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You can call me Hal.

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On names.
Bart: What about his name?

Lisa: His name doesn't matter. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Bart: Not if you called them stench blossoms.

Several people on my friends list have changed their LJ user names recently. It's always disconcerting for me. Unless it's someone I know really well, it's hard to remember what the old name was when I see the new name and so I have this moment of "Who the hell are you?".

I realise that people sometimes change their usernames because of privacy concerns. But people change for other reasons too, usually because they seem to like the new name better.

When someone I know changes their username, my perception of them changes a little too, not because of the change itself, but because of the new name. One person seems smarter now, with her new username. (Not that she wasn't scary-smart to begin with!) Or rather, it's more like there's a new, smarter person in the same place. I don't know why it is -- it's not like either of the names were related to knowledge in any way.

I suspect this wouldn't happen with people whom I've met in person or people whom I knew prior to LJ. But there's something about the username that affects the way I see the person. On LJ, if I only know you here, in a way, you are your username. So if that changes, you change too.

And it's a visual change. I don't hear usernames on my flist, I see them. Along with icons, that's often the only visual reference I have for someone. (I also get weirded out when more than one person uses the same icon. Because I get to associate it with one person and so it's a shock when I see the "face" and it's not who I was expecting.)

I'm curious as to why people change their usernames (aside from privacy). I've always used Halrloprillalar in fandom. (And I always have to check to see if I've spelt it correctly!) Hal is the nickname portion of it -- call me that if you meet me or if you're emailing. prillalar is the username portion, not just on LJ, but anywhere I need a user ID. It's also my domain name.

My name is my brand, which I have worked long (long!) and hard to build up. If I changed my LJ username, even if I kept using Halrloprillalar as my pseud, I would lose some benefits of any reputation or recognition I've gained on LJ. And I think I would feel like a different person, even to myself, in the fannish context.

I'm curious -- if you have changed your LJ username for reasons other than privacy, why did you do it? Are you happy that you did?

How do your perceptions of someone change when they change their username?

different mental image. when calichan became calicocat, Out went caliban, out went smut, in came fuzzy. Personally, I was not happy. but wtf.

Oh also I love your name, always have.

and I only have different usernames for the different portions of my identity, not to mislead.

To be honest, unless I've met them and know them they just become a totally different and brand new person.

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When I chose my psued, I made a decision to use something with a sci-fi flavour, but not tied to a particular fandom (I guess unless you want to count Ringworld as a fandom). I'm glad I did -- it meant that I didn't have to re-evaluate it as I moved around from fandom to fandom.

It's always interesting to hear how people choose their names! Naming oneself is a very powerful act.

I changed because I would have ages ago if the option had been available. Jintian and I shared the blog as "double_helix", also the name of our shared website, and when she became hesychasm it immediately became inappropriate, since it didn't describe me.

I only waited so long because I was having such a hard time deciding what new name to use. I didn't want to be totally new, but finding something that still linked up to my old name was difficult. To be honest, I harbor thoughts of eventually switching to "sophia_jirafe" just to harmonize the entities, but I know people would be totally lost at that point if they weren't already.

I have no idea how much rep/recognition I lost by the name changes, although having a username not immediately connected to my pen name was probably the first strike, back in 2001. Given the sprawled-out nature of LJ fandom these days, though, I just sort of cling to my little group of friends and try not to think about it. *g*

IIRC, I didn't find your username transition too traumatic. *g* Because the "helix" part was still there, I could remember that you'd made the change.

When I first started out online, on ICQ, I was 'Icefyre' and I'm so, SO glad that I changed it just before I started getting entrenched in fandom. I confused a lot of my ICQ buddies when I changed to Miko no da, but they all knew me in real life as well, so it was just a matter of remembering about the change when looking for me on their buddy list.

I picked 'Miko no da' because I was on an FY-specific IRC channel and it was the only thing I could think of that wasn't already taken. Same thing for chichiri_no_da. Then we started writing fanfic under those names, and got stuck with them.

