When the film The Matrix premiered in 1999 (is it really that long ago?) we all thought the names of the main characters where intriguing, pittoresque or for some just plain strange; Neo, Morpheus, Dozer, and Trinity. In Neo’s case this was his hacker nickname and how he was recognized in certain circles. Most likely the circles he thought was most important.
When I almost three years ago registered for a service called Twitter I did not know what name to use. I didn’t really want to use my full name, due to its length and also because I didn’t know and trusted the service. Why let the world know exactly who you are?
At my first job at telecom giant Ericsson my short name was “mai” and it was later extended to “main”. I have used “main” from time to time in the past but as you understand this is a common English word and are most likely already taken when I try to register. So, I settled for “matsing” on Twitter. And little did I know that this was how I was to be known in many social circles…
The social crowd on Twitter is engaged in communications, often dialogues. And in these all we know and see is the Twitter alias, the nick. When we occasionally meet eye to eye we have know idea what the real Christian names are… This is very apparent at a Tweetup (a physical meeting for people on Twitter) but as I visited the Almedalen week in Visby some weeks ago it just turned strange. People (that I’ve never met in person) called me Matsing and when talking about someone we often fell back to this persons Twitter-nick to be sure we all knew who we were talking about.
This is even more true for people with common names. My friend Anna is most often called Glimra as we then know who we mean. Another friend took this a step further and added his nick, Deeped, as a Christian name. Maybe that was a better move then he then knew?
Enter Google+. Today it strikes me that I do not know who these people are that Google+ suggest that I add to my circles. On Google+ we have used our real Christian names and no nicks as far as anyone can see…
So, a personality and nick that I have become used to and comfortable with may just soon fade away. That is if Google+ take over. Time will tell.