Seattle Designer

Confessions of a Graphic Designer

i'm a graphic designer who loves words. - terri nakamura


"Graphic Design"

"Social Media"

"Digital Media"

Why transparency matters—building equity in your personal brand

"Communications"

"Verizon Lifestyle Blogger"
Photo

What if you didn't know the real names of your doctor, lawyer or accountant?

Most social media acquaintances aren't exactly on a parallel plane with professional or collegial relationships — but how about your friends?

In 2008 when I began on Twitter, it wasn't unusual to see people using descriptive monikers instead of their real names. How many people remember @TrendTracker or @TrendyDC? Today we know them as  @GlenGilmore and @AnnTran_ . I think they recognized their Twitter identities were going to be significant and went public at a point where their major growth was ahead of them. It enabled them to start positioning themselves as brands, and I believe they helped others feel comfortable about following suit.

It's about trust

I think most of us appreciate it when their connections on social media are transparent about who they are.  If I'm being honest with someone, I hope they'll afford me the same courtesy. What is the point of engaging with or filling one's timeline with less-than-honest people?

A cloak of secrecy signals more than "mystery." It says, "There is a reason I don't want you to know who I am." Deceit is a shaky foundation for real connections.

How people perceive your brand

In establishing yourself as a brand, simplicity in your name and image and consistency in the way you interact are essential. Your behavior both on and off the public timeline matters. By using your real name, you are inviting people to trust you, and by maintaining a consistent and positive presence across channels, you build relationships with people as well as equity in the recognition of who you are.

Business accounts may not identify the specific person tweeting on its behalf, though many do. Identifying who is tweeting is a good thing because most people would rather tweet with a person than an "entity." When one is responsible for engaging in conversations on behalf of a business, they need to keep in mind the reputation and personality of the company they represent. And if their identity is known, they have the opportunity to project positively for a business, but also build recognition in themselves.

Using a descriptive moniker along with your name

Highly recognizable and respected people very successfully use non-name monikers, but self-identify using their real names. Reg Saddler, or @zaibatsu ,and Heather Frey, @SmashFit, both are well-established across social media channels with memorable handles that evoke a strong image of their brands.

If you decide to use a descriptive moniker, it's helpful and important to include your real name somewhere in your social media profile and I'll list several reasons why:

First —You are creating a climate of trust by using your real name.

Second —It allows others to find you by name. or by moniker.

Third — exchanges with someone whose name you know is more personal and engenders The creation of relationships.

Fourth — By using your name, rather than building equity in a pseudonym, you are building equity in the recognition of yourself and your personal brand. And at the end of the day, in social media, recognition is the form of currency that matters.

Short and easy versus long or difficult

Whatever you choose, make your identity as short and easy as you can. Abstract combinations of letters and numbers are difficult to remember.

Clever handles can be fun, but people can be difficult to locate if their monikers are not exactly memorable, or if you cannot search for them using their real names.

The substitution of numbers for letters may be good for building a password, but expecting others to remember quirky configurations is unrealistic. Also—adding characters that require changing case on a smart device (phones, tablets), makes it inconvenient for someone to type your name. (Included are underscores and numbers or other special characters.) There are settings in some applications that will "auto-complete" a name once you begin typing, and you can also type once, then copy and paste. But still—isn't it easier when those extra motions are unnecessary?

Changing your moniker

Once you've established the handle people are meant to recognize, try to keep it. If you change it, you will retain your friends and followers, but unless you've done some groundwork to prepare them for the change, they may not recognize you.

Chris Luzader ( @TechZader ) handled this situation beautifully. Chris used to go by the name @The_Tech_Update, but he could see the value of simplifying his name as his brand evolved. He combined part of his original moniker with his actual name resulting in a shorter, simpler handle. But before making the change, he prepared by getting feedback on possible names, and gave his then-large following of 16,000 advanced notice.

Maintaining consistency in your avatar and your brand

Establishing a consistent presence across social media channels — hopefully both in name and avatar — reinforces the identity and recognition of your brand and what it stands for. Think of it this way—your avatar is your social media logo. If "Starbucks" changed its name or logo often, what is the chance you would recognize it?

When someone changes their avatar on a daily, weekly or fairly frequent basis, it sends a message — "I don't care if you realize it's me." One friend had a maddening habit of frequently changing both his moniker and his avatar, making him impossible to find.