I sometimes regret that I have such a fandom-specific name, but there's no way I could change it now. And I like 'Miko', in fact I've seriously considered changing my real name to that because everyone calls me that ANYWAY. Cnd has often expressed the wish that she could change hers, though, because hers is much more unwieldy than mine.

She might be able to get away with it, because she hasn't written anything for years, but it would still be difficult because she's got a large group of people online who know her by that name. I will never, EVER be able to change mine, unless I want to start facing accusations of plagiarism and stealing fics. *laughs*

I will never, EVER be able to change mine, unless I want to start facing accusations of plagiarism and stealing fics.

That never crossed my mind as a possible consequence! And I admit, I don't know what FY stands for.

Yeah, once you start writing, you're kind of stuck.

I understand exactly how you feel.
I had someone on my f-list for I don't know how long when one day I realized it was someone I knew years before... the username was just not the same ^^;
And the same for icons. I'm totally disturbed by it.

When I think of me, I guess I'm easy to spot with the non-pronouncable name if you don't know French and the B&W not even English icon XD

Also you're forever associated with Tezuka/Oishi to me because of the icon!

I did change journals mainly for privacy reasons, but I like the new one much better and might have done so anyway in spring (when my paid account time ran out). Yeah, reputation, recognition, those things suffered. I mean, at least I was getting metaquoted before, y'know?

But it was time for a change. When the thing that happened, uh, happened, I felt I was overdue for a break from who I'd been in high school. Time to move on. I was bitter at first -- how do you abandon four years in the same place? -- but I've made the adjustment. Yes, it'll take time to rebuild, but I can do it.

When people change their usernames, I just add one more name to their collection. Granted, I know a lot of people IRL with real names and nicknames out the arse, so it comes naturally. The icon thing, though, that does bother me. Totally agree with the face thing.

...goodness, that was more than tuppence, wasn't it? ;-)

Yeah, sometimes it's good to make a change. (And sometimes it would be fun to think up a really clever username and switch to it.) I hope everything goes well for you in your new "place". :)

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I had no idea *g*

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When people change their lj usernames I usually have just a moment of disorientation, but generally they post about it, so it's not bad. But when I had no internet access for six months, then came back to find a whole bunch of different people on my flist - that was freaky!

Usernames (and pseudonyms) certainly do have connotations, and when one or the other changes, my perception of that person changes as well. (Also, when I learn somebody's real name, it changes my perception slightly!) I'll give one example: when I did the third wave of the SSFF, I offered to beta someone, and she turned out to have a really excellent story - and a really stupid, IMHO, pseudonym. I gave her my beta comments, along with my opinion on her name, and she changed it. Later she admitted she was really happy that she did so!

In general, I tend to have negative impressions of names that incorporate character names or "words" like luv, gurl, and so on. I have positive impressions of names that are words, or that could be words, unless they're words that have negative connotations.

I'm still a little annoyed that there are other writers with the pseud 'Isis', and that I am stuck with 'isiscolo' as an lj name.

For me it's Japanese. If I see anything Japanese looking in a user name and I don't know the user to be a Japanese person, it irritates me. I especially hate it if it's one of those names that claims special status (like being a princess or a warrior or priest or whatever of someone). But then I do use my real name all over the place, so I'm probably on one end of the spectrum.

I also tend to make my own icons, and I tend to try to make them unusual so no one else will accidentally have the same one. That said, I do have a couple of horribly trite ones that must show up a billion times over. (Witness the banal torii icon.)

I get so confused when people change their names. I would never ever ever do it.

Mine was for privacy, but I struggled and struggled to figure out how to keep a connection with the old name that wasn't totally telegraphing the old name, so people wouldn't forget who I was, or freak out when they saw some weird new name. It was painful to give up the old name, terribly painful.

