I don’t tend to flaunt my actual identity online. I am not on facebook for that reason. I don’t want to mix my real life with my online life. Online is where I can be me without so many walls around my problems and feelings.
Also, I have always been keenly aware of this vague threat of strangers that basically defines my online experience. I don’t use facebook and so every person I interact with, every person I call friend online, is someone I have never met. And generally speaking I don’t expose myself to them.
I have rarely shown a picture of my face. I don’t use my name in my profiles or avatars. I have only met one other human being from the online world in real life. This however is due to depression keeping me isolated.
I’m not really afraid of you though. If someone I interact with online asks for my name and address so they can send me something, I provide it.
My online friends carried me through the darkest part of my life. They even sent me money unasked when I was homeless. They sent me postcards when I finally found shelter in a tiny room in a rooming house, so I would have something to fill up my bare walls. they have sent me gifts and kindness. They cheered loudest when I got a job. They never stopped listening. They filled my empty hours with silliness and kindness and an endless stream of support. And they never demanded anything from me.
But still my avatar remains an otter and my name remains hidden online.
I read something recently on why remaining anonymous on the internet is not good. How it leads to mistrust and abuse.
And I’ve been questioning my anonymous state. Maybe its time to show my name. I was on my Gravatar a moment ago and nearly changed it from itsathought2 to my name. I ended up only adding my state. How weak of me.