You might know someone on Twitter by "@whatever," but if they circle you on G+ using their real name, then send a friend-request on Flickr using yet another, they undermine the chance of making connections. They might seem familiar, but who are they?*

Trust is the foundation of real relationships

By using your real name and placing trust in others, you are inviting them to trust you, too. By building recognition of your name and avatar, you establish a "brand promise" creating an expectation of what others can expect when they encounter you or your company online.


 Relationships matter in personal life and in business. People DO want to know who they are dealing with. By being transparent, the potential gain is greater than the risk.

What are your feelings about transparency? Are there good reasons for obscuring one's identity? I'd love to hear your thoughts.




* Twitter for Busy People will allow you to grab up to 1000 followers, by recency and by avatar. So if you are searching for someone and can't remember their names but remember their avatars, and if they've tweeted recently, you might be able to find them using this site.

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98 Comments:

Anonymous @ellies58/Eleanor Jodway said...

Well My Dearest Friend....You know exactly what my feelings are about Transparency. As do, I might add, most others! LOL I tend to be pretty vocal! Great post! Wonderfully written! I thought it might include some other subjects/situations that have cropped as of late; but nonetheless...."Food for Thought". :)

12:10 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Dear Ellie,

You and I more than almost any others are on the same page with this issue. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I've sort of given up thinking any blog post will alter someone's behavior, but when it offers a benefit...well, maybe it's a better motivator :-/

So much of what I wanted to say I edited out, but perhaps I'll resurrect some of it for another post.

I appreciate the honest connection we've established and look forward to the day when we meet face-to-face and trade real hugs for virtual (((HUGS))

Your friend/Terri

12:44 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Very well written article, Terri. I think most of us agree that transparency (a.k.a. honesty) is key to genuine relationships! So here is my long dissertation!

There is a definite problem with those individuals who hide behind the screen and/or avatar, pretending to be something or someone they are not. We've all seen them and dealt with them. Many of these people are simply attempting to scam or prey on others, and most of us can spot them pretty quickly.

For myself, I do use a cartoon avatar, which might be construed as "false advertising" or not honestly presenting myself. However, in my case, the avatar has become my brand, associated along with my name.

What I have done to legitimize my identity is to also include an actual photo image of myself on my various accounts. In addition, I am readily available to my clients, colleagues, friends, etc. by phone or other means. (I tried changing my avatar once and it confused everyone terribly!) So, my branding works for me, at least for now.

I do find some of my have clients are uncomfortable with showing their face and/or listing their name on their accounts. I don't believe it is because they "have something to hide" per se, but in many cases, old high school friends, past relationships, or unwanted influences can wreak havoc on someone's online presence. Definitely not an easy scenario for those individuals, especially for those who might have a potential stalker on the loose.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Fabulous article, Terri! Love seeing these when they come through!

Dawn : )

2:21 AM  
Blogger Dawn Lambros said...

Ooops, My profile didn't come through right!

Dawn Lambros!

2:24 AM  
Blogger Kenny Cook said...

Name/brand/moniker - I'm not convinced using the real name of the person(s) behind the tweets matters much, if at all, in real matters of trust. After all everyone knows the name Bernie Madoff. Now when it comes to personal relationship building there is no substitute for names. I am known by 3 names and I can fairly well tell where people know me from by what they call me.

4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Terry,
great article. I use a blend part nickname with my real last name. There's a reason for this. As I grow my brand and identity in communication and blogging, I am also holding down a job where this what I do in my free time could be an issue. So to keep my job (pay my bills) and grow my business I use my childhood nickname and my last name. So far so good, the draconian ppl at my corp haven't found out about my blogging, wine tasting, eco-sustainable diet interests. And I want to keep it that way. I also plan on selling and have consulted with w/one company for social media training and workshops another one of my passions. So yes while trancparency is important, sometimes there are valid reasons for monikers, avatars etc..
Dea Elmi.

5:38 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Dear Dawn,

Thanks for a really insightful response, and for the record, your avatar is famous, and it looks very much like the real you. Combined with actual photos of you, there is no doubt about who you really are!

There was a section of the post I deleted, but might make sense to paste in here:

---

Why do people conceal their identities and yet want to connect with others?

Some people don't wish to be identified or found because they don't want their opinions to reflect on their employers or upon themselves. Or possibly an ex-spouse or partner is stalking them, or they are evading the law. Some have self-esteem or trust issues, or are paranoid in general. The idea that someone can "Google" you and find out about you is disconcerting for some people, but if you think about it, 20 years ago the telephone book essentially provided anyone access to your name, address and phone number. I appreciate and understand the need for people to do what feels right to them. At the same time, those who conceal their identities need to realize others may also have boundaries and expectations. Obscuring who you are does not cultivate trust.

