Friday, May 20, 2011

choose (your screen name) wisely

do you remember the first time you read this:

"enter a unique username and press continue to create your account"

what was failed to be mentioned in those instructions was the fact that this unique name may or may not be your internet identity from now until eternity. the internet has given us the chance to name ourselves, again.

when my friends and i were 17 years old, we started creating accounts for stuff like email, icq, and aol instant message. with these accounts we were able to keep in touch. college does that to high school friendships. but with the help of the internet we were able to easily keep in contact. little did we know, that every time we'd sign up for a new service or account that made keeping in contact even easier, the first unique username that would come to us is the last one we created. and the last one was created from the one before that,

unlike your birth name, screen names are self generated. a screen name sure tells a lot about how someone sees themselves. or, maybe it goes out of it's way to hide something about them. is lilho really a little ho? is penn15president really a president? is paradigmpimp really a pimp? or do they think that this is how people perceive them? or is this how they want to be perceived?

this reminds me of a hilarious story my brother once told me about his college roommate. 'benny' was his name (which i changed to write this post). one of benny's classes had an online forum where questions could be posted and answered virtually. benny decided on the screen name soakingwetgirl69 as his screen name. of course he then bragged about receiving ample help for all questions he posted in the forum. and you guessed it, mostly from guys.

but i digress.

i've observed a trend. in the 90's and 00's people lived double lives. online they were hippoprinsess, in real life they were yancy wang. there was a clear divide between the two, and no search result would tie the blog, im account, or friendster page from the hippoprinses to the user's real ms. wang -that is, unless she wanted the two to be associated together.

lately, these two worlds are coming together. people's usernames are becoming their birth names. pictures of a users actual face is replacing buddy icons of unicorns and soccer balls. the anonymity of the internet is fading away. people are less and less living two separate lives. people now have two aspects of the same life: online and offline aka 'real life'. though, i'm not sure how much longer people will refer to in-person as 'real life', considering the internet is very real.

but we have residue of these screen names lingering still. in fact, the whole reason i decided to write this post is because dannon81 was sick of his screen name. he felt as though it didn't represent him anymore the way it had initially represented him. i suggested a few alternatives, like .:r32dan, damnitdan81, and my personal favorite sanfranciscobikecomputercarclothesfeelingsdaniels. i guess i liked the ring to that last one when it's blurted out real fast.

where are screen names going to be in a few years? i don't know. will we have a universal login someday where we only have one screen name? facebook seems to be doing a pretty good job of creating the closest thing to that at the moment. maybe everyone will be known by their facebook login in the near future?

if that's the case, then yes, i'll be attending cole trickle's bachelor party later this year.


jonyangorg said...

If only someone had told me that I would have PP for ten years or so... This reminds me of a game Cole Trickle would want to play:

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