What’s in a Name?


I take a lot of (mostly fun) harassment for my social media name. Porchdragon.  Each time I am asked how to find me on Twitter or the ‘net, I sigh, wait a moment, and then tell them “Look up Porchdragon, one word, not two. And yes you heard right.” I guess I could change this, but it is a part of me.I did explain where the name came from in an earlier post,  but as I have become more active in social media and especially on the education front, I have had many people tell me a should change my name and Avatar.

This especially came to a head when I was named a Physicist to follow by the Huffington Post. The list came as a shock to me for many reasons, the least of which is I don’t hold a candle to most of the names on that list. But to my friends, family and followers the part that bothered them as they contacted me was that I was only only person on the list with no personal identifier. My avatar is a dragon as well as my name. If you clicked on Porchdragon, you got only more of the same.  My friends have joked, criticized, and questioned my decision to stay with the name and I only have a few lame (to them) reasons for keeping it.

My Porchdragon moniker means a lot to me for several reasons:

  • The tradition of having the word dragon associated with all that I have ever done on computers since I first touched one back in 1979.
  • The association with a great group of friends as we played one of the first web based games on the Porch in the the game Acrophobia. Our community was a model for all future gaming communities.
  • Everytime I hear the name I see the picture of the dragon teacher I use for my avatar. I fell in love with that pic when I first saw it and would love to get an original from the artist who did it,Eva Widermann. It shows to me the essence of a teacher and student relationship.The student and teacher are in the midst of a discussion, both are involved, neither is superior.
  • What people may also not know about me is that my real name Eugene Gordon is not my original name.  I was named after my grandfather Eugene West but through a series of divorces and marriages I was eventually adopted and renamed. I now carry a last name I have never wanted. If my grandfather had lived I would have changed my name back as I left home and graduated college. That did not happen. So I am not wedded to my name. In fact, I like not being associated with it.
  • The word dragon conjures up all sorts of things in people’s minds. I like that. I don’t care if you think dragons are stupid, or cute, or really cool – the moment you hear the name Porchdragon it sticks.  It is my brand. I chose it to be my brand with all the baggage a name like it can hold.

But most of all, I chose the name so that my avatar could have a life of its own.  I am not so wrapped up in a name that i need to see “GENE GORDON” in lights up on the billboard.  Porchdragon is not about Gene Gordon, Porchdragon is about the cause.  And the cause that Porchdragon cares about the most is education. Oh Gene cares also, but to get him, you have to invite him to come and speak in person.

And when I get going in person, I can make any dragon seem tame.

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One thought on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Frankly, why should you use any name other than the one you choose? For the same reason, I like going by the name of Invader Xan. I also have my reasons, and I’m similarly attached to it. Plus, maybe it’s a sign that I’ve been on the internet for a long time, but once upon a time, everyone on the internet used a pseudonym. It was just a part of internet culture, and I think it’s one which shouldn’t disappear.

    What’s more, there are lots of well known and respected scientists out there with pseudonyms. Sci Curious and Dr Isis to name two rather prominent ones. And Dr Skyskull, for that matter, who was also on the Huff Post list.

    In short, I say keep your pseudonym. It’s how some of us know you! 🙂

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