Jonathan Snook knows a fair bit about maintaining a personal brand online, and he has written up an informative post about the steps that all online workers should take in order to build a brand around themselves and their work.
One of the things he mentions is using your real name, if it is unique.
Use your real name, especially if unique
Because it’s your personal brand, it should be personal and there’s very little that’s more personal than your real name. When you meet people in person, you normally tell them your name. When you give people a business card, you normally have your name on it. When people do a search for your name, you want them to be able to find your name. Using a pseudonym can make it more difficult to be found.
If privacy is a concern, and I understand that it can be, especially for women, then I certainly I understand using a pseudonym. Be sure to be consistent and be professional — whether that’s on your site, your business cards, or any forums you may participate on.
I have one of the least unique first names in the world, and a strange, hard to remember last name, so I have always gone by pseudonyms online. The issue with those can be their representation of you in the future. The types of names that I stood behind as a username, and as an online alias were strange, like phoenixfireball.
I liked thinking of myself as a mythical creature or even just its weapon, but as I got older, I felt that this brand didn’t suit me anymore, nor did it really represent who I wanted to portray online.
There are many things you can do to make a mistake when building up your personal brand, and there are even more issues to avoid in maintaining it. Jonathan Snook has some wise advice. I suggest you check it out on his blog: Snook.ca.