I've talked about the subject of pseudonyms before here and my recent discussions with dave about blogging these days have sort of brought this subject up again. So here we are.
I've always thought that the idea of pen names, which I suppose is really want I'm talking about here, are pretty cool. Because of the way that draw attention to the role of the writer without necessarily drawing attention to a particular writer. As a scholar (to be) of identity production and development, I think the use pseudonyms is particularly fascinating: even if it would be difficult to envision a formal research project (in the empirical sense) that would look at pseudonyms.
I've also long enjoyed the Internet custom of using handles and nicknames to operate under. This is something that I think a bunch of early cyberpunk picked up on, and something that was true on the real Internet, at least for a while. People still use handles, but they're less like a mask and more like a badge. As far as I can see; context matters, of course.
For a long time I was big on using my "real" name online for TealArt and for other projects. It's a unique enough name and I had/have little to hide, so it seemed like a good idea. More recently I've become a little bit more concerned about controlling what turns up on google under my name. At this point, in the first ten, I only have one link, (at number 4) and it's old enough that it won't reflect poorly on me in the future. It's old enough that in six to ten years when it really matters, people might not even think to connect me with that link.
And so for these reasons I am using and continue to use a pseudonym. Also, my academic projects and my internet/fiction writing projects are pretty separate, at least in my mind. I mean that's not true, the reason I've been able to get back into fiction writing is because I can draw on social science stuff on a conceptual level, but being successful as a blogger/sf writer and being successful as a social scientist, and quite possibly the former could impede on the later. As I get further into both the bogging project and the fiction writing, the more it seems to make sense that sort of stick to a pseudonym.
Changing names is hard, particularly, when in a very real sense "marketing" is an issue, which is compounded by my additional project of a layer of anonymity. I mean choosing a pen name also draws attention to that (as this draws attention to), but I think that's kind of cool.
Anyway. tycho garen it is.
See y'all around.
Onward and Upward!