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I think I do not want fame, but it's obviously easier to navigate some circles if your name is known: you don't have to introduce yourself, nor prove other people what you are worth.

This works on many scales: from a small team at work, where it's much easier to co-ordinate if everyone knows each other's strong points. It's also great for arguments: if you know that a person is very knowledgeable on a topic, you won't ask them to substantiate their claims, which speeds up the process.

I've been toying with the idea of creating multiple identities for multiple areas I'm engaging in: use my real name for socializing in real life with close acquaintances as well as paperwork, but maybe use a pseudonym for publishing papers, another for engaging in open-source communities, and online in general. I'm happy to say it's quite hard to find pictures of myself online, but it would be even better if they didn't come attached to a meaningful name.

I'm about to submit a paper with my real name this evening, and I am a bit unsure about this. Any experience on using pen names in that domain specifically?

The issue I have is that the longer you wait, the harder it is to change (which can also be a good thing: to change names is to get a fresh start).

It all boils down to reputation and identity somehow, two hot (and hard) topics in (distributed) social networks.




There’s a big difference between being known in your field and being generally famous as Tim Ferriss is talking about.

I am well known in my field and it has all the benefits you speak of. But it’s not a large field. So I have none of the negatives that the article speaks of.


That's right, of course, and I should have made this a bit clearer: I am mostly concerned with being known under the same name in multiple independent fields. While it certainly has benefits, it:

* Lowers the Signal/Noise ratio when searching for your works in that field

* Might not always be relevant for your future employer that (forgive my bad example) you are a skilled baseball player, for them to find some drunken pictures of you, or for your date to know that you are a speaker at defcon.

I think of it as controlling the flow of information, installing firewalls between different aspects of my life. I would prefer personal matters not to intervene in my work life, and vice-versa.

By virtue of not having a common first name, if you look mine up with a few keywords related to my interests, you can quickly track me down. This is not a big deal in general, and I don't do anything that would deserve it, but you always are one scandal away from fame, especially in today's world...


> There’s a big difference between being known in your field and being generally famous as Tim Ferriss is talking about.

Thanks for actually making me realize this distinction.

Kinda like being known for something instead of being famous for something. Does that make sense?


Possibly. Do you mean that in the sense on the article where a producer said it’s best if: “people know your face but not your name”?

That’s definitely a distinction.

But I actually meant it in the sense that most fields and sub fields are so small that you can be legit famous within them but have no problems of fame because the number of people involved is tiny.

But if the field grew 100-1000x, you would then have problems of fame with the sheer numbers.

Think of whatever speciality you’re in, then consider you probably know what 1-5 notable people in the field look or sound like, without knowing them personally. That’s essentially what fame is: the effects only get odd when the field is so generally that much larger numbers will recognize that same person. Some portion of any sufficiently large group will be over enthusiastic or malevolent.




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