Since her birth more than a year ago, Botgirl has proven to me that an avatar identity in the protective womb of pseudonymity can be a profoundly fertile environment for creative expression and growth. As muse, subject, canvass and collaborator, Botgirl has been a fulcrum that's shifted my creative planet forever. Botgirl has been the driving force behind a personally unprecedented volume and variety of creative work and her public persona has helped bring the work to the attention of thousands of people around the world.
I can unequivocally recommend using a public pseudonymous avatar identity to enhance creativity and act as a living interactive work of art. Sadly, I can not make the same enthusiastic testimonial for the role of pseudonymity in close personal relationships. In fact, I've come to suspect that a persistent insistence on pseudonymity in an otherwise very close online friendship is a likely indicator of:
- A lack of trust in the other person. You are afraid they will disclose your identity to other people and ultimately sabotage your ability to maintain public pseudonimity.
- Personal dishonesty. You've either stated or implied things about your human self that is not true.
- A sense of shame about aspects of one's human self. You are afraid that if certain aspects of your human self were known, the other person would feel differently about you.
So I've started to share my RL identity with a few of my best online friends, and will continue expanding my circle. I gently ask you to pick a good friend of yours and give it a try.