My name is Ballistic Whistle and I coach Roller Derby in London, UK. The Roller Derby community is a hugely diverse community worldwide, often with participants adopting aliases. These can adopted for numerous reasons. Some simply have daytime jobs whereby using their real name in roller derby is not an option – judges, doctors, etc. Of the 4000+ friends I have on Facebook, 99% of them are people I know only through roller derby. The remainder are my close friends and family with whom I am happy sharing my full life experience. Everyone in my life knows me now as Ballistic Whistle. This is my name, this is my identity. This is actually now my career. Facebook has become an incredibly useful tool for people in the Roller Derby community to connect with each other. When I logged into my account and was told that I must use my birth name, it worried me. I was worried what those 4000 friends would do with knowing my birth name. There are aspects of my life, of my childhood, that I would prefer not be widely available to everyone within the Roller Derby community.
This enforced change impacted my personal life by exposing it to everyone I knew (and even those I was not friends with) in the roller derby community. Just as importantly, it also impacted my career. At that time, people within the community were unable to find my account or even know who was posting what I was posting. My identity was essentially wiped and my ability to be found on Facebook was limited.