I think the beauty of the internet is that anyone can hide behind their monitor and for the most part say what they want without anyone knowing who they are. I would guess 99% of people do that by using screen names.
As most people have noticed I am 100% transparent everywhere I am; forums, email, instant messenger, blog comments, twitter, etc. I don’t hide behind screen names or pretend to be someone I am not. I think this is very important for business in general and also great for networking.
If I notice someone who is completely upfront about themselves and everything they do I am way more likely to want to work with them or even talk to them. It also helps when you use a picture of yourself everywhere you network online so when it comes to meeting in real life it’s that much easier to put a name to a face.
I’m terrible with names but from the people I know online who have their pictures on their avatars or wherever, I almost always will remember them solely because of that. It’s also nice going to conferences or events and you feel like you know the person or vise versa simply because of seeing their image and name everywhere they socialize online.
Just thinking off the top of my head, pretty much every successful person I know uses their picture everywhere they interact online.
Don’t be afraid to be transparent online – who cares if you’re young or whatever. I’m 22 and I look young as hell – just be confident with who you are.
Unless you have something to hide that is.