Some people hide who they are, though they want to connect with others. Perhaps they are voyeurs who enjoy anonymously peering into the lives of others. Maybe they feel people won't like them if they reveal how they really look, or maybe they are older than they feel comfortable admitting. There are instances where one's profession could make it inappropriate or difficult to be transparent. And some accounts are developed for the purpose of being sold to others who "buy" followers, in which case it is an advantage to be nondescript.

---

I agree—there are reasons for people to be less-than-forthright, though I'm uncertain if I want to attempt establishing relationships with such people.

Dawn, you and Andy have been as real as people get here and I've appreciated your trust in me as a friend the past few years.

Thank you again for your response!

Cheers/Hugs/Terri

12:33 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Hi, Kenny and thanks for your response.

I loved the Bernie Madoff reference, BTW!

In reading your reply, it makes me think if a person is not being honest, the illusion created by supplying a real-sounding pseudonym can supplant doubt others might otherwise have.

On Empire Avenue I created the "ticker" "NAK" because "terrinakamura" is so long...but I use my primary avatar and wonder if you use the same image across all of your names?

The image I use here is the same one I use on my FB account, but in most other places use my "half-face" avi. When I started this blog I wasn't so sure I wanted people to realise it's me—but as it's now pretty obvious, maybe it's time to change.

Kenny (or whatever your name is—lol) thank you for taking the time to read and especially for taking the time to offer a thoughtful response.

Best regards,

Terri

12:48 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Hello, Dea,

And thank you so much for the response. I love the idea you are building a foundation for the future, and completely understand about your employer.

I responded to Dawn Lambros' comment with a section of the blog I edited out, echoing a bit of what you're saying.

As illustrated by @TechZader, I think the combination of name and descriptor can work well. But as you transition to independence, I think you will find a great benefit to "outing your identity."

As an aside—when I learned a social media "friend" wasn't who she said she was, I was shocked. Social media is an ecosystem with the same hairball people you will find in real life. As in real life, I guess we're forced to adapt.

Thanks again!

Terri

1:03 PM  
Blogger Ryan J. Zeigler said...

The first thing anyone should do is read "Public Parts" by Jeff Jarvis (the guy who wrote "What Would Google Do?")

You mentioned that some people still manage with monikers but those people also use their real names in conjunction with their handles.

I can tell you from first-hand experience that being RYANJZ with the same avatar EVERYWHERE has helped me expand my networks tremendously. People know MY blogs, MY comments, MY photos etc. instantly when they see them, no guess work required.

I can understand taking on something zany in a gaming context but outside of our living rooms we are only as public as we chose to be, privacy is not an option.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Ryan J. Zeigler said...

I LOVE that this was posted anonymously =p

1:31 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Even though she identified herself after realizing her identity, for whatever reason, didn't appear!

1:44 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Thanks, Ryan, for coming through on this. :-)

I like the consistency of your name and avatar and believe there is no doubt about who you are across all channels. The continuity has stood you in good stead as you've developed a following for your photography, your writing and your fan base.

Who is Banksy? I don't think anyone knows, but everyone knows HIM.

Many thanks for reading and commenting,

Terri

1:54 PM  
Blogger Revamp Your Mind said...

Liked you Blog very much Thank you

10:23 PM  
Blogger petertrapasso said...

Terri,

Greta post. I think it is important to use your own name. I go by @petertrapasso When you need to promote your brand as weel you might just need multiple Twitter accounts.

Peter

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Riggio said...

When I decided (or maybe realized) that *I* was my brand I made everything I could refelct my name, AndrewRiggio. IT helps big time.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Barry Gumm said...

I think the more you are seen the better it is. I.e Exposure is a big.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Harvey Wildlife Photography said...

Great post Terri,
I honestly haven't given my "moniker" a second thought. Fifteen years ago a website asked for my username. I own a personal training company called Fit 'N' Well Personal Training, so fitnwell was born. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the next website would ask for a user name and the next and the next and so on. Today in addition to running my personal training company, I am a wildlife photographer and my user name is still fitnwell. Must look weird for a photographer, but it is what it is.

Anyway, thank you for bringing this to my attention. Although I don't know that I have purposely not used my real name, I will try to fit in my given name more regularly.

Thank you.

Greg
http://www.harveywildlifephotography.ca

10:47 PM  
Blogger Psychosmoothie said...

great stuff, will read without the noise of children distracting me!

