When we’re born into this world, we don’t have a say in what our parents name us.
We’re given a moniker for life that tickles their fancy. It’s assigned without our say and – unless we’re among the rare few who feels compelled to officially change their name – we go through school, life and romance with that name.
But when it comes to the digital world, we can choose almost any name. And that choice can be exciting, scary, vexing – and very easy or very difficult.
I don’t know if anyone has conducted research into Twitter names, but there appear to be some broad categories for our choices:
- Use your real life name
- Find your ‘real life name’ has been taken and use something as close to it as possible. For example @mjprak or @itsmichelleprak
- Use the good old underscore for example @michelle_prak or use a meaningful number with your name @michelleprak1970
- Weave in a passion or your profession, ie @bieberforever @retailgal @bookstoreboy
- Come up with something completely random and silly (often under pressure when quickly opening a Twitter account and with no time to ponder the long term ramifications) like @bonzaibanana @itsgettinghotinhere
- There are some who weave the term ‘tweet’ or ‘Twitter’ in their handle and that makes me laugh. It’s absolutely redundant. Why call yourself @PrakTweets when it’s bloody evident that it’s Prak tweets?
If you want your Twitter account to be anonymous, that will certainly flavour the context of your name and you can be very witty and even open a parody account, if you have the time and energy to sustain it.
But here’s a tip: if you ever, ever intend on using Twitter to meet people in real life, do give your Twitter handle some second thought. Would you be happy approaching someone at a conference or Twitter social event and saying ‘Hi, I’m @juicygoldfish’ or ‘Hello, I follow you, I’m @rancidmophead’. (Some of you may relish that as a bit of fun. Myself, I think that’s some awkwardness I don’t need. I’m sure I’d soon tire of explaining where the name came from).
It’s like having an embarrassing hotmail name that you finding yourself giving to a potential employer. “Yes, please email me the job and person spec. My email is RandyDenimGal69”.
For me, choosing ‘Prakky’ was easy because it borrows my real-world surname and it’s what my high school best friends called me. How did you choose your online name?