The online self – What is in a name?

Recently my friend’s Twitter account got hacked into. Whoever the hacker was immediately started following random people, people who my friend would never herself follow. So she had to change her password, but also asked “does this mean I have to change my name too? I really like my Twitter name. It goes with my blog..” This got me thinking: what is really in an online name?

With the rise of social media such as Facebook and Twitter and the popularity of blogs, I wonder how much thought people put into their e-names. Is it a well considered choice or just a name that stuck after being picked at random?

Personally I have had two Twitter names before settling for my current one (although I’m thinking about changing it again), created several blogs (on different hosting sites) and set up countless email accounts – just because I haven’t been able to decide on which way I wanted to go.

Some people will add the place they work, the industry or a particular interest in their names (especially on Twitter). This is a way to show the world what they are all about, whether it is working in media or saying that they care about all things ‘eco’. Others simply choose to keep their real names. Either way, pseudonym or not, it all comes back to one thing: creating one’s online brand.

To me it was important to go with a name that worked for both personal and professional networking – a name that wouldn’t come back to haunt me. So, across all the social media networks I belong to, I’ve chosen to use some kind of variation of my name.

What’s your brand?

If you were wondering, my friend decided to keep her Twitter name in the end – even if she doubted it for one evening – as she had already started to create her “online brand”.

Follow me on Twitter @eedvardsen for my daily observations and thoughts.

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