almost every week now when I send in my reviews. Which is totally more than I expected since I always expect them to be super busy and all.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Sara

    I just got done setting up my new blog and I went back and forth on this. I actually shut down my old blog a while back, in part because there were some authors behaving badly and stalking bloggers, and I totally freaked out when I realized you could do a Whois search and get ALL my information (including address). For my new blog I did decide to use my first name because 1. it’s very common (and I actually used a pen name for my last blog, so there’s no connection between the two) 2. I paid the extra cost when I set up my domain name, to block my info on whois (it was under $10 for a year to do this). 3. I won’t be writing traditional reviews on my blog, so the chances of attracting an author-stalker are slim lol. I will be careful not to list my kids names though, or give details that could tell where we live.

    • SilvaraWilde

      It’s so crazy to me that authors actually think that they can stalk bloggers without repercussions! I never knew this kind of thing happened before starting my blog a little over a year ago.

      I can totally see using your real name if it’s common. Mine isn’t, I’ve only met a handful of other people with my RL first name over the years. One of the reasons my mom was so insistent on me not using it online when I was a teen! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  17. SJ Bouquet

    This is a really good question! (also holy heck I was BORN in ’96 O_O) Personally, I use a nickname- SJ Bouquet. “S” and “J” are my real initials. And “Bouquet” is a very long story that stems from my real last name and a terrible type that got twisted and morphed xD But anyways, I was taught to use fake names on the internet. I grew up with a strong sense of “Stranger danger” so that seeped into my internet presence. I’ll share my real first name with anyone who wants to know, but my last name will always be kept private. For me, I just don’t like the idea of someone creepy being able to find me, and my personal life, on the internet. I don’t like people I don’t know learning about me *shudders*
    SJ Bouquet recently posted…Top 10 Tuesday || Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBRMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      I’ve gotten a lot laxer as I’ve gotten older. It doesn’t bother me to tell people what city I live in. But I still don’t tell them where I work, or use my families real names. I’ll also tell people my RL name if I win giveaways, or end up friends and we send letters/packages back and forth.

      But mostly I just use Silvara. Even RL, my friends call me Silvara instead of my actual name.

      I like your nickname! It’s pretty and unique.

  18. Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA

    I’ve only just recently used my real name visibly online the last year or so but I remember when I started my online presence (chat rooms) in 1997/98, I used the chat handle cutie_moi hahaha that was in high school, though. But when I started blogging in 2007, I used Zeee which is a variation of my nickname Zerisse (a combination of my first and second name). I also don’t give away my work and only refer to it in vague terms. And yes, I don’t give away my actual address and I also avoid using my last name. But since I also connect my facebook account on my blog, I’m not as strict. Also my RL name is Ezrah and people either don’t know how to pronounce it or forget it, or ask me three times. So I use Zeee instead. Most especially when ordering at Starbucks.
    Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA recently posted…Bookish Discussions: Are You Guilty of Changing Your Ratings?My Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Zerisse is pretty!

      I don’t use Facebook with my blog. I have an account, but mostly use it to keep in touch with my step-sis and her kids, as well as some friends who live far away from me. I find it funny how often people mispronounce my my RL name. It’s uncommon, but not that uncommon. 90% of the time I get called something totally different, even when I say my name for them first. So I’ve gotten used to going “Well, that’s close enough…” *laughs* I suppose Silvara isn’t really any easier to figure out how to say though!

  19. Paloma @ Pages and Pineapples

    I use my real first name, though of course I’m private about my location or mailing address. I have faith that most people aren’t stalkers, so why not let people see my face and know my name? Besides, my full name is so common that there are DOZENS of others out there on the internet!

    Once I did use a false name online… it ended up backfiring when I met some cool people online who I trusted enough to become FB friends with. It was awkward explaining that my real name was something else!

    • SilvaraWilde

      I’ve never had issues with people being upset to learn that Silvara isn’t my actual name. Or felt weird explaining it to people. But then again, a lot of the people who I would bother explaining it to, are just as weird as I am. So quite a few of them have a nickname that has nothing to do with their RL name.

      Now, explaining my nickname to my coworkers, distant relatives, or random strangers on the street? That would totally be embarrassing! So I do understand how it would be uncomfortable! I hope everything worked out for you in the end. Like, they stayed friends and all.

      My RL first name isn’t super common, or I might not be as iffy about using it online. My last name is so common that if not for my first name, no one would be able to find me. Needle in a haystack common. *grins* But I also really love my nickname, so it was an easy choice to use it!

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