Social networks are the actual craze online. People are spending more and more time online, so it is only logical to give them the option to socialize online too. There is one small problem: privacy. Facebook got burnt pretty badly recently and has had to revamp its privacy controlling mechanisms. Now Google+ is coming with its Circles feature, promising finer-grained control over privacy. But here, I argue about using display names (or nicknames) online, something that no social network wants you to do.
Why do social networks bother with real name? Because it is easier for your friends and people to find you. Because it looks more professional. Because they make money by knowing a ton of things about you. Social networks will do various things to “persuade” you to use your real name, such as suspending your account if you’re caught using a display name, or a name that resembles a display name. Quora goes as far as to possibly require you to prove your identity using official documents just to use their service. Insanity, I say.
Why should you be using a display name?
EDIT: A few days after posting this, I see this very nice article slashdotted about the topics of display names on social networks. Worth checking! 🙂