Any "anon" Indie Hackers?

Some of you must rock pseudonymous accounts. Right?

Do you find it useful? Are you more open, authentic, and honest when using your anon account on twitter/IH/etc..?

I certainly do. But oftentimes I feel it's hard not attaching my IRL name on something just because it might be seen as controversial, etc.

Does anyone else feel this way? How do you handle it?

How are you thinking about anonymity/pseudonymity in general, especially online and within business.

  1. 3

    Not anon, but another fellow real-name-indiehacker.

    I explicitly switched to using my real name (after lurking only and trying to be anon online for years) for a few reasons:

    1. Credibility: Putting my name where my mouth is. I stand behind what I say, either online or in person. Hiding behind an anon/pseudo-anon account does not help for my business purposes.

    2. Trust: This extends credibility. I want people to be able to trust me. I am offering security software & services, people need to trust me with their secrets (2FA tokens). A hard sell, but even harder if people think they can not trust you. Not being anon, thus being somewhat verifiable, helps.

    3. Brand: Granted, my least favorite reason, but I had to admit that it does help tremendously to have an active audience and network with any business endeavor. Hard to be credible and trustworthy when you are anonymous.

    4. Standards: when I use my real name I hold myself to higher standard, and this leads to better content & product quality since I can not hide. I hope that, looking back, this post will be a good example for that.

    All these are character-building and somewhat transformative and I think that overall it is much better to use your real name than to stay anon in business and company building.

    When do I prefer to be anon/pseudo-anonymous?

    1. When it is not relevant for the discussion, e.g. up+downvoting on Reddit, low quality comments on Twitter that hardly provide value, when the interaction does not count in
      the long-run, when there is really no need to be identifiable.

    2. When I think it is none of your business, e.g. I like using cash for payments in the supermarket.

    3. When I am online in general and just consuming (surfing, reading). I have a hardcore blocklist (https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts) in place + firewall (Little Snitch) + additional adblockers (uBlock Origin). Not perfect, but definitely helping.

    What's your experience?

    1. 2

      A lot of your reasons for using your real name have counter arguments

      Credibility and trust - pseudonymity does not mean uncredible or untrustworthy, especially in the age of Github and blockchain technology. Your actions and outputs/inputs to the world can be verified, albeit under a pseudonym.

      Balaji Srinivasan discusses this exact thing on this podcast episode back in March this year: https://tim.blog/2021/03/24/balaji-srinivasan/

      The advantages of pseudonymity mean people will judge you on your abilities and actual outputs, rather than your skin colour, gender or location of birth.

      Brand - this could be an argument for pseudonymity as you're creating an asset that is not directly connected to you as a human.

      Standard - this is true at first, but if you've spent years building up a pseudonymous brand you'll also be just as careful about how it's presented to the world.

      1. 1

        Thanks, this is a very opposing but very interesting view. I have to agree with your points, specially in regards to open source & github and other niches credibility and trust is not necessarily bound to using your real name.

        Your argument "Brand - this could be an argument for pseudonymity as you're creating an asset that is not directly connected to you as a human." speaks from my heart. However, to note, doing it this way does not work in all areas of life.

        In the real world I (still) can not do proper business (e.g. buy a house, buy a company, etc.) without using my real name and disclosing some data.

        1. 1

          Absolutely, at least for now...

    2. 1

      My "real-name" experience is very much like yours, for a lot of the same reasons.

      I have an anon Twitter account which I use all the time. It allows me to disassociate my currently held beliefs, biases, political views, etc. I use it to explore topics and people I wouldn't otherwise associate with.

  2. 1

    @levelsio (https://twitter.com/levelsio) is mostly pseudonymous (though he does reveal his name in some places).

    1. 1

      Not mentioning your name or using your full name as a handle is hardly what I understand what pseudonomity is. @levelsio and "Peter Levels" is (my opinion) still using the real name.

      1. 1

        If you start from his Twitter profile (https://twitter.com/levelsio/) and follow the links from there, I don't think you'll find his real name, in which the majority of people would view 'levelsio' is a username, not a surname.

        There is a definite layer of pseudonymity to his online presence. Though he obviously isn't paranoid about it, as his full name is used throughout this website and podcasts episodes etc.

        Being pseudonymous is not quite the same as being anonymous in my opinion.

        George Orwell was a pseudonym (pen name), but when people figured out his real name was Eric Arthur Blair, he still used his pseudonym exclusively for all the work he produced.

        1. 2

          Levels isn't his real last name. So it's still a pseudonym.

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