Sunday, April 10, 2011

The significance of usernames

In chapter 12 of Brian Solis' book Engage he describes the importance of maintaining a professional online persona. A lot of what he is discussing places emphasis on the minor details of your online persona, such as the usernames we assign ourselves. While much of this chapter is aimed toward business-associated online profiles, this logic can also be compared to our personal online persona's.

While reading I couldn't help but apply my own usernames to what he was describing. I pretty much stick to the username "biancaatx" for most social networking sites that require usernames. "Biancaatx" isn't creative. It's simple and obviously combines my name and where I live. It doesn't necessarily harm or help my online persona.

This reminded me of some of the awful usernames I have used in the past. I remember my very first AOL username, GlitzieGirl101 from when I was 10 or 11. Just seeing that on-screen makes me cringe with embarrassment. I reminds me of a screen name Lizzie McGuire might have had. From then on the usernames didn't get much better, only more embarrassing in fact. I transitioned to lilprep628, then sassygrl912. As I got older and inevitably more angsty (as most over-dramatic teenagers do) my usernames followed suit with screennames like shutupXbianca. Then when I was determined to seem mature, way before maturity ever took place, I had an online journal where I took on the username _my_incentive.

In recalling all the usernames I have possessed in the last 10 years I find it interesting that my generation has something like usernames to use as a place marker for certain times in our life. We can look back at old usernames and recall the type of people we used to be.

This realization really corresponds with what Brian Solis was saying in chapter 12. Usernames say a lot about the people behind them. They create the initial reaction to our online personas so it is important to really be aware of how you portray yourself through social media.

Something to consider.

1 comment:

  1. Who didn’t have an embarrassing user name 10 years ago for AIM? I remember mine, but they are, but I’m too ashamed to mention them here. I agree with you, user names do reflect who we are at certain points in our lives. When I think for all the “embarrassing” user names now- Mrs.Beieber12345 and such- we can all assume that it’s a young girl, and we can also assume that she’ll regret it when she gets older. My user names now aren’t very creative either (mine is just my first and last name) but that’s because I feel that I won’t be taken seriously if I use anything else.