I Don’t Like Usernames

(because I’ve got three real ones I use endlessly)

My username on this site is my real name; my PSN is JamesPCasey (add me if you’d like); I’ve recently changed my Steam name to JamesPatrickCasey. Noticing a pattern here? As much as I don’t like plastering my full name over everything I do, I’ve found it preferable to using an online alias, which as led me to the conclusion that I kinda hate usernames.

For a long time, I was Thumby; on some sites, I still am, old accounts on Armor Games or Mousebreaker that are settling nicely into the dust of mid-teenage James with his addiction to online gaming. Sometimes I’ve warped my surname into a username, and sometimes I’ve stuck numbers onto the ends of ‘thumby’ or even in place of the ‘b’ in a godforsaken capitalised variant reading ‘THUM3Y’. And I’ve realised that this is all a bit shit.

I’m not a random non-word derived from an in-joke with an old friend of mine, and I’m certainly not a real name with a number tacked on the end. Using a single word to define an individual is bad enough, but if we’re going to buy into this system for practical necessity, I might as well use the few unsuitably meaningless words that are on my birth certificate and passport, rather than introduce new unsuitably meaningless words to the mixture, doubling the amount of pointless self-identificatory crap in the world for no reason.

There’s also a practical element here; if I’m playing with friends, I don’t want them to have to remember which random combination of numbers and leetspeak refers to me. It’s not difficult, but it provides an additional cognitive obstacle to identifying me than if I was using my real name alone.

I’m also, to put it pretentiously, becoming a bit of a brand online. I’m ‘James Patrick Casey’ on this site, and my writing blog, and I’ve asked to be credited as such in all the publications I write for, and am a few steps away from sticking my middle name on my uni essays like a proper wanker. For someone who’s so heavily and broadly involved in saying and doing things online, it helps if I can unite all of my words and actions under a single name, rather than be James on this blog, Thumby on that site, or CODSUCKZ101LOL on another.

I understand, however, that a lot of people, particularly younger or less self-confident people, will find comfort in using an alias; if they’re uncomfortable sharing personal details on the Internet, I’m not going to have a go at them for doing so. But I’m fairly comfortable with myself and my own failings, and have no problem with sharing bits of my life online for random strangers to read; you’re going to judge me, regardless of what I say or do online, so you might as well have an accurate name to apply your judgements to.

Altrnatively, I could have been lying to you all the time, and my real name is Alison Louise Lancaster, and I live in a sparsely-populated town outside of Portland, Oregon.

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9 thoughts on “I Don’t Like Usernames

  1. Like you, I usually use some form of my actual name for usernames (obviously not here as you can see). E.g. my twitter and instagram are @imcrispybacon because it’s a play on my name.

    I think nowadays it’s more the norm to use your real name instead of weird usernames that no one can actually read anymore. And, it means we can always find you.

    You’ll never be able to hide on the Internet again!

    C.x

    1. I’ve noticed a load of YouTubers changing their YouTube or Twitter usernames to their real names – for them I guess it’s to appear professional, but I think it reflects Internet culture becoming sincere and sophisticated enough for us to want to represent ourselves as people, rather than unpronounceable symbols. I’m kinda okay with not being able to hide – if I get more views on my sites I’ll take it!

      Also your Twitter name is fantastic.

      1. I think you’re right. The internet is a real place now and I think the days are gone where silly nicknames were the thing to do.
        I attempted to be anonymous on here but it kinda failed. I might even change my username. Your post has inspired me.

        Thank you! I thought so too šŸ™‚ years of being teased about my name has taught me to just accept it.

        C.x

        1. I’ve had a girl’s name for a surname for my whole life – there’s not as much pun potential as there is in your name but when you’re five that can be a serious issue.

          And the fact that you sign all you posts and comments with your initial made the anonymity thing hard – it’s like you’re teasing us with your real name!

          1. Haha that’s so true. Kids can be cruel!
            I know, but C.x doesn’t give too much away. It’s more the photos that do! Never mind šŸ™‚ it just makes me a little more wary about what I publish.
            C.x

            1. True, you can’t really brand yourself as a serious photographer without a real name.

              And I honestly thought Cx were your initials at first, and wondered what kind of surname starts with ‘x’ :’)

            2. I’m no serious photographer šŸ™‚ it just makes me happy and let’s me forget about all the stress in my life šŸ™‚

              Nooo, it’s kinda like when I end a text. I almost always put a ‘x’ at the end. So I just incorporated this into my blog šŸ™‚
              C.x

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