What’s In a Username?

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Whether you’re setting up an online banking account or dipping your toes into a new social media site, you’re going to need a username. Your username will be part of the login process, and it will serve as an identifier. In the case of social media, your username will be out there for all the world to see, making it important to choose wisely.

What to Consider When Choosing a Username

In many cases, choosing your own name is the obvious option. For example, Facebook requires its users to use their real names, a controversial requirement. Facebook’s Help Center page, What names are allowed on Facebook, states the following:

“We require people to provide the name they use in real life; that way, you always know who you’re connecting with. This helps keep our community safe.”

In other cases, you may want to choose a descriptive username such as MusicNerd or CrazyCatLady. Going with a descriptive username allows for greater anonymity, and it allows you to show a bit of your personality.

When choosing a username other than your real name, consider the following:

.   Recall — Is it easy to remember and type? This is particularly helpful for social media sites such as Twitter where other users will need to refer to you by your username.

.   Professionalism and branding — If the account is associated with your business in any way, you’ll also want to consider professionalism and branding when selecting a username. If at all possible, once you come up with the perfect username, use the same one across all of your social sites.

.   Uniqueness — If your preferred username is taken, and multiple variations of it exist, you may want to keep looking. You don’t want to be CrazyCatLady1209, do you?

usernameTools for Creating Usernames

If you have a great idea for a username, check to see if that name is available on your preferred sites. If so, you’re set (assuming the username is professional, unique, and memorable). If not, try the following:

.   Use a username generator — Username generators exist specifically for helping people find fun usernames. We’ve created a free username generator tool that allows you to try random combinations of words or choose from list of categories such as Shakespeare, Space, Baseball, and even your favorite Hero or Villain. Add in your nickname or lucky number to personalize your username without giving out your true identity.

.   Hold a username contestSpinXO also lets you hold a username contest. This contest taps into the community for suggestions. You can take this idea and run with it among your own network. Simply ask your friends for suggestions. After all, they know you best.

Creating a memorable and descriptive username can help you to make a positive first (and lasting) impression on websites, social media sites, and forums. Choose wisely and create a persona that matches who you are.


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