10:49 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

LOL—thanks, Psychosmoothie! Good luck!

10:52 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Greg, pretty cool that you realised all those years ago the sense it made to stick with something. Beside being a business "FitNWell" it could also be a descriptor of the shape you're in!

I will definitely check out your wildlife photography although the photographers I hire shoot editorial and product stuff. It's always a treat to come across great images.

Thanks for commenting and best wishes with all your endeavors,

Terri

10:58 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Hmmm. Thanks, Barry.

11:00 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Smart cookie, Andrew. Thanks for sharing.

Using "AndrewRiggio" can't help but reinforce your personal brand — and it transfers well regardless of what you choose to do with your life.

Good job!

Best regards,

Terri

11:02 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Peter, thanks.

I just connected with you on Twitter and really look forward to connecting. I'm guessing you play Empire Avenue, so perhaps we'll cross paths there as well.

Cheers and thanks again,

Terri

11:04 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

You're welcome.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Dodi said...

Working with someone to "build their brand", can't wait to share this article!

11:05 PM  
Blogger Ajax1.nl said...

Very interesting!

11:11 PM  
Blogger Kristopher Hardy said...

Nice post :)

11:15 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:30 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Thanks, Kris!

11:31 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

LOL. Thanks.

11:31 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Dodi, thanks for the response. I hope it helps. Cheers/Terri

11:31 PM  
Blogger Lana Bandoim said...

Transparency is the key to success.

11:36 PM  
Blogger TGC-Consultants said...

Transparency requires an open, random and supportive commitment where reciprocation, engagement and sharing are key components of attraction. The time of a close, selective and controlling world is compromised! We have to shift to more transparency! Great blog, thanks!

12:05 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

TGC, I also think it's more gratifying to establish relationships where trust is a basis. Thank you for the response & have a great Tuesday!

Cheers/Terri

12:17 AM  
Blogger Lilies Indayati said...

When I get my degree one of my teacher always encourage us to sell our self. At first, it looks like a prostitute to me but then he explain that in anything you do, that is your self that you sell, being a doctor means that you sell advice, treatment to a disease; a public health service means you sell information and educate people in maintaining health and prevention.
Because of that selling part, being transparant of who we are is important to gain trust thus whatever we sell, sells good. ;-)

12:43 AM  
Blogger Erik van Erne said...

Thanks interesting post

12:47 AM  
Anonymous robertz said...

I'm completely aligned with every point you make. I expect people to find me as close to my online persona as possible and I hope to find the same of others, although this is not always the case.

Also, social media is most effective when people start a conversation by saying they recognised you from your online photo or profile.

12:58 AM  
Blogger TheOysta said...

Nice post! I try to keep the same user name and photo across all my accounts as well. It helps from an SEO perspective as well, from my experience.

1:04 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Lilies, first, thanks for the reply.

Your teacher is, of course, right. When you have a job interview, you want to put your best foot forward. That would include telling them your name :-)

I imagine it would be easier for almost anyone to be honest. It means you never have to remember anything extra—just what is true.

Wishing you all the best in whatever you pursue, Lilies!

Cheers and thanks again, Terri

1:14 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Thanks.

1:14 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Robert, sounds like we are on the same page here. By being true to yourself, I think the chances of establishing meaningful connections goes up dramatically.

Also, maintaining truth through your online personality means, if someone meets you in real life, you are just as they expect—except BETTER—because they have the opportunity to shake your hand and share a smile, and feel good about making the effort to get to know you.

Best wishes and thanks for the nice response.

Terri

1:18 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Good thinking, "Oysta."

From an SEO standpoint, I do wonder how much the name recognition relies on the overall amplification of the name? For example, if you have a presence across 20 accounts, but are active in only 3, do you still think it would make a difference?

In any case, continuity is key in any kind of brand building. And by keeping yours consistent, you're reaping the benefits of doing so.

Best regards,

Terri

1:21 AM  
Blogger alexandros bakoulis said...

Thank you for this very good article Terri. As for my transparency I try to keep up with Facebook and Google +.

2:09 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Alexander, thanks. I do think there is a better chance of getting to know people via Facebook than Twitter. As for Gplus, there are people I converse with there that I don't connect with anywhere else, so it's kinda cool.

Enjoy! And thanks again/Terri

2:13 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

BTW, Greg, Your photos are amazing!

2:17 AM  
Blogger geoff's story said...

Good Article Terri, Shared on all that i can :) Cheers

2:42 AM  
Blogger Jorge Ferreira | jomirife said...

