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Flashback to a post I wrote about personal branding, in particular your name.

I suspect it’s something that happens as you get older, but sometimes I roll my eyes at people who persist in using nicknames on the Interwebs.

If it’s a nickname you’ve had In Real Life, then fair enough. But otherwise?

Why use it online if you’d never call yourself that elsewhere?

It’s true, for a few years around my early-20s, I used one: Raymond Luxury-Yacht, after the character in Monty Python who declares his name is actually pronounced “throat-wobbler mangrove”.

(That sketch is one of a handful that had me literally rolling on the floor with uncontrollable laughter the first time I saw it.)

These days assuming someone isn’t trying to deliberately hide their identity for some reason, nicknames just seem a bit… well… silly.

I’m not talking about the name of a blog/web site, or contractions of a Real Name, but a completely made-up nickname for no reason other than it sounds good.

Does anybody go the whole hog and use deed poll to change their Real Name to their Net name?

It’s another of these things which is down to personal choice, I suppose. And maybe of course I’m turning into an old man.

Expecting some interesting comments from those who use nicknames here!

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “Nicknames”

When I first got on the Internet, I picked the screenname elsa22 and that became my email address. I got the name from the book/movie Born Free (about the lion cub). I’ve never changed my email address since then and I know it confuses people. A lot of times they assume my name IS elsa.

I’ve thought about changing it, but I’m lazy. Also, my friends/family change their email addresses so often, I lose track of them. So, I feel if I change my email address people will sort of lose me.

I have had a long list of nicknames over the 17 years I have been around. So cool ones, wierd ones, and annoying ones. I can’t tell you some of the nicknames I have had because I think we need to keep it G rated.

I’ve had this nickname since 2004 and don’t intend on changing it. Come on, what’s wrong with nicknames? ;)

Isn’t it about choice Daniel? Are you sure you’re not saying in effect “I think other people should do what I’m doing.”

Even the blog that carries your real name is still an internet construct of you, to some extent.

It’s also about purpose. is issues-based as well as personal, and not intensely so, so it seems as logical not to use a nom de web as it would be to use one.

Mine’s more about personal reflections and a bit of yarn-spinning, jokes told mostly against myself. I am not making a difference, beyond perhaps a small contribution to the amount of crap in cyberspace. There I go again.

It’s also an attempt at using some pissy iconography to give the readership an idea of the writing style they might find on the blog. For that purpose, it actually makes more sense to have the nom de web.

Good arguments! Thanks. Yes, it really is all about personal choice.

And perhaps it’s part of the aspect of anonymity you get online… people will say (including calling themselves) things they wouldn’t In Real Life.

(I might note that some people still know this blog by the name Toxic Custard.)

I recently discovered one of my friends’ names is really her internet name – she legally changed it years ago. Not saying whom. But that’s the first case I’ve heard.

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