Is there some sort of unwritten rule in academia that you shouldn't mention your own name explicitly on presentation slides? I have seen this time and time again, if you cite work in the middle of the talk and it happens to be your own work, people abbreviate their names. For example, they only write their first name. 'Miller' is abbreviated to 'M.', but all other names are spelled out in full.
There is nothing wrong with mentioning your own name in full in citations on your own slides, and nobody would think anything of it if you did. However, there are a number of reasons why people do this.
- Replacing your own name with initials is a subtle way of emphasizing that it is your work that is being cited. You can think of it as a “humblebrag”.
- Since you are usually talking about your own work, you end up citing yourself a lot. Replacing your name with initials simply saves space, especially if you have a long name.
In my experience in pure mathematics, it seems to be somewhat of a norm not to write your full name when citing yourself and just use initials. I have seen this on many conference presentations or any other talks using slides.
When giving a blackboard talk it has the advantage of using less space on the board which typically is a scarce resource.
On the other hand, I have also seen the occasional talk where this "rule" was not followed and I do not think that this left a bad impression on anyone.
To the question, briefly: Abbreviating as described is common in math, but I can't imagine anyone reacting negatively or at all to variations in something so minute.
An alternative motive from a mathematician's perspective I don't see in the other answers or comments:
My surname is fairly common. So I use just an initial in my slides when referencing theorems I've worked on as a concise clarification that I am the person referred to. I'm not aware of anyone else sharing my surname in my field of specialization, but that's hardly a guarantee. This has nothing to do with encouraging memorizing my name, as that's in a header/footer on virtually every slide.
The bias is against self-aggrandizement, and that's what helped establish the norm Christian mentioned in their answer: If you cite yourself a few times, and you use your name, it is as though you bring people into a room where you show them many images of your name. Of course that's not the contents of the presentation, but there is at least some element of that. So, symbolically, you self-deprecate by limiting your self-mention to a single letter. Your full name on the first slide of the presentation is actually common, though (so people know who's giving the talk if they've forgotten or don't know what's on the schedule today); there's no bias - that I know of - against that.
In conference presentations, there is a bias against mentioning one's own name because the speaker knows their own name and doesn't realize their audience has forgotten who is speaking.
It's not an unwritten rule; it's a common mistake. If you are citing your own work, do write your own name correctly so people can find the reference if they want to.