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Tony Faustino

Denise, I couldn't agree with you more. One of the many reasons why I participate in social media and blogging is to credibly build my online visibility (plus I just really enjoy it). After all, how can you become a thought leader if people can't find you and your content by your real name? I would think that if someone is credible and has something valuable to offer, wouldn't she/he want potential clients to easily find her/him via a Google search?

Most of all, people develop personal or business relationships with others they trust (I know I do). From an online perspective, the only way I know how to do that is to participate in the conversation and to say "Hi, I'm Tony and I think ..." A good example of that is demonstrated by the folks who "put themselves out there" in your YouTube interviews from Online Visibility-6 Tips From Online Marketers. Great stuff Denise!

Stacy Brice

Hi, Denise...

There's a difference, too, I think between posting for a company--using the company name (or a name that includes the company name), and posting from a convoluted user name, or a name that's a phrase meant to get picked up by engines.

Trust is still possible with people who post as companies (@blogsquad, @assistu), or as reps of companies (@comcastcares). But the others don't stand a chance of ever being seen as more than spammers--and unimaginative ones at that!

Thanks for this post :)

Donna Raagas

I just got serious about my blog in January, and as I read other blogs and we comment on each others' blogs, I feel that I'm making friends; establishing relationships. They're using their names & I'm using mine. The relationships feel genuine. I also feel I'm projecting confidence in my business when I reply on blogs with my name. I use a nickname on a particular social networking site, but I'm going to change that, because it feels like a mask. It seems crazy to try to interact authentically with other people alias to alias!

Connie Ragen Green

I agree completely. If we are to differentiate who we are and what we do, using our real name is crucial. There were so many people with my name - Connie Green - that I took it a step further and added my middle name when I came online in 2005. There is never any confusion about my identity, online or offline, and I believe this has helped me to be recognized in my field.
You also want to 'Google' yourself often. By using your real name you have more control over what comes up when someone is searching for information on you.
Connie Ragen Green

JudyAnn Lorenz

I added my middle name in arty spelling for the same reason as Connie. With the name my neighbors use, I'm out there in the world in multiple. That doesn't count all the ways people will misspell my last name! I added my name to my Facebook address and fanpage; had to get rid of one because I didn't catch onto that. My name is part of my twitter name and I do hold the account for the just plain name. I still moderate comments and READ them and CHECK their url because the spammers are getting the name thing too. My policy is if your comment doesn't make sense, it's not true (learned that phrase from Judge Judy). So, I'm JudyAnn (no space)to you! Judith to my mother.

JudyAnn Lorenz

Since I never have written here, I'm trying to make up for it with more.

I think we begin using cutsie names because we're not sure of our 'reality' in the virtual world. As we grow and develop our mojo and ectoplasm, real names begin to have more appeal. I've watched this evolution in the activities of other virtual professionals and see it coming in newbies who are my clients.

Margie Mintz

This is interesting. A lot of us have probably been turning it around in our heads. My username, etc. is margiemintz, including my wordpress account, but my twitter name is my business name, mintzwebdesign, because I wanted people to be curious. Maybe I'll re-think that. I generally like to be connected to a person and am quite irrited at many twitter names, which give you no clue whatsoever who they are, etc.
Thanks Denise.
Margie Mintz

Susan Guiher

Thanks again Denise for being thought-provoking and right on target. We have become too accustomed to using "usernames" to identify who we are instead of our real names. I agree with Donna when she says that being online and commenting via blogs, she is creating relationships and making friends. It feels strange to use a fake name if you truly want the relationships to be authentic and benefit all parties. I know I will make sure all my posts include my full real name. Thanks for the post Denise!

Carla J Gardiner

Hi Denise,

Absolutely, I agree. I can validate my opinion by sharing a quick story that just happened to me in my online network marketing company last week.

As I am learning the art of blogging through your Online Visibility Secrets, I am implementing each step. As a result one prospect viewed a title of one of my blog posts and became interested in purchasing my company's product and becoming a business partner with me.

She did not want to become a member of the group I had posted in, so she quickly exited and went to my corporate site. However, she forgot my name, remembered the company and product and placed her order. Through follow up with her via her comment on my blog, I found out that she had not enrolled via my personal website and had been placed with another distributor.

To make a long story short, through her emails she was able to prove her intentions of doing business with me, Carla J Gardiner, and not the other distributor that she didn't even know. Had I been using a catchy phrase, like the other distributor is currently doing, I would have lost not only the sale, but also an awesome business partner.

Case in point, using my real name was uncomfortable for me at first, but in the long run it is worth it's weight in real gold. Thank you, Denise, for an excellent article and for caring enough about each business person working online to step up and out to post this vital success tip.

Carla J Gardiner

Maggie Anderson

Thanks Denise -- I agree for 2 reasons:

* The internet is a huge paradox -- at the same time as it is a giant space, it allows you to make one-on-one connections with your peeps. You only get the benefit of this internet paradox when you are a real person with a real name, though.

* Looking to the future -- when your name is your brand, instead of a company or product name, it goes with you. So as your interests, products, services, companies change, your name still represents "brand you." I've had my signature as my logo for many years -- although I'm always in the communications space, my company has changed over time and I still benefit from the name recognition.

Maggie Anderson, Words That Work

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