Online identities can help people grow into better versions of themselves. I have one pseudonymous friend, for example, who changes his username, bio, profile picture, and cover photo every few months. He tracks the evolution of his account in a Google doc. Sometimes, the changes he makes are an expression of an internal shift that’s already happened. Other times, they’re an aspirational aesthetic that he wants to move towards. His identity doc tells the story of his personal development through the characters he’s played on social media.
Cyberspace isn’t disembodied. The body is merely revealed and clothed in a different way, specific to the social setting … Even when the name of the cyberspace entity doesn’t correspond to one’s government name, the identity can still be perfectly real, with praise or slights to the online identity felt as deeply (if not more) as those towards one’s government identity.