Whether you twit, Facebook, or blog, maybe it’s time to talk about usernames. Anonymity is great – some of my best friends are anonymous usernames. But there comes a time when you start experiencing diminishing returns. A few weeks back, I told you how a text message led to a meeting with someone I didn’t recognize, as their number wasn’t in my addy book. And more than once, I’ve replied to a twit not entirely sure I knew who I was replying to.
I have a fairly small social network. It always amazes me when I click on a Facebook “friend’s” profile and realize I’m just one of this person’s thirteen bazillion “friends”. Insanity, no? I remember when I first joined Facebook and I only had a couple friends. There was something both sad and pathetic about it, so as the days went on, and old and new friends found me, I gladly accepted their invites. You see, now I have all these many friends and my social calendar is bubbling over with appointments…so if you want some of my time, take a number, punk.
I barely know half of these folks in my social network, or don’t know at all. Maybe more than half. And those I do know, well, it’s not like we “socialize”, either online or off, any more often now that we’re official “friends”. Oh sure, I now know what friend #27 had for breakfast, and the fact that on Tuesday at 9:37 p.m., friend number #12 was bored, but really. Really?
Of course, those who didn’t include a picture with their profile and chose a usename that sounds more like the truncated name of an endangered species , well, I’m not even sure who they are?
Most of my online personas are some iteration of my real name. Maybe that’s stupid on my part, leaving me open to overly selective employers and long lost friends who are better off that way, but mostly, it just feels right.
In a nutshell, maybe it’s time to select one very descriptive screen name, like HorrorFictionWriter3DFanBoy, that someone else isn’t likely to have taken, legally change your name to it, and then use it for all your dealings both online and off. Maybe then, all these modes of communication will coalesce into this big gooey glob of feel-goodness, and the friends you have online will become real friends indeed. Or, make things easier for me.