Get in first and select an appropriate username

What do you think of the username tejaaa when you see it first on your screen? What thoughts come to your mind? What do you think of the person who holds that username? Some of the thoughts that might go through my mind on seeing such a name are: –

  • Unprofessional
  • Not sure if the person with such a name has a lot to offer
  • Does that even mean something? What’s the story behind that name? [I only think of this question if I have known the person with the username or seen his work]
And yet, I myself am stuck with the username tejaaa on few of the famous services
We all recognise the importance of a good/professional email account and when Gmail launched a lot of us were running fast to catch the “professional” username. I even had people offering me upto US $100 just to get my gmail username which is [which ofcourse I did not sell]. 

But till today I still do not have an appropriate username for a lot of other services I use such as Delicious, Facebook, etc, etc. I was not late in signing up for these services but I think I did not give enough importance of thinking about my username for these services and took the pride in keeping my known old username of tejaaa. When a new service starts a lot of time we don’t know and we don’t think how main stream the site or service will go and hence you do not put in a lot of though.

My story starts in mid 90’s when I first created my first email account on Hotmail. By then I was late to the party and all the possible good email combinations were taken out. And funny enough in rush and excitement I decided to settle for the name tejaaa in front of the email domain at that time. ‘Tej‘ came from first part of my name and ‘aaa‘ came from the fact that I was always aiming for excellence and thus wanting to aim for AAA’s all the time. Now I am a person who likes to have certain degree of structure and uniformity in all I do. So since then do reduce confusion for myself and to maintain uniformity of names across different services I always selected the username tejaaa when signing up for a service [don’t we all do that?]. And this went to the point that even when my firstname+lastname combination were available as username, I was just opting for tejaaa so my friends from other services will be able to search for me easily. This was not bothering me till I started reflecting on this and all of a sudden my own name starting irritating me a lot.

So much so that I updated my username to an appropriate name on LinkedIn and Twitter today [there was a fair bit of pain involved in getting Twitter Lists working again on 3rd party tools]. And then there are services such as Facebook and Delicious that will not give me that option at all [such is life]. So key lessons learned from this are: –

  1. Always select an appropriate and meaningful name, no matter what the service is [exceptions may apply such as for porn sites etc.]
  2. Get in first and get the name, you never know when you will use that service
  3. It’s painful to change your Twitter names from your business card once they are printed, so follow rule no. 1 & 2

Do you have such a story where you are stuck with your old username on Twitter or any other similar service and you regret now?

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