I recently wrote about my need to change my last name in the UK for the purposes of publishing. While I am happy to be retaining my given name in the US and every other country where my books have been or are being translated (about a dozen at last count), it does create the occasional problem, as you might imagine.
A good example is my name as it relates to Twitter. Once a day, I use a search tool in order to determine if my name or the names of any of my books have been mentioned on Twitter within the past 24 hours. Quite often a reader has tweeted that he or she has begun reading one of my books or enjoyed the book, and I am able to respond with appreciation.
I’m also able to answer questions that the reader may have asked, offer to participate in book club talks remotely and begin the process of forming positive relationships with more and more readers.
But in addition to tweets about my books, a Twitter search of my name often yields additional results:
- Women who are especially angry at men named Matthew and prone to pejorative remarks
- Men named Matthew or men speaking to men named Matthew who are proposing unhealthy, dangerous and complete insane activities with their genitals
- Men named Matthew making lewd advances at women and women making lewd advances toward men named Matthew
It’s a base, grammatically challenged and vulgar side of Twitter that I don’t normally see in my feed and one that I wish I didn’t have to see on a regular basis.
But then again, I could have been named after my father, Leslie (Les) Dicks.
Or my Uncle Harry.
Or my other Uncle Harry.
I can’t imagine what a Twitter search on those names might yield.
Please don’t tell me.