With the introduction of virtual meetingpoints, like bulletin board systems and later on the Internet, we needed a string of characters for our identification. This was the birth of the screen name or 'nickname'. A nick was a necessity for text based online environments, since there was no other way to uniquely identify ourselves in a humanly way. This necessity soon turned into a gift.
With the absence of our face, our voice and our name in the real world, we could create an alter ego. We could explore another personality. Be who we would like to be, instead of who we were. We could be that cool guy, instead of a shy geek; that beautiful woman, instead of the ugly little duck.
Unfortunately with every opportunity there is abuse. Young girls are lured into sexual activities by the identy of another young girl who is actually a dirty old man. Lies are being told under the pretense of truth, since it can only be traced back to a virtual identity and not a real one.
This abuse has sparked a new trend. The Internet has now become so common, that we want to use it as a substitute, or rather an extension to our real world. We want to communicate from real person to real person. We want to use the virtual marketplace for trading our real goods. But how can we trust the nick on the other end of the line? That´s why we are now starting to show our true identiy on the Net.
Amazon is now marking comments with a "real name" tag, if that person is using the name on this credit card to sign his comments. Gmail and community web sites like MySpace and Friendster let you add a photo of yourself, to show people who you really are. These are all signs that your virtual identity is becoming a reflection of your real identity instead of you imagination, with the inevitable result that your nick has to go. Bye Nick.