You. Who are you? Do you know how you are perceived by others? Do I know you? Do other people know you?
A year or so ago I was reading something about making good impressions with resumes. While it was aimed at fresh college graduates it did have some good pointers for anyone who wants to be a professional. The one point that that still sticks in my mind was their comments about email addresses. They suggested getting a email address based on your name rather then firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi. I’m the marketing Director for a Fortune 500 company. IM me at “shavedkitty2008” – Ryan Brunsvold
While that is an extreme example of this I still know quite a few professionals that use screen names and email addresses that aren’t of the professional nature you want to be known for. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve had my share of strange screen names and email addresses in the past, but I realized that if I want to be taken seriously then I need to act accordingly. Nearly all my screen names/email/accounts are some variation on Andrew Jaswa. This not only makes it easy for me to remember but it also helps others know who I am. By making my account names some variation on my real name I’ve opened the door for more communication, both good and bad. People now know that idiot posting is me and not some teen age boy with nothing better to do.
Numbers in your user name might be an easy way to get that “loverboy” account name, but it doesn’t look professional. I blame AOL for this. If you have a common name, such as “John Smith”, I would try everything possible to get something that is close to it. User you middle name if you have to.
If you use some fleeting interest you had at the time in your screen name, you have to realize that you might not like that thing later and change your screen name. Who likes changing established screen names? Not I.
If you are a public figure or have professional aspirations then you need to have a good public face and the start of that is to have a good name you are known by online. Make your online identity universal and always relevant to you. But please, please don’t use “shavedkitty2008” (Ryan already has dibs on it).