Pseudonyms and the Internet

Pseudonyms fascinate me. There are a number of reasons why people use them. From women writing under male names in order to get published (or sell more copies) to authors using pseudonyms two reach different markets to the various other reasons one wouldn’t write under their own name.

One thing that I find interesting about pseudonyms is that we use them all the time these days without connecting them to the pseudonyms often used by authors. These days, you can find people with pseudonyms just about everywhere, especially if you’re searching for them online.

The Internet is perfect for pseudonyms, although this is changing in many areas of the Internet. It used to be that you only had a Youtube username. Now you can have your real name if you so choose. Sites like Twitter list your real name (should you choose to use it) right alongside your username. But there are still sites where your only name is the username that you create. It creates a sense of anonymity or, if not that, at least the sense that you’re someone else, not quite the person you are in real life.

I don’t have any large revelation as to what that means. It’s just something that I find interesting to think about. No doubt there are countless people who have said things on the Internet that they never would have without the anonymity that pseudonyms have provided, but there are also countless better reasons to use them. The reasons people use pseudonyms on the Internet don’t exactly line up with all of the reasons authors would choose to use a pseudonym, but when it comes down to it, they’re both the same thing.

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