As you visit blogs and read comments, you will notice that some people appear to have an alias (e.g., chilihead) and some people appear to be using their real names (e.g., Melanie). Whichever route you choose (alias or real name or blog name), that is the name that will become associated with you. When readers see a comment from your alias or name, they will recognize you as part of a community.
There are several reasons I can think of to use an alias:
- Privacy: Some people are not comfortable putting their real names online. They prefer to have a modicum of privacy when they comment or blog.
- Too many people with the same name: For example, there are a lot of different bloggers with the name Melanie. It’s hard to keep them all straight without a little help.
- Branding: Many bloggers have a brand they’ve developed based on their blog and/or their interests. Commenting under that brand helps others recognize them. The brand can be an alias or the name of your blog.
- Nickname: Some people use their nickname because it’s easy for them to slip between online and offline.
When I started blogging four years ago, I only went by Chilihead online. I was wary of privacy issues and didn’t want anyone I know to stumble on my blog and know it was me.
As I’ve gained readership and started writing for other blogs, I realized that Chilihead as an alias wasn’t going to cut it. For one thing, many of the professional organizations I deal with prefer to have a real name for their authors and not a nickname or alias. So I shed the Chilihead persona and outed myself as Melanie. However, it became clear that Chilihead was not going to be lost completely; it is part of my mommy blog brand that I cultivated for four years.
Now I go by both names, but only comment as Chilihead. The reasons are two-fold:
- Chilihead is part of my brand in the mommy blog world. People know me as Chilihead. When I comment as Melanie, my blog friends don’t always realize it’s me.
- There are many, many bloggers named Melanie and many of them comment as Melanie. Posting comments as Chilihead allows me to separate myself from the pack and most people who know me are immediately sure it’s me posting.
Using an alias when you post, whether it’s a nickname or your blog name, allows you to be immediately recognizable when you post comments somewhere else. People begin to associate your alias with your brand. Using your real name can do the same thing as long as it is still unique.
Another thing that can help your recognition is a memorable avatar (the picture that represents you online–usually when you leave a comment at a Blogger blog). For instance, I use a picture of me with my Groucho glasses. People know it’s me when they see those.
Do you use an alias or real name? Why? Do you have a unique avatar?