I don’t have particular views on why people should or shouldn’t have pseudonyms while interacting on social networking websites — this is just a quick thinking exercise.
I have observed that people who have pseudonyms are more brash about the way they express themselves and their opinions regarding others. I follow some people with pseudonyms but in my particular case I was also following their blogs prior to finding them on Twitter. So while writing this I don’t have those people in mind who are there simply to create mischief.
I am aware of people who despite having pseudonyms are very articulate and clear minded about what they are expressing and I really appreciate them for that. I think there may be the following reasons for adopting a pseudonym instead of a real name:
- They want to express views that may not be acceptable in the circles they move, for instance, their workplaces.
- They might be well-known people nurturing their alter egos.
- They can go opposit popular beliefs without directly getting targeted.
- They fear political backlash and this is a very legitimate fear with most of our politicians having criminal backgrounds.
- They fear religious backlash. The memory of the professor’s hand being chopped off its fresh in everybody’s mind.
Of course there are loonies everywhere and Twitter has its share of them but it’s not necessary that whoever operates with a pseudonym is weird. It is like having a blog name. Not everybody who has a blog runs it under his or her own name, for instance my blog is called “writing gave”.