When I began sampling the Internet in the 90s, I started with PINE, TIN, and bulletin board systems. Back then, I opted for the nym insomniac, which represented that my biorhythms caused me to be awake when most of the so-called "normal" world was asleep. This nym lasted as the Internet continued to grow, and branched into Usenet newsgroups and IRC.
Later on, as my religious views shifted into the general area of where they are today, I changed my nym to shadowdancer, to reflect this - and also because there were just too many insomniacs out there. This nym persisted for a goodly long while.
Getting onto LiveJournal caused another nym-shift. I can't rightly recall my first LJ name, but my second persists to today, and names my personal journal. Magyarok_saman is actually a mis-spelling of a Hungarian reference to "Hungarian Shaman", which is one of the religious roles I fill. Later, I got into Second Life, and my nym there became Marie Resch. I had a limited selection of last names, so Resch it was. It turns out that there are only roughly 48 of us with that last name. Should we start a club? :P
Entry into Inworldz afforded me a choice of any name I wanted. By this time, I was partnered to Willy Wonka (his chosen name, not the name that his account reflected) so I opted for Marie Wonka. A bad, but thankfully temporary breakup caused me to change my name to Marie Ravencrow, and I like it for a general nym. I've used it several places, and were I to sign up for Google+, it would be the name I use. It is a combination of my "common name" middle name and the last part of my magickal name. In other words, it says a lot about me, as a person.
I refuse to sign up for Google+. I hate how they have treated my friends, who likewise wished to use their very meaningful nyms as the name on the account. I am also of the mind that I don't like to be counted, quantified, analyzed - and signing up for such a service subjects me to all those things, and more.
I had a Facebook page. It had my RL name on it, and the more I read about Facebook, Google+, and other sites like it, the less secure I felt about using that page. With the rise of the nym wars and yet more bad news about the insecurity of such sites, I elected to deactivate it and I will let it die.
As I said in the previous post, I have indeed suffered at the hands of malicious people thanks to the bits and pieces of information about me already on the Internet. By taking down that page, I am eliminating yet another bit that could be used against me.
Second Life itself began quite the controversy when they elected to turn our avatar profiles into a "facebook-like" interface on the web, complete with comment wall. While there are settings which can prevent most information from being displayed to just anyone, the general profile remains on the web and available to the greater Internet. This has caused a lot of people consternation, as they wished for their profile to be entirely contained within the platform and NOT available to the Internet in general. Personally I was happy with my profile staying confined to the internals of the platform, and I don't intend to use the interactive bits of my web profile much, if at all.
Let's face it folks: Anything a corporation is going to offer for free on the Internet actually comes with some form of hidden price. Google's insistence on RL names gave away their intentions of aggregating our data and selling it to others. Facebook has allowed the installation of facial recognition software which can be used to scan your profile and other photos for matches in criminal databases. Who is to stop them from allowing this technology to be used - or goddess forbid, hacked - by others? The question has already been asked: Will there be laws and regulations governing the use of our private data? You can't say it's being used without your permission; the fine print of the User Agreement says they can do whatever they damned well please with it.
I don't mind targeted ads because I can ignore them. I do mind my information being aggregated, cross-referenced, and sold to some faceless entity for use in whatever way they see fit. I have already been a victim of such practices, and if you think it's easy to get your personal information taken out of the database of such corporations, think again. Most 411 sites make it very tedious to get your information removed. Even if you succeed, your information is still stored elsewhere, and can be had, for a price.
Marie Ravencrow is now my public nym, and it's all you get. If that's not good enough for you, then you can take a long walk off a short pier into shark-infested waters.
x-posted to my personal blog.