Recently I read Steven Heller’s “What’s In A Name?” on Design Observer. He suggests using a pseudonym when commenting on a blog is “cowardly”. The article appears to say that using a fake name or just a first name and no links to personal websites are the makings of living a lie. He is clearly very passionate about his feelings on this topic. I felt the article was more of a rant about a pet peeve speckled with hints of an argument rather than a persuasive piece meant to encourage ownership of thought. Had he explained what the difference is and the links between a professional pseudonym, a pen name and an internet pseudonym I think his argument would have been much stronger. There is most certainly a difference and he knows it, he just didn’t verbalize it.
Despite that, I agree that people leave more intelligible comments when they use their real personal information. However, the way he wrote the article is bound to bother a lot of people. The comment below is one left on this particular article. It shows why verbalizing the difference between pseudonym and pen names is important.
After a friend of mine read the article she said something similar. She refuses to use her name because she believes it too hard for people to read, say and remember; instead choosing a more unique pseudonym for herself. My friend, like the commenter above were resentful of the article due to his unclear argument. Heller must not have a problem with pen names because he himself admitted to writing with his middle name as his professional name. My friend and the commenter both have pen names as well. The lines are blurry and blurrier yet seeing as Heller never gave the criteria to an acceptable internet personality or exceptions other than fear of persecution.
Also, I think adding Shakespeare to the mix and then renouncing him added to the confusion of it all. In regards to Shakespeare’s “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” logic Heller says, “the content of a blog post or comment is more significant than the signature of the poster (or postee).” I agree with this. Meaning I believe if the content of the post is useful, helpful, interesting, insightful etc. I could careless what name the poster/postee goes by. Although I’m not sure, I got the impression Heller reads the “by-any-other-name” logic to mean that all posts are insightful because they’re posted and disagrees with that, understandably.
Overall, I felt it was really inarticulate. Better luck next time Steven.