User ID’s and the idea of “Identity Projection” on Social Networking sites is a very interesting concept. First off I feel to an extent people’s ID’s on the internet are a product of the time they are created. Over the years trends in ID’s tend to vary based on the popularity of different sites, as well as different fads of that time period.
In conclusion, internet IDs tend to say a lot about a person, who they are, and possibly who they want to be.
For example years ago MySpace was THE social networking site, it was the “new thing” that everyone wanted to be a part of. If you didn’t have a MySpace you weren’t “in” or you weren’t “cool” or it means you haven’t kept up with the fast moving pace of the new world of social networking. (Sound familiar? Name today’s sites that would have a similar concept of a must have, twitter, facebook, instagram, pintrest, vine)
Because these sites had such power in their popularity they are able to dictate how their users use them, and to an extent they can dictate how the users choose to identify themselves. First and foremost being their user ID. Like I mentioned this varies with each site. It depends on what that site allows you to choose for a name. Do you have to put your name? Do you have to create a unique screen name?
With these options then comes each members choice of how they want to project themselves on the internet. Do you simply choose your name? Do you make up a name? Do you add in numbers or extra letters, or adjectives? Ex. BlondChick1234 sound familiar? AIM anyone?
Whether we realize it or not, these screennames or user ID’s show the world an image of ourselves that we want to project. Usually we like to project the best image of ourselves because we know the world is watching, so what do screen names like Blondbabe123 say about someone? Or what does it say about us if we simply use our real name? Are we boring? Are we not scared for people to find us, and see the real us? Not a internet created depiction of us?
I think people choose these names based on their own self efficacy as well as the image they would like to project of themselves. With this said, I think something very unique to the internet is the ability for people to truly have multiple identities. Is this necessarily a bad thing? No, I don’t think so, however what happens when these identities start to overlap?
I think people choose different user ID’s based on what website they are on, what they will be using it for, and who will see it. I think that certain websites such as Twitter, or Tumblr, or any internet Forum allows a sense of anonymity if desired. Any one of us could create one of those accounts with a different name, and not be seen by our friends. What is the purpose of this? Well, I think doing so allows people to express themselves and their interests without fear of judgement from others. The internet allows communities to build out of similar interests, and the unique ability to create your own identity from scratch, even if it is not who you are in real life. Maybe it is someone you want to be, but can’t in the real world.