Selecting an Appropriate User Name
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When you meet others in person, their first impression is based on your appearance and body language; online, the first impression others have of you is conveyed by the name or handle you use. In a way, imagine yourself at a party where everyone is wearing a loose-fitting costume with a name tag; that’s what the online world is like. Nobody can see you, so they use the name you select for yourself as a way of making an initial judgment about what type of person you are. Perhaps it shouldn’t be this way, and it means that your user name is more important than you might think.
Suppose you’re a client looking for a graphic designer, so you post a project on an online freelancing site. The site sends you email notices each time you receive a bid, with the name of the bidder in the subject line. A few hours after your project is posted, you open your inbox to find two bids: one from “Grafix Incorporated” and the other from “Miss Kitty Kat”. Which of the two are you more likely to want to open?
‘Nuff said. It’s fine to have an interesting personality, and even to express it, but online freelancing is about business and you should act in a professional manner. This is not the place for cutesy nicknames or user IDs based on the name of your pet.
The only exception I could think of to this would be specialty project areas where being unusual is a selling point. For example, I could see a comic book artist or someone who writes copy for comedians using a light-hearted user name. But these are really uncommon, special cases.
User names must be unique across a site, so it’s possible that the name you want is already taken. If that’s the case, come up with an alternative that is free; don’t just take the existing name and add a number. User names like “Writer337” make you sound utterly uninteresting, like you’re an interchangeable drone in the Borg Collective.
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Last Site Update: January 30, 2012
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