This morning I spotted an email from my local theatre that was too good not to share, as it appeared to be selling off a comedian.
As you do, when I tweeted about this I included the Twitter address (handle? ID? none of them work well) of the comedian in question, Ross Noble, and I noticed that, like a fair number of famousish people, (presumably the ones that aren't rich enough to buy the person who already has, in this case, @rossnoble) he has resorted to putting 'real' in front of his name, making him @realrossnoble.
There are plenty of others - David Mitchell (the comedian, not the novelist) is @RealDMitchell, for instance. I assume this has happened because someone else called Ross Noble, David Mitchell (still not the novelist) etc. has already snapped up the simple form, like my @brianclegg.
It's fine, obviously, to modify your name to be both memorable and still clearly like to your name - much better, certainly than @rossnoble99 or @nobleross. But I do wonder if stars of stage and screen are the best people to apply the word 'real' to themselves? It's not that I'm suggesting that they are fictional, but my suspicion is that they have a weaker grasp on reality than most of us (with the exception of politicians and royalty of course (I wonder who has @realqueen?)).
So perhaps celebrities should consider an alternative to the 'real' prefix. How about @unrealrossnoble or @famousrossnoble or just plain @rossnobleyouveheardof. That way, they wouldn't be making unnatural claims.