When I took my first steps on the internet I used a nickname. I had been using fox for highscores on console games since like forever. So when I visited my aunt in the States ("free" internet due to local calls being free) I wanted to register an email address with fox. My aunt had an account with Yahoo so I got one too. Of course email@example.com was taken so my aunt told me I had to put some number behind it. Mind you, this is 1999. The internet was just an innocent child back then. So anyways, firstname.lastname@example.org it was. Maybe it should have been 81, but it wasn't. I still have that account by the way, but it's spammed to death and not really used (or useful) anymore.
So later I changed that to qFox. Iâ€™ve been using that nick for â€¦ oh I donâ€™t know. About ten years now I reckon. And with much pride too. Back then it was fairly unique, nowâ€¦ maybe not so much anymore. But that doesn't matter to me. Itâ€™s unique enough and I've used it so long that changing it would feel weird anyways.
Lately though, it seems this idea of nicknames is being phased out. At least around me, especially in my professional circles, the use of a nickname seems to be a thing of the past. The only exception being nicknames that resemble the real name of the owner in some way.
And since my own nickname was taken on twitter by the time I started using it more confusion is being spread because I have to work under @kuvos. Luckily I discovered that Twitter will hand over accounts that are clearly inactive. Unfortunately they stopped doing so a few weeks before that discovery. The nick kuvos by itself is not a problem. It's the Dutch phonetic of qFox and I've been using it as a backup from the start. But you know, that's what it is, my backup. However, since Twitter has become a mainstream communication method and Iâ€™m reaching out to people that donâ€™t know me any other way, things are becoming a little confusing. â€œWho is this qFox guy anyways?â€
This bothers me a little bit. I don't mean to confuse people. Especially when it concerns something I care about. I mean, it's a nice touch in certain games. You can create a second character in some world based game and go to your friends with the alternative character. They don't recognize you so either you play dumb and pretend as if you're not you, or you have to explain who you are.
But that's for games. In real life (and the distinction is becoming vague when it comes to Twitter), I don't want to have to do this. I don't want to have to go around and explaining that I'm kuvos, or qFox, or Peter. It'll become annoying really fast. Especially knowing that in technology circles, reputation counts. But right now it seems like I have to share that rep with my two alter ego's. That's not my intent.
On the other hand, should I really care about this? I don't want to care about the things other people think of me. I'll do what I please and if somebody doesn't agree he can either try to convince me that my action isn't the right one, or kindly... go away. However, it seems to me like that argument doesn't apply to this case. This isn't about people having an opinion about me, this is about people having different opinions about different versions of me. Or rather, people possibly thinking that I'm three distinct persons (although that's quite unlikely).
So maybe itâ€™s time to ditch my â€œshellâ€ on the internet. Maybe I should communicate through my real name from now on, on all kind of levels. And restrict my nickname for games. Maybe chat as well? It seems IRC is still a nickname based environment.
It'll hurt a little to stop using my nickname for everything, but in the end, I think it'll serve a greater cause. Mine.