:)

3:53 AM  
Blogger VPerriello said...

I've always used a moniker based on my own name. Sometimes I've wondered why. This article is a good answer. Thanks!

4:16 AM  
Anonymous Jana said...

Very good article!

4:24 AM  
Blogger MightyCaseyMedia said...

Oh, A-MEN! My avatar is my headshot, my moniker is a spin on my real name, and I live out loud and transparently, IRL and virtually. I encourage my clients - corporate and others - to mirror that approach.

Authenticity and truth are the only way to build relationships based on trust. Long-tail business is all about trust. Transparency is critical. Learn this, or screw the pooch.

5:22 AM  
Blogger GamerBelsh said...

Really enjoyed this article, will definitely be back to read more.

5:35 AM  
Blogger toanangel said...

Love the simplicity of this article. However, merely because someone uses an Avatar, or favorite picture, does not mean they are hiding something. So many people and so much to learn.

When i first entered the tidal wave of online social media change, signed up for Twitter, as TOANANGEL108, with my picture, other sites have imagers of true Avatars or Gods, but if you track me through FB or others you will see me in pictoral evolution.

Why did i choose toanangel instead of my name or business name?

Had no idea what I was doing and just jumped in and started swimming.

Have used TOANANGEL since internet and email became public in the early 90's.

Lately, over the last 8 months have focused more and more on learning WHAT THE HECK IS SOCIAL MEDIA and HOW DO I MASTER ITS COMPLEXITIES? Where to post, what to post, how to build a following, and why do do i want one and what is the unique message to set me apart?

Your article makes me believe that it's time to rebrand and unify all of the blogs, games like EAv, twitter, etc., under one name.

Perhaps a few more months of study first?

Thank you for the article.

5:42 AM  
Blogger http://www,attractitude.com said...

Thank you Terri,
Online, offline; we need to remain true and transparent. If one is building a personal brand then one should copy all the previous successful people that have done so and your article outlines well the attributes of such success. In business, we all sell an image, that we want as close as is to reality. At the end of the day, before anyone buys the brand, they buy the ''why'' or what the brand represents. so, yes represent well your brand by developing a trust worthy transparent personal brand. Thank you Terri.

6:09 AM  
Blogger sororNishi said...

I am not totally convinced by this argument. What if your name was John Smith? Try Googling that!! What if you are working to establish a freelance business while still working for an employer?
What of repressive regimes like the USA where you can't always say what you think??

They are a number of reasons apart from dishonesty that would cause a person to assume a pseudonym ...many authors, and the likes of Madonna .. Ringo Starr etc etc..

I have used the same 'nym for 5 years now and am well known and easy to Google.

It is my Artist Name and I am both fond and proud of it.

6:28 AM  
Blogger GeorgieG said...

Great read! :)

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Brandon G said...

Great post. Very interesting!

6:54 AM  
Blogger Ghosty Kips said...

You are ridiculous. This "fake" name is how I'm known, and how I've created and sold art, and what I've used to make many friends and acquaintances online who later got to know my real name because they showed themselves online to be worth getting to know offline. How do you know I'm not a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant? How do you know I don't market my real name for those things, and use this moniker for the rest? Why do I need to be as one-dimensional as you folks to gain validity? I don't, obviously.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Carol Harnett said...

Can't agree enough with the sentiments in this post. Transparency builds trust - and trust is becoming a rare commodity these days.

8:42 AM  
Blogger JaqStone said...

Hi Terri.
I could not agree more! Transparency is essential in relationships and that is what both social networking and business are based on. I understand that some may be more interested in building recognition of their business or product but you can do that on your web site and profile bio. People don't connect with companies and products; we connect with human beings. When I find someone engaging on Twitter I want to know what they do and will check out their web site or blog ... because of the person.
The consistency you mentioned is also very important. It builds a sense of familiarity across your various networks, forums, and communities. We naturally trust more those who are familiar to us, especially if we have already had a positive experience of them. Personally, I am far more likely to follow/friend a real name and face, and far more likely to recommend them to others.

11:32 AM  
Blogger JaqStone said...

Hi, soroNishi.
While I agree with Terri, the case of artists is a bit different, as most are identified by a pseudonym that expresses their style of art. Also, many fiction authors write under a pen name to avoid personal conflicts that could result from their books. I have an artist friend who used the same graphic and 'nym for many years but it was only after she began using her real name and photo that success found her. The only reason she didn't use her photo to begin with is that she was insecure about her personal appearance. I wonder how often that is the case for people, rather than trying to hide their identity.

