If you have ever been a parent then you know what agonising times they were trying to decide on the name of your newborn child, unless of course you had to follow protocol and name the kid after his great grandfather three times removed.
How much time do you spend deciding on your name that will be your ID or handle on the internet? As with naming a child, the name you present yourself with is important. It will represent your online identity.
Of course the advantage of the internet is that you can change your identity to suit different purposes. You may wish to have a totally different name for when you are lurking on internet dating sites to when you are working your internet marketing business or when you are writing a serious blog.
Whatever you decide on, you need to work out what purpose your user ID has and what image you wish to portray. Think of this as your suit of clothing. If you are going to a business meeting your suit will be more formal and conservative. Finding a parter on a dating site can be quite different.
The internet is as serious a space in terms of appropriateness as the real world. In fact it is even more concentrated and focused. At least in a job interview you can sparkle with your new shoes, great hairstyle, warm smile and handshake and more to create a great first impression.
Online you have a few characters and a tiny picture to create an image and sometimes a resource box to provide a short bio. Not much to work with. So why take it lightly? Be careful what name you select and what image you upload as your avatar or photographic ID.
How do you determine what image you want to show? Now that is a very big question and one only you can answer. A word of advice is all one can offer here. Think conservative and then think even more conservative.
The reason for this bit of very cautious advice is that you never know how your online presence will develop and what you might wish to do in the future. If you are young you might just want to frolic and have fun. But in a year’s time you might want to establish a serious blog and work towards your first eBook.
Remember this one. Once you have posted your details online they no longer belong to you and the site where you have left your information may do what they like with it for as long as they want to.
Having said that, how safe is your naughty online dating name then? Would it be possible that your details could be pollinated across the internet without you having any control over where it gets to? Add to that the scary thought that the internet does not forget.
Have you ever trashed an important file by mistake? You would have used a computer service to retrieve it for you. The same applies on the internet. After all the internet runs off computers across the world. You have no idea where your details are being kept. Your service provider could be backing up your information on a computer in Kuala Lumpur for all you know.
Before entering the social media space and leaving your mark think carefully how you wish to make that mark. Some forethought will be most useful in times to come.
What’s the best names you have come across?