There is a famous scene in Breaking Bad, that instantly became a part of pop culture, where Walt White (Brian Cranston) makes a counteroffer to Declan, his competitor drug dealer. Frustrated with having to negotiate with Walt, Declan demands to know who he is. Refusing to back down, Walt insists that Declan already knows his name and demands that Declan says it. Walt informs him that it was he who killed Gus Fring, and finishes with the uber-cool quote “say my name”. Declan resignedly realises and acknowledges Walt as Heisenberg.
This was his ’work alias’. How most people knew him.
I remember the first time I had to travel for a project I was working on as Senior Designer in Tigerspike. I was in a team of three that was supposed to travel to Rome for a three days workshop. All the travel details would be arranged by the company. I had to care only about the project and bringing my passport with me.
I must say that although all my papers have my real name on “as shown on passport”, in my everyday life I use my alias. “Say my name!”; right, Nassos Kappa.
So, at some point, the colleague that made all the arrangements sends me an email to confirm dates and flight information *before* booking (luckily, he is very careful and professional) and the name on all the documents was, well, my alias!
But, ‘why an alias’ you ask? Simplification and efficiency are the reason for me. There are many other well-known examples. Doris Day is a much simpler name than Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff, Woody Allen than Allen Konigsberg, Louis C.K. than Louis Szekely (an easier way to say his actual last name, which is pronounced ‘See-kay’), Joaquin Phoenix than Joaquin Rafael Bottom (!), Michael Caine than Maurice Micklewhite or Helen Mirren than, wait for it, Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironov.
As a wise unknown guy said once with a meme “Our parents gave us usernames, in real life”. We don’t need to stick to those.
Will more people move towards aliases? Will Facebook and other social media and digital services win the war requiring us to provide our ‘actual name’ and data? Will security be a concern for humans this year or are we gonna keep uploading everything without thinking?
Will this post give your answers? No. Just some potential food for thought on the occasion of my name day.