11:44 AM  
Blogger TriNEThing said...

This is a great article, Terri - I've had similar discussions with people over the years about using a dfferent usernames across various platforms.

I'm a little bit guilty because in some channels the username I prefer (TheJeff) is already taken so I have to settle for being TheGoodJeff. But, I am also fortunate to have a fairly uncommon real name so as long as someone gets close on the spelling, Google is gonna hook 'em up with a pointer to one of my profiles.

I also think that aggregation services like Empire Avenue, xeeme, fully follow, about.me, etc, are extremely helpful in sorting out who someone actually is. EA is, of course, my favorite because of the incentive to be as fully connected as possible.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Martina McGowan said...

Excellent points, Terri. I am a rtelative newbie, and these are all things someone had made available at the beginning.

I too started out with a moniker, but it would not have been relevant to anyone but me in hingsight. Even though I don't sell anything (yet) I felt it was important to come across as who I really was. No distractions or walls to keep me from learning to engage. This has served me well so far, and I have met some really awesome, caring and helpoful people.

As in face-to-face connections, authenticity is the key.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Patch said...

I work in the dance industry and you will see a lot of the older methods of marketing which was the company selling the idea that the brand is good but now you see it as the people deciding on what brand is good.The way companies get to that group of people now is by being something that most of the old methods can't be...human. Make mistakes, make them laugh, make them part of the experience. Your post mapped it out for me in further detail. Thank you.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Tom Stitt said...

Agree with your outlook on using your real name and photo image. Also agree that most individual to entity tweeting has low trust though I'm finding that entity to entity tweeting seems to be an effective way to start conversations between individuals.

When I started using instant message tools a decade and half ago, I, like many others, used a short version of my name. My continued use of the short version made sense to me when I started signing up for various interactive media services. In hindsight, I should have used my name, not my instant message moniker. However, there are many workarounds.

I've developed a mental and visual filter that ignores/blocks posts, comments and video from people who use anonymous or obfuscated identities. People are entitled to remain anonymous. I'm entitled to ignore them.

9:47 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Geoff, my thanks! Cheers back atcha/Terri

1:46 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

:D

1:47 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

VP, I think it's somewhat intuitive to do that—at least for me, I hadn't considered anything else. Even though "terrinakamura" has 13 characters—it's my name :-)

Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it!

Cheers/Terri

1:48 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Thanks, Jana. Apparently not everyone agrees! Cheers/Terri

1:49 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Casey, thanks. Y'know, I wasn't trying to get everyone to agree with me, but basically I think most people appreciate knowing who they are dealing with.

Thank you for taking the time to write something thoughtful. I especially loved the ending!

Cheers/Thanks again/Terri

1:50 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Thanks, Gamer! I hope so!

Cheers/Terri

1:51 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Toanangel, thanks for your thoughtful contribution to the discussion.

Back in prehistoric times, I started an account with AOL & used several monikers—mostly goofy ones like EmilyDknsn. But one—"TerriNa" was derivative of my real name, and happened to be a nickname coined by one of my design clients.

Fast forward to Twitter—I'd had my design business 30+ years. When you're my age, you know a lot of people. I felt it was in my best interest to simply be me, and it was one of the best moves I've made.

As a professional who advises people about branding, it also was important to try to practice what I preach :-)

There are a few exceptions, like Empire Avenue, where my notion of a "TICKER" meant SHORT. So I chose (e)NAK, only later realising I could've used my name...

Sorry for the long reply, but I think you're asking yourself some good questions. If you want to discuss with me, I'd be happy to be a sounding board for you.

Cheers/Thanks/Terri

2:02 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Hi, Attractitude and thanks for an insightful response.

It boils down to this—whether we want to or not, personal branding is only going to become more important. Even "Snooki" on Jersey Shore is a brand now.

And I have to think Snooki has given thought to the best way to spin and capitalize on the equity she has captured through her program.

Andy Warhol once said (paraphrase) "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." I often wonder if he really had any idea what was going to happen!

Thanks again for your reply.

All the best to you/Terri

2:12 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

SororNishi,

Hi and thanks for responding. I think you tweeted me a link this evening, but I clear my mentions after I've replied (Tweetdeck), so I no longer have it. If it's possible or you are willing to DM the link, or even paste it in here if you see this, that would be great. I was unaware of a debate about the topic.

The second reply to a comment above, by Dawn Lambros, included some stuff I left out because the article had become too long. Some of it echoes what you posit.

