What's in a Name?

What's in a name? The nick you use on IRC or MSN chats. The nick you utilize on forums. The name or nick in which you are known in certain circles for. The nickname your pals and buddies call out to get your undivided attention - to congratulate or to jibe. The name printed on your birth certificate.

"Names" have "power". And there are many powers associated with names: Anonymity, Notoriety, Infamy, Popularity, and the most powerful of all? "Revelation". Not in the biblical-sense of course, but "revelation" of a past, of your true identity. A cursory google search might find details of your online life recorded on the www, name or nick. Too generic a nick? To common a name? No worries, it is a matter of time and patience when details of anyone can be traced, even when the article did not originate from you in the first place.

I grew up with the notion of "true names" and the popularity associated with them. Reading comicbooks, writers and artists are commonly credited with their full names. Starting a career in design, names like "Philippe Starck" had me revering his every output, in both interior design and product design (in truth, I had lurved the name attached to anything, moreso than the item itself lol). Plying my craft in the industry of film and design for television - for the better part of a decade, I even had dreams of seeing my name receiving design awards, and being recognized (narcissism is a virtue here), and what do we work for, but to see our name in the roller credits after a movie's end sequence? (What? The money? You MUST be kidding me, right? LOL) . I sit thru it all, in recognition of the work people put thru to entertain us on the silver screen, even until now, even after leaving the career behind me.

"Names". We work hard for our names to be mentioned and recognized. Adoration and Riches, they are but the bounty afforded to a select few, but not all, unfortunately … *looks-down-at-floor-in-disappointment*

Everything changed when I went online. A new world oriented themselves before me. I knew a lot more folks, but I never necessarily knew who they actually were. I had more "cyber-friends" and I knew folks face-to-face (Same story in my Facebook now too hahaha). Not much folks choose to use their true names on forum-boards. Near nobody uses their true name on Ebay or auction sites. "Anonymity" was key to survival then on the internet. IRC, MSN, whatever whenever whomever - the days of anonymity were the true wild wild west - where irresponsibility came out to play, and when the internet thrived beyond it's ability. And a double-edged sword it was, the net was beneficial to information overload, till this day which we refer to, to remind us of "the past". But from whom truly, we might never get to know.

And while I highly doubt the fear of "Identity-theft" be the root of anonymity, the absolute inner thrill of saying something and be able to get away with it, or escape without your true self being in any sort of jeopardy, or even to come up with a new identity, is frankly pretty invigorating.

With the moniker "onesixx", (now there's "genuine originality" in nick-naming right here, yo! An extra "X"! Who would've thunk it? LOL *head-palm*) I enjoyed my days on various toy-forums, oblivious to my true name being utilized in my real-world career. Then "TOYSREVIL" happened and it has been the name that has stuck and propagated until now, each name specifically encompassing certain attributes to certain likes and preferences, very much in line with folks multiple nicks used online. But really, after a while, it is tiring to cater to so many different nicks, isn't it? Well, two nicks are enough for me to handle anyways!

I had always have an issue with the nick "TOYSREVIL". Some folks spell it as "ToysREvil" (like it's a riff off "Toys'R'Us"), while some folks refer to it as "TRE" (and for a while I did too). Truth be told, I abhor both incarnations - and as much as I wish folks would just type "TOYSREVIL" or "toysrevil" - the basic truth is, the name seems to only matter to me, and not the folks who use them. Typos are understandable, but I cannot forgive folks for knowing otherwise and choose not to alter typos, c'mon - do I really believe you have no idea of what you edit over what you type, yourselves? LOL


No doubt it is also my fault for the lack of "education", and the lack of drumming into folks how it is represented. But frankly as much as I type what I want folks to follow, people choose to see things their way on the first place - hey, even my own Mother does not know how to pronounce my blog-nick! Pronouncing it as "toysss-reeevil"! So in any instance, I have failed in my attempts to brand myself and my blog (even though one can argue me mum's not me target reader, innit? Heh).

The power of a name is personified for me, in an instance when Medicom Toy "requires" their Bearbricks be spelt "BE@RBRICKS" in full upper-case, with a "@". Very much like corporate television (where I worked for a good number of years before) where they have their station or channel logos required to be of a fixed pantone color, percentage-size et al. There are even handbooks about it, give to clients or anyone planning to utilize their logos for promos.

I try with a mixed bag of banner icons for folks to use - but in truth, as much as I had been enjoying designing and re-designing my icon and banner thru the years, it must have confusing to anyone who cared, much less the "nick", no doubt now lost within the myriad incarnations of my blog-logo and icon LOL

But images aside, a name now holds a different "power" than it did, say, six years ago. When I started blogging (and mind you, I was pretty darn late into the game), nicks were in (a holdover from my forum-days too) and anonymity ruled. Soon, folks wised up. Or evolution took it by it's hand and soothed the savage beasts. Blogs started to spout, and soon, everyone had their true name online, to indicate a sense of responsibility, to have a sense of ownership.

