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Usernames are a vestigial organ

Online you can be anyone, so just be yourself

Existential crisis
Existential crisis

Dear Hipster:

I want to get Instagram on my phone, but I am not so good at naming things, and I can’t bring myself to install the app till I have a good username in mind. I don’t want to be just @_qr4bingotime_, or whatever. How do I pick something cool and unique to myself?

— Sarah

At first, I was, like, “It’s a little ironic asking someone how to be unique,” but then I was, like, “She asked how to pick, not what to pick,” so now I’m, like, “Teach a man to fish etc etc and so forth, as my grandma used to say.”

But really, it’s like this: the screenname, username, handle, or whatever you want to call it is basically social media’s collective appendix at this point, a vestigial organ from a more primitive era when MySpace and AIM dominated the social sphere. In the good old days, having a memorable username all but guaranteed fame and fortune, or at the very least maybe the cute girl at the coffee shop would friend you back. Now, every decent username is taken, half of them have gone idle, and it gets harder and harder every day to figure out whether or not @ppqr15 actually is the cute girl from the café or just a bot trying to sell you stiff meds. I know that when I had to pick my username, I...hey...wait just a second. I see what you did there. Sneaky, sneaky. Trying to get me to reveal my supersecret hipster IG account for all the world to stalk. Tsk, tsk.

The good news is that the social companies trend ever closer to just letting you be yourself. For now, just remember this as your sole guideline in trying to pick a clever username, “Will my friends know it’s me?” If so, then you’re A-Ok. This of course excludes internet dating services, where you still need a catchy username, but that’s another story.

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Existential crisis
Existential crisis

Dear Hipster:

I want to get Instagram on my phone, but I am not so good at naming things, and I can’t bring myself to install the app till I have a good username in mind. I don’t want to be just @_qr4bingotime_, or whatever. How do I pick something cool and unique to myself?

— Sarah

At first, I was, like, “It’s a little ironic asking someone how to be unique,” but then I was, like, “She asked how to pick, not what to pick,” so now I’m, like, “Teach a man to fish etc etc and so forth, as my grandma used to say.”

But really, it’s like this: the screenname, username, handle, or whatever you want to call it is basically social media’s collective appendix at this point, a vestigial organ from a more primitive era when MySpace and AIM dominated the social sphere. In the good old days, having a memorable username all but guaranteed fame and fortune, or at the very least maybe the cute girl at the coffee shop would friend you back. Now, every decent username is taken, half of them have gone idle, and it gets harder and harder every day to figure out whether or not @ppqr15 actually is the cute girl from the café or just a bot trying to sell you stiff meds. I know that when I had to pick my username, I...hey...wait just a second. I see what you did there. Sneaky, sneaky. Trying to get me to reveal my supersecret hipster IG account for all the world to stalk. Tsk, tsk.

The good news is that the social companies trend ever closer to just letting you be yourself. For now, just remember this as your sole guideline in trying to pick a clever username, “Will my friends know it’s me?” If so, then you’re A-Ok. This of course excludes internet dating services, where you still need a catchy username, but that’s another story.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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