Pros and Cons of using your Real Name online

The direction Google Plus and other social  media sites are headed definitely makes real or false names online an important question. Some of them have using ‘real’ names as terms of service.  It’s unlikely they have a way to track down a lier, and it also overlooks the real reasons why one might need to avoid using a real name.

The pros are obvious and apply mainly to real world relationships. It is rather helpful when people who aren’t familiar with the internet but are close to you can just look you up online by your real name. Maybe they forgot to get your e-mail address or phone number. It  might be someone socially. It’s especially helpful for business who are more likely to know your real name and want to hire you.

The bad guys might use fake names in order to trick, con or bully others online. Likely trolls due, posting online and intentionally stirring up trouble. They like to post on forums and fan pages, in comment sections. They don’t mean to stir a good conversation, they just stir trouble by bashing others and diminishing their chances of enjoyment on the internet. And they might not stay on the internet if they can track their victims down in their real world with their real names.

The problem is this is not a safe world. User names aren’t just set up for fun, or even mischief, they are self protection.

Therefore the rest of us use usernames in order to  protect ourselves from online predators. If we get to know someone under a username, we can decide to risk a real name on our terms. In addition, others may have reason to hide their real name from their real life. Maybe they don’t want their employer to know what they post. It could be they are a whistle blower or maybe they just don’t share political views. They may not want certain others to know either. What if they have a jealous ex stalking them? What if they are a police officer and don’t want the criminals with a grudge  to discover their location via the internet? What if they are just that kid that gets bullied at school and doesn’t need to come home to be bullied on the internet? True, it could happen anyway. But the very least one can do to protect oneself is use a ‘user name’ that your enemies (be they child or adult) don’t know.

This is the danger of Google Plus and even Facebook with their sudden changes and determination to make connecting easy. They do so at the cost of our privacy, without asking us or warning us. Suddenly, you find people you don’t mind gaming with and chatting with in Google Plus circles, know your email address. It was changed without any warning. If you’ve been using Youtube for years and log into your Gmail, suddenly you  may find yourself accidentally commenting on videos with your real name, even though you logged in with your user name and have always commented using it.

It was aggravating when Facebook switched our ‘real’ email to ‘their’ ones without an announcement. That should’ve been our choice, even if our choice was to drop Facebook. And Twitter has become a developers nightmare. Suddenly to create an app to stream to you website, you need a mobile number. Never mind if you don’t want to give it to them, or even don’t have one. (Yes, there are those who still don’t have them. Not many, but they do exist.)

But all of these social media sites seemed to have failed to realize the danger of using real names without an opt out and demanding so much information. You have, essentially, piled all your eggs in one basket. No matter how good their security, all it takes is one hacker and now all your data is compromised because they combined it all (in some cases without any warning.)

My opinion:

For all of the disturbance one hears about the government intrusions, I for one find it just as alarming that these sites make it ridiculously easy for literally anyone to find us. I may find the government reasons suspect, I may think they go to far. But I tend to think they at least have the goal of keeping the peace. I may think their methods are wrong and they are violating our rights. But that is at least ‘a reason’. Whereas when the whole world can get access to that information, well, you may end up stalked by a deranged lunatic who has no reason outside their own twisted brain.

So I for one will keep using my user name. I may use my real name in places, but I’d prefer all those places not automatically have all my information and I’d prefer to decide how much information goes to those who comment on the same topics I have, or have the same interests (supposedly.)

So, what’s your take, which is more important? Ease of use at the risk of the wrong people knowing where and who you are, or a bit more privacy at the expense of being harder to use?

You really may have to choose….unless you want the social media sites to choose for you.

Google – The Playmate that Became a Bully

Google and Youtube: Playmates

Google began as a friend of the user and an excellent playmate. It could help you search and find nearly anything. It helped keep in touch with anyone almost instantly for free. It was easy to use. Easier than not, in fact, since it’s already installed in every web browser.

Youtube was also a friend and playmate, enabling not only education but fun music videos and discovery of new songs and artists. It was also easy.

Google Eats Youtube

But then, Google swallowed Youtube. And it turned it’s hungry sight on Facebook and Twitter, unable to eat them, it decided to surpass them. Had it merely made it’s own social media site, it might’ve stayed a fun playmate.

Google: The Would Be God of the Internet

But then it revealed it’s full intentions, only hinted at previously. It’s Google Plus would connect it all, whether you wanted it to or  not. It would log you into all of it’s toys through Google plus. And now our nightmare begins. Our playmate is no longer a friend, it is a bully. We entrusted it with our creations, our videos, our personal correspondence and it has betrayed that trust.

Because now, it no longer gives you a choice. If you wanted to use Facebook or Twitter, it was your choice. You weren’t forced too.If you wanted to use just google mail, it would be fine.  But Google Plus is being forced upon us.

