Micah March 4th

Who Be You Be?

There is a trend on Twitter. Its an awful, awful trend.

At least, I think its awful.

People are changing their Twitter names to their real names.

Can you believe it?

Truthfully, I am not sure how I feel.

Today, my friend Frank Gruber, who always introduces himself as “Frank Gruber, of SomeWhatFrank,” (the name of his blog), changed his twitter name to @FrankGruber. He claims that a recent post by Chris Messina (who I have never met, but admired from afar for awhile) helped to convince him of the change.

Chris’ post is well written. His writes:

So factoryjoe isn’t going away — not entirely at least. It’s a useful vessel to inhabit and I’ll continue to do so. But on Twitter, Facebook, and on my homepage, I’ll use my real name. There is simply no longer a good reason to differentiate between who I am online, and who I am off, if ever there was.

I have never used a pseudonym. I have always been micahb37 (on AIM/Y!/MSN/flickr and many other services), micahb (on gtalk, gmail, and other newer services) or micah (primarily on Twitter, but other stuff too).

My primary reason was always simple. I could never think of anything better than my uncommon given name of Micah.

Over time, that reason began to also include the even simpler philosophy of Popeye: “I ams What I ams.”

I have never felt the need to separate my online and offline identities. I dont know why. Its not like I made the choice one day. I just have never seen the need.

Perhaps its the conscience of self that my parents inadvertently taught my sisters and me by being supportive of the choices we have made. Or perhaps its the realization that my “online” me is really just another side of the “offline” me, which at the end of the day, is just me.

And here comes the tangent…

Of all the things one person can give another, I cherish trust above all else. It is the hardest thing to earn, and the easiest to lose. I try to be consistent in my actions and reactions to ensure that people continue to trust me, and that starts for me, with my name.

If the first thing I do is provide a fake name, what does that say about my ability to earn your trust?

Ok, back on point (I think).

Why do I dislike the movement of people on twitter going to their real names?

I dont know. It feels like a loss of identity. It feels like a loss of “flavor.”

But, what I like is that people are beginning to realize that there is no such thing as personal brand, or online brand, or offline brand. There is just you.

And who be you be?