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On pseudonymity

I’m not a big ass scientist (yet). Most of the people don’t give a fuck about what I say on twitter or when I occasionally blog. But still, I don’t write under my real name. Why? Because… academic life! How many times have you heard “Twitter is a waste of time”, “You should focus on writing papers instead of blogging”, etc… I’m a postdoc applying for jobs. I have my reasons. And so does every scientist that twits or blogs under a pseudonym. That’s why it’s not ok to out someone’s else pseudonym. I don’t care if you were insulted, or “endured 3 years of unwarranted, undeserved unpleasantness from a pseudonymous blogger”. There’s nothing preventing to answer or fight with the pseudo person! Simply outing the blogger seems such a childish way to fight. And it just shows who is the real bully of the history.

I feel like it’s easier to be yourself when you write under a pseudonym. “Hiding” behind a pseudonym may give you freedom to say whatever you wouldn’t say IRL. The good and the bad. But I’ve been actively on Twitter for more than a year and I really don’t believe that the main reason people don’t write under their real names is to insult others. The academic world is as nasty as any other world, and what’s in the internet is public and lives forever. When I started to use twitter I was writing under my real name. I would think 300 times before writing anything, wondering what my boss would think, or if it would be appropriate. After I adopted my pseudonym, I found it so much easier just to be myself and write whatever was in my mind. That makes me wonder, who is really hiding here – the ones that write under a pseudonym or the ones that write under their real names?

Regardless on how you write, personally I found the most supportive group of people on Twitter. Answers to scientific questions, proofreading of my job applications, samples of grants and statements, and most important of all: personal support. I met some of my twitter friends in real life. We do google hangouts to discuss science or just for fun. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care how many papers you have published or where do you work. All I care is people are there for me. And I’ll be there for them. That’s all.

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