In the Internet world where anonymity continues to thrive, attempts to force people to disclose their true identities are met with strong disapproval. In 2011, when Google tried to force its YouTube users to connect their account to Google+ when they launched their social network, people were not happy.
Indeed, it was this driving force that got Google to reverse its policy on using usernames on Google+ and real names on YouTube. That leaves a big question for YouTube creators and would-be creators. Should you hide behind your username or reveal your real identity?
Should You Disclose Your Real Identity?
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It might seem contradictory to want to use YouTube but stay anonymous to viewers. It’s even more bizarre to have a very popular YouTube channel and yet remain faceless to your audience. Believe it or not, though, there are several top performing YouTube channels whose owners’ identities, to this day, remain largely a mystery to their loyal viewers.
Take this YouTube personality, for example, whose channel now goes by the name of Fun Toys Collector Disney Toys Review. The owner of the channel only shows her hands on her videos, but the channel draws massive views every day and the owner earns more than most CEOs.
Check out her most popular video ever, a simple unboxing of a Play-Doh toy, which has over 550 MILLION VIEWS!
If you aren’t looking for complete anonymity and are ready to go on camera and be the face of your channel – provided your real name is hidden from the public – then that works, too.
Take PewDiePie, the most successful YouTube creator with 56 million subscribers to date. He didn’t reveal his face in the beginning but his username soon became his brand. Thanks to his YouTube star status, his username is now synonymous with his real name.
Don’t be too ready to use your true identity, though. There are advantages and disadvantages to revealing your real name on the platform. Take a look at our list of Pros and Cons before you decide to disclose or hide your real self on YouTube.
Consider using your real name if you want to build a brand individually or as a company. With that in mind, below are some of the pros to using your real name on YouTube.
You appear professional
In business, your name is your brand, your guarantee, your character, and your personality. It’s the first thing you give, whether on cards or in speech, to make a connection. Introducing yourself is essential. And impactful.
It’s the same on YouTube and in fact, throughout the web. PinkieDixie, FluffyMarshmallow or RedWarrior may all sound cute and cool, but they do not exactly inspire confidence in your audience, especially if you’re trying to sell professional services.
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You will be seen as more trustworthy
YouTube does not verify the name you give on registration and you can give practically any name you want. Still, when you offer a name to hold onto people will know who they’re dealing with, and you tend to come across as more trustworthy.
People will trust you more because you aren’t hiding your identity.
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When people also comment with their real names, whether on YouTube or elsewhere on the Internet, the comments carry more weight and the commenter is trusted and believed more.
You will have a consistent online identity
It’s hard to be inconsistent when you’re using your one real name across all your social media sites. Presenting the online public with one professional name consolidates your online presence under that same name.
There’s one other real advantage to having a consistent identity, not just on YouTube but around the Internet, as well. People will be able to find you on the web easily. You want people to find you (and easily!), particularly if you are a brand.
You can build a personal brand
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Using your real name on YouTube can be helpful if you’re hoping to build an online profile. Even if it’s a company brand and not a personal brand you want to create, using your real name is one of the very first steps to having authority and credibility on the platform.
There’s another great way you can build authority on YouTube, and that’s by buying YouTube Views. Because YouTube attaches more value to videos with high Views, when you buy YouTube Views, your videos will rank higher and appear more often on the Suggested Video list.
There are certain risks associated with buying YouTube Views, but buying from reputable and experienced providers in the business lessens the risks considerably. Do your research and don’t get fooled by fly-by-night companies whose only concern is getting money from you.
If you aren’t interested in building a brand for yourself or your business, and privacy and security are on top of your list, then you should consider not using your real name on YouTube. Here are some things you might consider.
Your digital footprint lasts forever
Everything you do online will be connected to you – and forever. The Internet never forgets and does not make a distinction between a good or bad representation of you.
Anytime anyone wants to do a search of your name, everything you’ve ever written and your actions, which you or others have documented, will be there for everyone to see.
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You compromise privacy and security
Privacy and security are perhaps the most important concerns when it comes to revealing your real identity online. When you use your real name on YouTube, you expose your personal information to strangers who may use it illegally.
You may outgrow a pseudonym
You won’t always want a username like “YoungTrickster” or “Twittie Fruity,” which you liked very much when you were ten years younger, for example. Though it’s possible to change your user and channel names on YouTube, if you do change it, you’ll lose some or all of the branding you’re able to establish.
The good news is that you won’t lose existing Subscribers and Views when you do that. Remember, if you want to gain more Subscribers or Views, you can always buy YouTube Views and attract more Subscribers through the high number of Views that people will see on your videos.
Simply put, people tend to watch videos with more Views compared to videos with fewer Views. They also tend to subscribe more often to channels with a high following, just as they are more likely to want to eat in a restaurant with long lines than one that’s deserted.
This is a scientific fact and is often referred to as social proof. People will follow the behavior of other people and use that as a guide for how they are going to behave as well.
You are open to abuse
The Internet can be a cruel world. When you use your real name, you leave yourself open to abuse. People will attack you instead of your work. They will criticize you, as a person, rather than your opinion, content of your video, or the video itself.
Also, unless you have all your social media channels set on private, those you rubbed the wrong way may even exploit those channels to hurt or embarrass you more.
Reveal or Reveal Not?
Certainly, you can keep your identity private. If you aren’t going to build a personal brand on YouTube or you plan on having a channel with its niche content being the focus, you won’t need to disclose your real name.
Whatever you intend to make of your YouTube channel, it’s worth deciding beforehand if you’re going to reveal your identity or not. Or if you can’t wait you can just create your YouTube channel now, see where it takes you and decide later on.
Either way, knowing the advantages and disadvantages of disclosing who you really are will help you manage your YouTube presence better, today and always!
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