Identity in the Networked World

Chatrooms and Screennames

What's in a name? We can frequently name ourselves in the networked world, so the answer to this question remains "whatever we would like." This comes with benefits and drawbacks.

Your screen name might be factual; you might identify yourself with your real name.

However, it could act in a more descriptive manner, containing your nickname, your graduation year, school name, hobbies, or a plethora of other things. This may help you identify yourself to your friends or classmates or to others with similar interests.

A screen name can also mislead. There have been many cases where pedophiles or other base persons have concealed their true nature to seduce their victims. A teenage girl fears DivaPrincess14 much less than CreepyOldGuy69.

Generally, I have a lot of fun with my screen names. They allow me to promote different aspects of myself, and can make me into a memorable friendly face to those I encounter online.

Whether they are used merely in fun or for more devious reasons, screen names let the user bend and break their identity at will.