My Recent Youtube User Experience

As a longtime user, I suddenly find instead of logging by default into the account I created with my user name, it logs me into an account with  my real name and wants me to comment and like with that. It obviously is not the same account, as the playlists and uploads are missing.

After  much floundering I found that my user account now had a separate ‘google plus’ page. I had to change accounts every time I went to the site as by default it made me go to the other one. Quite obviously these changes are recent and ongoing.
But there was no warning and it’s massive merging was beyond any nightmare change Facebook every made. Because so far as I can see, there is no way to set the default. I even went so far as to delete my original ‘google plus’ page, which I’d only dabbled with. I didn’t even know for sure it wouldn’t screw up my gmail account but I risked it anyway.

Google: The Monster

Google has become a monster, apparently the concept of privacy had escaped them. They may disguise it as ease of use, but all they are really doing is destroying our ability to remain private online. I’ve never before had the overwhelming urge to bail on google mail or youtube or it’s other toys before. It was only annoying that it tried to sell me ads on gmail online. This is not annoying. This is a monster that wants to swallow my free choice.

I shall be looking at other email options. And video options. And, for that matter, anything whatsoever that does not relate to google. I’m now afraid the monster wishes to take over the world.

Death of the Playmate

I mourn the fun, playful Google we used to know. I loved visiting their playground. But if I have to check in with my real name and have everyone know it every time I visit, then I will start looking for other alternatives. Because it’s not a safe word out there. And my real name is my business when I’m on the boards.

Why not use my real name? That’s up for another blog post…and it’s already have written so it really will be posted soon.

Here is a petition to change it back:

My First Ever Youtube Portfolio

It’s up and ready, complete with music. It features my illustrated horses in exciting poses. Done in Imovie it is complete with music and sound effects. I’m eager to keep going and have several ideas for more. I’ve set up an all new channel, including other people’s videos I find inspiring.

I’m also working on Flash, although the storms lately are a major issue. I won’t stay on a plugged in machine during thunderstorms. It’s different with a laptop of course.

I now have a wacom bamboo pen tablet working on both machines and I’m head over heels in love. It came with Corel Painter Essentials 4 so I’m experimenting with that too.

Finally, I’m also still wrestling with this WordPress thing, since it’s determined to not cooperate in the area of permalinks.

The next stage of my Horse Web and Graphic Design site.

So I’m finally at the validation stage of building my site.
Naturally I’m running into easy issues like Seamonkey Composer not
  using proper end tags. Of course, I didn’t expect it to be
perfect, I only used it because I was in a big hurry to get all
 that Cafepress stuff up.

Then there is the external link issue. Turns out my referral tags
 have unsupported characters in them. There is nothing I can do
about it. Nothing. The referral links are designed by Greeting Card
 Universe and Zazzle. If I want my royalties I must use them.

Finally there are the bizarre CSS issues. I gave up on those when
 I realized I was getting two or three different results from the
same validator and the same css stylesheet!

At long last I joined a horse community called Barnmice.
Looking forward to reconnecting with the horse community.
I already joined Deviant art the other day, and they’ve certainly
inspired my art lately in many ways. There is some truly brilliant
 stuff up there.

So this just leaves what to do about the original Starhorsepax .
I’m hoping to redirect the original URL and recreating it as a
kid’s site.

Now if only in this business I can actually make some money
instead of just spending it. Horses and art are good for the soul.
 Hopefully I can translate that into earning money too.

Moonlight Prancer Horse mousepad
Moonlight Prancer Horse by starhorsepax
My new and improved Clydesdale, with the cool brush effects added.

I really love free brushes for Gimp and Photoshop.  Moon is by Hawksmonte, Water by Obsidian Dawn.   Most of them I found on Brusheezy



I finally have my animation gallery up and just need to link it in..  It’s not my best artwork, but then I was more focused on getting the hang of Flash then the finer points.   My ‘computer crunch’ is little more than a doodle and certainly sounds like a cereal.  But anyone who has ever fought with a computer will enjoy it.  It was done in CS3. Check it out:  Animations


Now I have to figure out CS5.5 and I hope to combine my real art with the animation.  Fortunately I like that kind of challenge

A case in point:  I’ve wrestled for hours with Inkscape gradients trying for a fuzzy teddy bear. This was after a critique on Deviant Art.  I may post it as a tutorial or a sort of how to (and how to NOT) do it.  And I have that nice Adobe Illustrator waiting for me to use.  But how could I ignore the challenge  of the not at all intuitive freebie Inkscape?


Welcome to Starhorsepax Designs Blog

This blog is all new, the website is too. So please be patient with it.   The shop navigation isn’t up yet and I haven’t filled in the prices or finished the contact page.

Friendly suggestions for improvement are welcome, just keep in mind I’m not claiming to be finished.

But if you are looking for a web designer and or graphic artist I’m here and ready even if the site isn’t complete.  My specialty is horses and other animals.  In addition to here you’ll find me on Zazzle, Cafepress, Greeting Card Universe and I’ve just joined Deviant Art.