I think I mentioned to you a recent experience, where someone I trusted turned out to be someone altogether different. It was hard to get my hands around it, and eventually it became the basis for this blog post.

The end of this post says, "What are your feelings about transparency? Are there good reasons for obscuring one's identity? I'd love to hear your thoughts."

So I thank you for some valid points you've made concerning reasons why.

Best regards, Terri

2:23 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Thanks, Georgie!
Cheers/Terri

2:23 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Glad you thought so, Brandon!
Thanks/Terri

2:23 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Ghosty,

I'm not ridiculous, but I thank you for sharing your opinion.

Best regards, Terri

2:24 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Carol, thanks. This is just what I needed on the heels of Ghosty's comments! :D

Cheers and thanks/Terri

2:25 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Jacqueline

You are someone I'm always glad to see. I'm grateful to social media that it has caused our paths to cross.

Your comments make sense and seem perfectly reasonable! In fact, I couldn't agree more!

If I may respond to your comment to sororNishi above, it's true there are artists who use pseudonyms, but many enjoy the recognition they receive by using their real names, and throughout art history, unless ancient history, it's been the norm to self-identify.

Looking forward to growing our connection, and thank you again for your support and interest.

Warm regards, Terri

2:34 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Jeff, thanks for your response.

It's funny, but at first I was really taken aback by the connectedness encouraged on EAV. Someone would friend-request me on FB, and it freaked me out because I didn't know them!

Xeeme, about.me and other services impel us to take stock. It's surprising to realize the extent of the footprints we all leave as we trek through the Internet.

So maybe site aggregators render it less necessary to be consistent. But as someone who works with businesses and individuals who strive to carve out an identity, I firmly believe consistency helps.

Many thanks for your thoughtful response!

Best regards/Terri

2:42 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Martina,

HOORAY! You were able to leave a comment! Thank you for coming back!

You do a great job of representing yourself, and beside the friendly face and the use of your name, you understand how to connect with people. Not everyone is able to do that well. You stand out.

Thank you for the comment and for making a connection here and on Twitter. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better as this year continues to unfold.

Best regards/Terri

2:47 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Patch, thanks for the comment.

Recently I was reading an article about how SEO will be dead in five years because we are relying on "peer-opinions" as a basis for deciding—where should I eat? Which camera should I buy? Which club has the best music?

If it's true (and God knows how quickly everything changes), it indicates the need for trust on a couple of levels—trust in a product or service and trust in the opinion guiding you a decision (Angie's List might be a good example though I've not used it).

I'm interested to hear how your industry is impacted, so if you are willing, please let me know how it goes.

Than you again for commenting!

Best regards/Terri

2:57 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Hello, Tom, and thanks for your response.

I think many of us survived those early days of truncated names and handles. I can understand how someone who has built up a great deal of recognition in their handle would not want to give it up.

But in that instance, I really think attaching one's name somehow is beneficial, in spite of the backlash I've been getting!

Your closing comments perfectly reflect my feelings and they make a terrific quote!

Thank you again, Tom, and I hope to cross paths with you again.

Best regards/Terri

3:07 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Or at least one of them...

Thanks for the comment. For some reason, I missed this earlier!

5:26 PM  
Blogger Glen Gilmore said...

Thanks, Terri, for including me in your post with a group of people I hold in high regard.

"Transparency" is a touchstone for social media success.

When I started on this then new, crazy thing called, "Twitter", I thought I would use my account to follow trends and learn about social media. From this, I thought @TrendTracker would be a fitting name.

I learned much and along the way, to my suprise, made many wonderful connections. As time went on, members of my community suggested I use my given name and share a bit more about my background. I'm glad I took their advice, as I've found that it's made making real-world connections much easier.

Even if a person chooses to take and keep a nom de plume, transparency in their online conduct will help inspire greater confidence and quicker connections -- as proven by the good folks you've spoken about in your post.

Thanks again! @GlenGilmore (formerly, @TrendTracker)

8:23 AM  
Blogger Voice123 Community Manager said...

I really loved this post.

Honesty, integrity, and transparency should be the cornerstones of every business, and its great that companies online are catching onto the importance of this.

7:55 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Voice, thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

I think you're right on regarding your comment about how honesty, integrity and transparency should be at the foundation of any business.

Anonymity gives people permission to say or do things they might normally not. In the case of blog comments, I read an article that says the volume and quality of comments is much higher when anonymity is permitted.

But one of the things I most enjoy is to have someone take the time to leave a thoughtful reply. I like knowing who that person is. Am I following them on Twitter or are we playing Empire Avenue together? Their comments help build an impression of who they are, and sometimes leads to more meaningful connections.

