My name is Eve. I believe in the right to privacy and in voluntary information disclosure, and that’s not a contradiction.
My name is Eve… sometimes. When I was young, my parents made clear to me that I had to use a fake name online so that I would be protected from predators. I chose the name Gabrielle, and it’s still one of my favorites. My online persona grew up with me, and eventually I took the name Eve, which is the name I most often use today.
And yet my parents (and others) are surprised when people call me Eve in real life (that is: not only online), and then tell me that my “real friends” would know my “real name” if they were truly friends. But do they not realize that some of my friends have never known me by any other name? To some people, my name is Eve, and that’s fine with me. I am Eve. I am Gabrielle, too.
Maymay’s name has been with him since he was nine. “Maymay” is just as much his real name as his legal name is. He writes, “Young people are routinely admonished for giving out personal information online, but the services they use increasingly demand that very data.” I’m looking at you, Facebook. I’m looking at you, Google+.
The networks and services online that require legal names are trapping us into the use of those names, whether we like or want that or not. Imagine a school teacher who goes by her maiden name in her class but her email provider forces her to sign her emails—even the ones to her students’ parents—with her married name. Nobody wants that (or needs it) and that’s only considering that person’s legal name, not her chosen one!
I don’t understand why (mostly) older people seem to want to protect young people online while at the same time discouraging them from using chosen names in any sphere besides the internet. If a young person uses his or her legal name online, he or she is reckless and unsafe. If they use their chosen name in real life, they’re dealing in fantasies. Kinda makes for a no-win situation, don’t you think?
My name is Eve. And Gabrielle. And V. My name is me. Respect my privacy and I might just be more willing to give you my information freely.