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How do I get a username of choice?

How to get a username of choice

A majority of web-based services can only be used properly once you create an account. For instance, though you may be able to browse through online forums, you can only reply if you have a account. And for this one needs to register at the service, provide the required details including the login information which consist of a username and password.

A username, sometimes also known as a user ID, identifies your account and may also determine the web address of your profile page. Thus, your username is used in the email address (the part before the ‘@’ sign) or in the URL of profile page (for example, http://twitter.com/CHOSEN-USERNAME).

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Popular online services like email or social networking sites have millions upon millions of users because of which getting a username of choice – one that correctly “defines” you – becomes difficult. On this page, I shall offer some tips and advice on how to procure a memorable username for your online account.

Why is getting a username of choice important?

As mentioned above, the username is an integral part of your online identity be it an email address or a URL of your account. So it is very important to make sincere efforts to get a username of choice and not pick the first one that pops in your head. And this is especially true for businesses and professional organizations.

Please understand that you can get a username only if it’s available; i.e. not being used by another member. And since popular online services have millions of subscribers, it may be tough for new registrants to find a username that fits the bill.

Do not pick a suggested username!

In their hurry to have the account up and running, many people who can’t get their first few choices, simple pick up a username from one of the suggestions, if offered. Refer image below which is from the Gmail email service. These ‘suggested usernames’ are generated by programs and based on the information supplied by you – they lack in quality and, if I may say so, personality!

Get a username of choice and don't pick one of the suggestions!

How to get a username you want?

Here are a few tips to help beginners get a good username – one they would cherish for years to come. It would be great if you share some of your thoughts – use the form at the end of the page.

  • Your first aim is to choose a username based on your own name. Obviously, this is easy for people who have uncommon names. Others need to try their luck with different permutations and combinations of their names.
    Many times you can use the period, underscore or the hyphen in the username and these characters can help separate the first and last names. For instance, if joesmith is unavailable, check for joe-smith or joe.smith. Also including your middle name / initial in the username may be a good idea.
    The same logic applies for people making accounts for online businesses – a username of your company name is the best bet!
  • Is everything lost when you can’t get a user ID of your name? Of course not! Here is when you are required to use your brain cells. Don’t pick up one of the inane usernames suggested by the service. Rather think what ‘fits your personality‘ or ‘describes‘ you in some fashion. For example, if you are a professional athlete (or going to become one), wouldn’t ilovetorun or goforgold be nice usernames for your online identity?
    Similarly, the owners of a flower shop in a small town should first try to get their hands on [TOWNNAME]-florist (substitute that with the actual town name) because the residents will find it more personal and easier to recall. A username like USAflorist might not be appropriate for that small shop since it doesn’t serve the entire country.
  • Taking the same line of thought forward, make sure the username you choose lasts a long time. For instance, you may love Snow Patrol’s songs now; snowpatrolfan would be a really good ID, right? But don’t you think your music tastes will change in the next 3-4 years? Take my advice, they certainly will!
  • Unless they are a part of your company / business name, don’t use digits (numbers) in the username.
  • The really good usernames are those that people remember and somehow associate with you. I have come across some really catchy usernames. The first one that springs to my mind is stinkydave which was the user ID of one of my clients. No, his name wasn’t ‘Dave’ and he certainly wasn’t ‘stinky’… but the username is unforgettable. And there is microbekiller used in the email address of a dear friend who is a molecular biologist and specialises in antibiotics research.

Conclusion: No need to lose heart if you don’t get a username of your name. There would be plenty of other options available if you spend a little time on this and rack your brains.

You may also be interested in knowing how to make a password to prevent / deter hacker attacks on your online accounts.

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