Thank you again!

Cheers/Terri

10:41 PM  
Blogger Helga said...

This post and the comments confirmed what I was already thinking about for some time since I am on twitter. So today I changed the name (not the handle) to my real name. It just feels good having done that! Thank you for the toughtful post and hope to connect on a transparent way.
Greetings,
Helga

4:46 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:44 PM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Dear Helga,

My gratitude for your comment, and thank you for taking the time to read the post.

It's exciting to hear you decided to opt for "transparency." My hope is, whether they are professional or personal relationships, you will find yourself forging more meaningful (real) connections with people.

Here's hoping our paths cross again, and happy new week!

Cheers/Terri

2:44 PM  
Blogger evolutionfiles said...

This is such an eye opening post! I have consistently used @evolutionfiles for a long time, but you've got me thinking that @bearfiles might be better. It's a tough decision!

1:10 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Bear, it's all a matter of personal choice. Some people are uneasy about revealing who they are. I outlined in a reply to comment #2 for this post (above) some possible reasons why.

For me, when I go to someone's profile and don't see a name, or especially if there is no photo, I know there is practically no chance I'll ever have a significant connection to him/her. I usually won't seek out that person or try to cultivate a better relationship. They don't trust me—so I don't trust them.

When you work for a company as an anonymous cog it's possible no one will know who you are. And maybe you're doing a good job, or maybe you're mediocre, but if you keep your head down perhaps no one will notice.

But if you strike out on your own—it's all on YOU.

Social media is the same way. By claiming your identity, you're investing in your own reputation. And if social media becomes a focus for you, it's really an investment in your future.

Nice to see you on the timeline tonight!

Cheers/Terri

1:37 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Wow! I found You through Twitter and I'm so excited to find this blog. I'm a graphic designer that loves to hear advice like this. Building a brand with trust is hard but I really thing you gave some great advice. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Thanks!

2:02 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Hi, Kristin and thanks for the comment! I'd love to know your Twitter moniker so I can give you props there, too.

Looking forward to becoming better acquainted, and thank you for taking the time to check out this post! I hope you'll find it useful!

Cheers/Terri

2:13 AM  
Blogger Glen Gilmore said...

Thanks, Terri, for including me in your post with a group of people I hold in high regard.

"Transparency" is a touchstone for social media success.

When I started on this then new, crazy thing called, "Twitter", I thought I would use my account to follow trends and learn about social media. From this, I thought @TrendTracker would be a fitting name.

I learned much and along the way, to my suprise, made many wonderful connections. As time went on, members of my community suggested I use my given name and share a bit more about my background. I'm glad I took their advice, as I've found that it's made making real-world connections much easier.

Even if a person chooses to take and keep a nom de plume, transparency in their online conduct will help inspire greater confidence and quicker connections -- as proven by the good folks you've spoken about in your post.

Thanks again! @GlenGilmore (formerly, @TrendTracker)

P.S. Just about a week ago I transfered the @TrendTracker account to someone who has developed the TrendTracker brand as her personal brand - and asked if I might release the account to her. Was happy to see it take on a completely new life!

10:39 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

YAY, Glen!

Thank you for your wonderful comment!

I think the use of handles harkens back to the early days of the internet when anonymity was the norm. But if someone is really trying to build their reputation, at least FEATURING one's real name is important.

When you switched from @TrendTracker to @GlenGilmore, you helped take the lead in setting an example for transparency.

How delightful to think the @TrendTracker torch has been passed! Since it is a distinctive and memorable name (gotta love the alliteration), it wouldn't surprise me to learn she might residually benefit from people who remember your original moniker.

Glen, it's a pleasure to have crossed your social media path, and again, thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

Cheers/Hugs/Terri

3:00 PM  
Blogger Jolie B Studios said...

Hello Terri - so glad to be reading these excellent tips and the convo they have begun; you set a wonderful example with your branding and now I see it in words.

4:53 AM  
Blogger terrinakamura said...

Hi, Jolie, and my thanks to you for taking the time to read and comment.

I've come to realize some of the crazy monikers we see are throwback to the early days of the internet when people hung out on bulletin boards.

Even so, I always appreciate it when I engage with someone and have the opportunity to learn their real name. It's difficult to create relationships of any substance when you don't know who is talking to you!

It's nice to be in your social circles, and I hope we have an opportunity to become better acquainted.

Thanks again!

Terri

1:13 PM  

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