One of the things that’s so unique about modern social media is the requirement that you use your real name. Back in the early days of online communities, you were expected to come up with a unique “handle” that reflected your personality. In the early computer bulletin board days were you communicated in online forums using slow paced modems and ancient software, you would see various user names such as “Pacman,” “FunnyGuy,” “Biker,” or darker, slightly silly ones like “CreepingDeath” and “WildProwler.” It was a different time back then and it could take you months before you learn someone’s name.
These days, it’s different. You sign up on a service like Facebook and you use your first and last name. The first order of business is to upload your avatar, or picture, so people know what you look like. From that point on, you’re interacting with others and using your real identity. Your behavior online is a direct and immediate reflection on you. Years ago, I had a big problem on this site where people hid behind pseudonyms and trashed elected officials, candidates trying to get elected, or each other. I switched the commenting system to Facebook to avoid that going forward. Now, when commenting, you’re using your real name, your real face, and you’re authenticating with the Facebook user authentication system.
Sadly, people are still gaming the system. Cruise the Simi Valley forums, and you’ll find questionable account profiles. It’s not hard to create a fake Facebook profile and it seems people are doing it somewhat regularly. These people often have profiles with a limited history (i.e. they were created a month or two ago) but regardless, they’re up on the discussion threads that have taken place over the past many months. Their knowledge rarely (oddly) raises any suspicion.
Simi Valley benefits hugely from people who are willing to say what’s on their mind and stand behind it, using their real names. Otherwise decent conversations go right in the toilet once they are graced by the presence of a phony profile. If you have something to say about Simi Valley but you don’t feel comfortable saying it using your real name, it’s probably not worth saying. You may take heat sharing your opinions using your real name (I have), but you’ll earn a good deal of respect as well.
Do you love Simi Valley? Do you want to share that passion in a respectable way? Then ditch the bogus social media profiles and use your real names. Have a great rest of the week.