Usernames and IDs are interesting because everyone needs them yet they must all be different.
For example, my very first AOL screen name was GiRLpower9786. From that alone, you can tell a lot about me, can’t you? Seeing as how it was probably around 1997, and the Spice Girls were popular, you could assume I was into them. Also, that I was a girl. And maybe you could even pinpoint exactly just how old I was, seeing as how my entire birthday was a part of the screen name (September 7, 1986); I was nearly 11-years-old. Eek, I was hoping I’d be younger with that kind of name.
Anyway, not all my friends’ usernames were as blatantly obvious as mine was. Or were they? I had a friend whose screenname was literally her first initial followed by an abbreviation of her last name, with the last four digits of her room line telephone number (remember those?).
Boys typically had screennames reflecting their favorite musicians, cartoons, sports, or superheroes from what I remember. I guess I even fell into the “favorite musicians” category myself. Almost always followed by a birthday or a telephone number.
Things are a little bit different now. While we don’t all have screennames anymore, we certainly have Facebooks! And bank accounts! And online photo journals! So sometime, somewhere, we’ll need to create usernames of some sort. And you know what? I find that not much has changed in terms of how we choose them.
You have the people who use their basic (and personal) information like their first and/or last name, birthday and/or telephone number. The people who use their favorite sport, team, or band. But now we have the option for the third party — the laziest but probably smartest of them all — the computer-generated party. These people don’t like to think, and the select few who do, don’t like their personal information handed out on the Internet for all to see and be privy to.
My favorite people are the ones who have a million different e-mail addresses and Facebook accounts. Of course, I am one of these people. I’ve had three Facebook accounts so far. One more private than the last. And forget about e-mail addresses, because I have a million. A million I don’t remember the passwords to. Why do people like me exist in the Internet biosphere? Well, we’re the people who have big egos. The ones who can be the only Jane Doe in the world to own the address JaneDoe@whatever.com. We’re also the people who want but don’t want internet identities. Sometimes I want people to find me, sometimes I don’t. I’m wishy-washy, what can I say?
So, like with anything else, people choose what they want to portray to others. Then the rest of us are left to make our own assumptions about them based on preconceived notions. Welcome to the world.