When I decided to start a journal of my own, I chose to pick a nickname other than my regular userid. I'm not sure if I was particularly going for a layer of privacy or anonymity, so much as having fun picking out a new name for the first time in a long time.
When I write about other people in Live Journal, I use nicknames. Many of these nicknames are taken from Live Journal names, some of these nicknames are taken from other names that are familiar to me from long use. Often these will be userids, and those are how I'm used to referring to someone. Sometimes a userid comes more trippingly to my keyboard than a longer, and less familiar Live Journal name.
And sometimes I have fun figuring out just the right name for someone who isn't on Live Journal, whose userid wouldn't do for obscuring their real name. Sydb helped me decide on Turnip's nickname, reminding me that he named himself. I was particularly happy with that one.
I have three goals for nicknames in my Live Journal.
- No real names
- Easy for me to remember and connect back to whom it applies
- Easy for me to use -- shorter tends to feel nicer to me in print, for instance
I've had a comment, to one of my Live Journal posts, that I should have used a different nickname for someone. That, to me, felt too uncomfortably close to being told how to write in my own journal.
On the other hand, if anyone is truly uncomfortable with seeing themselves referred to by a nickname that I've chosen for them, I'd be uncomfortable continuing to use that nickname. I'd prefer to hear about via private email, however.
Meanwhile I'll continue writing my journal to please me.