I started using genegeek in grad school because every combination of my name was taken in email accounts. It seemed like a way to become unique in a safe way. When I started signing up for things online, my name was taken but genegeek was available. Note: there is a romance novelist with my name and she seems to have snagged all logins with our name but at least she isn’t a famous porn actress. And now I’m known as genegeek, at least in online arenas.
I haven’t hidden my name – it’s on my About page – but I haven’t flaunted it either. I will admit that the separation seems easy to maintain, especially to my role in academia. However, several students and colleagues follow me so I don’t know if there is any true separation anymore. Now I wish there wasn’t a separation so that I could take more credit for some of my online activities – but we’re back to that common name thing.
What has been interesting is when people assume I’m male. I am not thinking about gender constructs when I do things and it surprises me when people see ‘genegeek’ as something that isn’t ‘me’. I always wonder if I have more twitter followers because some people assume I’m male.
I don’t do anything as genegeek that I don’t want others to see so the name isn’t big to me. But I don’t like my photos or location online. I have been involved in a stalking case and I don’t want to make it easy for others to bother me. I’ve noticed that this is different for my husband and male friends because ‘what’s the big deal?’ – but I think that’s a separate issue.
So I guess I’m a case of a pseudonym but out of convenience, not a grand plan.