Regarding Usernames

I like stories about how folks came up with their usernames!  Whether the username reflects on some period of a person’s life (the anime phase, lyrics from a band they liked the most) or simply was created to reflect their personality, the story of how it was chosen can often be quite interesting.

One of my friends recently asked what prompted me to choose my own username.  I’ve used the username “terminaltraces” for a few years now, but many friends of mine know me by one of the many usernames I had before it.  At the end of college, I wanted to consolidate my internet identity under one banner, and set out trying to think of a word – or phrase – that met the following criteria:

a, not taken on Twitter, and

b, somewhat encapsulated my personality.

Usernames can be, after all, a sort of second name – a way of expressing one’s personality across websites and services.  So, I made it a game: going through a variety of different word combinations before coming across terminaltraces as a viable option.  I finally settled on it because each word hinted towards something I did: “terminal” for my computer science work, and “traces” for my artwork.

(It also sounds nice.)

Coming up with a unique username nowadays is really hard!  But by sitting down with an idea of how you want to be perceived online (and perhaps with the help of thesaurus.com (link) ) you can come up with a name that best fits you and your work, if you’re looking for a username to represent your “brand,” so to speak.  I used the following questions to help guide me to a good username.

  • Do you want the username to be composed of words?  For gaming in particular, using one of the many fantasy name generators out there can be helpful. (link)
  • What are you focusing on online?  Are you a botany enthusiast, who also works on computers?  Try mixing some interesting words from each of the interests – ‘cyberanther’ is, as of October 30th, 2016, not taken on Twitter! (anther being the part of a flower that produces pollen, for those who are not botany enthusiasts!)
  • Play with spelling!  Bite and byte are two of my favorite for this – homonyms can be your friend!

However, in any case, don’t make it too long!  I will admit that my username is a bit on the long side – three or four syllables is great!