In time, folks started to use their true names on the blogs, to represent a face to the opinions offered. Why would you want to listen to or dare trust a blogger without an identity (besides agreeing with him/her) - when instead you have a face and name to which you can refer / relate to? An suddenly, bloggers needed to be "personalities", and are treated as such amongst the crowd. Some put to use such responsibilities, some instead use it as an excuse to lay claim that only their opinions matter.

There is a vast difference between "in-celebration-of" and "opinion-bitching", and the difference is not longer between them being offered by an anonymous-person and someone who "dares" utilizes his/her name in this instance. So who do the general public choose to listen to? The Nick or The Name? Regardless of anyone's choice, folks generally disregard what the opinions mean and are for whom, in the first place. In this instance, the use of a "name" or "nick" becomes redundant. Scary notion, this.

And while I dare not ever claim to be a "personality" (the reality is so far from the www-truth, you would weep silent tears of unrequited adolescent-puppylurve), it is thru online donations that I have been able to go thru my rehab and acupuncture sessions now, post-Stroke - based on the work I have done on my blog (possibly) and the compassion of folk who truly cared - so I never knock the evolution, and am in fact utterly grateful for that fact!

Another happenstance I experienced while being online, is the absolute differing identities of artists and customizers, possibly also a holdover from days of IRC/Forums/etc - or perhaps a need to possess a moniker easier for folks to remember and relate to, other than a "name". (That's why you see a lot of time I ask about folks' nicks in my interview - I am really interested to know!). Or simply because they were used to sign off non-sanctioned grafitti art (right, use your full name right there, it'll be alright ~ lol).

Funnily enough, once "popularity" rears it's curious head, true names come out - because frankly, wouldn't you rather have your names in bright-lights, than a cursory nickname instead? But of course different folks have different perspectives on this (I grew up in a different context, remember?).

I remember the past not too long ago when "Simone Legno" was not mentioned alongside "tokidoki", or neither was "KAWS" synonymous with "Brian Donnelly" - but I guess the usage of either depends on how or what each item or product the artist wants to be associated with. In the end, when shit gets serious, your true name will come out, regardless it was your original intention or not, because the world now hunts for true names - ask Banksy how he feels about the bounty put on the reveal of his true identity! LOL

If it took a few years to remember your shortened nick, imagine how long it would be for folks to remember your full name (in relation to the nick). Hella confusing back-history to look back at too, innit? Oh but how colorful a history it had been lol

Nevertheless, these are cursory observations and personal experiences, and any further delving into it's true intentions would be as similar to me trying to describe using "TOYSREVIL" in lieu of my true name, isn't it? LOL

For sure anonymity holds it's allure still in this age, and it is not a thing of the past forgotten, as a variety of folks employ it still - to various means and for varied intentions, like on Twitter (yes, i have chosen to forget Friendster and MySpace lol). Funnily enough, Facebook promotes the usage of true names, so folks can connect (no, I do not actually want to connect with too much peeps from my past, thanks lol) while I have been able to operate under my nick all this while, so yes I AM thankful for anonymity - and as much as I cannot hide my past (although attempts have been made hahaha), I would rather spend time treasuring and nurturing my current and my future, with both my nick and true name mentioned in passing.

Thank you for reading :)


A said…
I remember back in the old days of using IRC and dial-up BBS, people would have some crazy nick names that were all cyberpunky and futuristic. I guess we were all children of the "Hackers" movie generation. I guess these days, so may people have weird nicks and handles that it doesn't make much of a difference with how widespread social networking is.

Good post though, I was thinking the same thing.
toysrevil said…
And while I remember fondly the Hackers movie (I watched it later in years lol) - I had actually absoultely totally missed out on the IRC-era! zero-chats for me! LOL

gawds i have bypassed a generation lol -thanks for your kind words tho :)
Anastasia said…
I'd watched Hackers at least 13 times. They'd introduced me to Orbital's Halcyon On and On.

And I've had my cybernick since the good old mIRC days. :P

Haute Cute said…
I really liked this post and I'm glad to see something more personal and "you" on here, it sets you aside from other toy/news bloggers in the best possible way. I actually have a similar problem, I never really decided whether plural Zombuki has a "s" on the end so it's both ways all over the place. I also registered my business name as "Zombukis Love You" which I now really hate, lol! Oh well, right? Time makes fools of us all!
toysrevil said…
Michele: "13" times is power. dedication you have! I have totally devoid of mIRC-history myself - i feel like such a failure hahahaha
toysrevil said…
Brigitte: "A single Zombuki" or "A boatload of Zombuki" sounds so swish singular than with an "s", IMHO lol -and there you have already created a word for yourself too - altho custom-forms or taxes will be a bitch to explain lol

And thanks for your kind words - i really appreciate it :))))