There are many legitimate reasons why someone would want to use an alias in public, and you should be allowed to do that! Perhaps you’re a writer who uses a pen name, or a public figure who doesn’t want people to find your personal Facebook page, or are trying to hide from an abuser or stalker, or maybe you just go by a nickname. These are all fine and entirely understandable. What gets frustrating is when, for instance, you have someone who has kept one name in public spheres and uses another “officially,” but expects you to know this without them telling you. I mostly see this with people who have changed their name after getting married, continue to go by their original names on Facebook, email, and other areas, and then are frustrated when you address an invitation or a check to their maiden name.
Okay, so nothing is actually stopping you from doing this. You can do this. Go by 10 different names on 50 different platforms, whatever. But at this point we don’t use at-home cards, and we certainly don’t assume anything about someone’s name unless we’ve been told. So, if every correspondence is telling us your name is “Janet Smith”…we’re gonna go with that. And if it turns out you changed your name when you got married and you can’t cash a check unless it’s make out to “Janet White,” it’s on you to let everyone know about that.
I am perhaps speaking too much from experience, thinking back on sending out wedding invitations and figuring out who was named what. Most of my friends emailed me their preferred titles when they sent their addresses, but others I just went off what was on Facebook and other platforms. I mean, why wouldn’t I? Maybe I’m just self conscious and coming to terms with living in a world where I do not actually know my friends’ “real” names, and rely on a website to tell me what they are. Where asking someone if the name attached to their Gmail is accurate is a thing. Where you can know someone so well and intimately, well enough to invite them to your wedding, and not know this extremely basic thing about them. And maybe I can just remember that names don’t hold that much importance for everyone, and that knowing the person is more important than knowing their name.
You should still be clear with your name use though.
I am not a public figure, but I use a middle name instead of my last name on Facebook because I don’t want clients to find me. Social media hygiene! And so I have gotten wedding invites from my boyfriend’s friends addressed to “Ms. Robot Needs” instead of “Ms. Robot Love”, and the same situation has happened in the reverse for my boyfriend, who does the same thing, and his middle name is actually a last name. But who cares? I guess if I got a check that way it would be a hassle, but that seems like it’s on me.