My pseudonyms define who I am

The past three months have been both disastrous and life-changing. Everything I have worked so hard for since 2011 was erased, wiped out of existence in a series of events that can only be described in reference to Murphy’s Law.

“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”

So I had my data in three places: my trusted mobile phone, my working laptop and the all-reliable facebook account. It somehow happened that someone stole my phone, my horribly out-of-date laptop crashed in an overheating incident and corrupted the HDD content. And just now, Facebook’s privacy policy against pseudonyms took out my facebook account, along with all contacts, custom artworks and several documentations on PID controller algorithm.

No problem, after the first two disasters, I have become inert to such a total failure. I’ll just grab my remaining artworks from other sources and put them in another place where the hosting organization knows to mind their own business and keep my their users secured behind seven proxies.

Alright, no proxy, but I don’t plan to reveal my legal name for you to track me down, my working email address for you to shut me out, my home address for you to missile me or my phone number for you to harass me in the middle of the night (I have had enough of SMS spams for the love of God. Mind you, Twitter!). Privacy is the number one priority and the pseudonyms are the foremost defense against cyber bullying turning serious.

I have been a citizen of the cyber world for almost two decades. I have been through numerous stages, sites and identities, so many that I can hardly imagine they were my own. I learned the “street” way of the Internet. I learned that data mining is a real business and a potential threat to personal lives. And so, to stay safe from al the junks I have encountered, I picked up pseudonyms, aliases that define who I am among a selected community.

When I started my first internet identity, I was a boy. I was obsessed with Pokémon back then and it was an obsession that led to my first pseudonym: Rayquaza1994. It was the name I had used frequently for online game accounts and local hobby sites. It was who I was in the domestic online community.

As soon as I broke free of the language barrier and joined the English-speaking community, I realized the need for a new pseudonym, one that can put some distance between my teenage self and my pre-teen obsession and yet similar enough so that the transition is most fluid. I assumed the alias Lightning Ray, as people who had known my previous pseudonym can still address me, intimately as I would put it, as Ray.

Later on, I began to roleplay; write and learn the importance of a unique, out-of-the-dictionary character name. Creating an email address or any account with the chosen name was immensely difficult. I knew it would not be sustainable without a unique email base. Therefore, it had long been my aim to move on to my third generation of pseudonym but I was hardly making any progress for a good while. Again, the criteria were the same: connecting to the past, creating the future. I finally settled on a pseudonym that people who were used to call me LR for short can still refer to: Lorenz Raymond.

But it was not good enough. I learned that I need different names for different audience. An alternative alias, easy to remember, easy to spell comes to existence: Takahashi Fujihita. The name belongs to an antagonist in my first—albeit remains unwritten—novel Imperial Experiment. It is the perfect name when dealing with Eastern audience and uniquely suitable for many cases where the discrimination against Japanese culture, which is quite often seen in the Western-heavy sites, is less severe.

For now, I still use Lorenz Raymond as my official penname and Lightning Ray as my artist name. A pseudonym is something people can identify me to. As I build my online identity around a pseudonym, the associated stakes go up. If anonymity is an identity to be discarded, pseudonyms are identities are to be kept. Thus, the difference between the two is fundamental. Fujihita is the next generation of pseudonyms I intend keep and that will become who I am in my blogging future.

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