Then of course a year later I ended up resurrecting the old name because I could, and enough time had passed, although I still kept it locked down for privacy, but by then it was weird to have the old name back again and I'd adjusted to the new.

You know, I still think of you as your old id. "boniblithe" is like your address.

I can imagine how hard it would be to change names like that, when you don't want to.

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it always weirds me out when people refer to you as dorrie, partially because i do think of the 6 as a definite part of your name, but mostly because when i think "dorrie" i think zrffleblrrt.

and as for name changes on my own flist, several that i can think of off-hand still included the part of the name i thought of as the nickname in the new one. so tricky is still tricky and bunnie is still bunnie.

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Not too long ago I found out that an author who leaves frequent comments on one of the communities I run once went by another name - a name that has a reputation for drama. It was a little disconcerting because I had to put my mental images of the two together, and in the process I realized just how much I had judged her based on the reputation. (I never interacted with her under her old name.)

I don't change my usernames so much as I acquire new ones. I like to keep certain things, like fic, separate from my main online identity. It's odd, but I don't feel so self-conscious about releasing fic under another journal because I don't feel like that people are going to be juding *my* writing skill. I also know that if I look back in five years and cringe in embarrassment at something I've written, no one will know it was *me*.

That's an interesting way to separate things out! For me, I like to keep everything together, because it's all part of me -- the fic, the blather, the analysis, the happy, the sad.

And I've got all my old fic on my site, cringe-worthy ones and all. :) I just hope people notice the dates on them when they read.

I've changed my username, but more than that I've changed my physical journal at the same time -- twice.

The first time was because my RL took a complete left turn; I needed to change a number of things about the "face that I presented to the world" -- both in my personal/professional life, and on my LJ. So, I built a new LJ for myself, and stopped using the old one. And I intentionally left a lot of friends off "behind." dawn_came_dim represented a space for me to grow and evolve, to rise anew. To experience growing, safely.

And the second time was because I realised that the steps I had taken in moving from expetesso to dawn_came_dim weren't as black-and-white as I thought. I learned that I can't live my life in happy little compartments. And I needed to acknowledge that I'd tried something, that it didn't work, and that it was time to retrace my steps and start again. Which is when I pulled gamps_garret together.

I now recognize and articulate that my journal is a place, not a person. My journal name is gamps_garret -- because a garret is a physical place, the way that this journal is the place where I hang out and dream and play with friends. My name, the way I sign "open letter" entries, and introduce myself to Friends and friends, is Lissa.

As for icons. I use my default icon as something that expresses a mindset important to me at a given time. Right now, "prayer" is my default -- because the uncertainty and state of need/request that surrounds my thoughts of God and a faith community is strong in me now. Most recently before that it was clasped hands, because of the joy and strength I received from the people I love most. Otherwise, I like to keep a selection of pretty pictures that express my thoughts or opinions relevent to a particular post. What others do isn't important to me. I like to admire the beauty or creativity or politics of a user's picture, but if I'm not inspired to do so that doesn't upset me in any way.

Re: Here via Dorrie6

It's interesting because while to you gamps_garret is a place, to most people who encounter you on LJ, it will be a name. It will be you. But it sounds like it's a good place you've built for yourself.

And I'm always fascinated with how people view icons. Most of mine are all about the fannish pretty. When I venture to part of LJ outside fandom, I can't get over how many people use a picture of themselves as their icon. It makes a lot of sense, but it's so rarely done in fandom, it surprises me whenever I see it.

I've used this as a screename for what.. 9 years? Since I was 14 and *really* stupid, and it didn't occur to me at the time that I might *keep it*. I do remember telling people though, that if I was still 'wickedcherub' by the time I was 18, that they should slap me.

I'm 23 now, and no one's slapped me, and I positively *hate* my screenname.

But it's honestly too late now. I have sat down and brainstormed new names for *days* and even if I magically did find a username that was short enough, I couldn't be sure that it wasn't taken. And as much as I hate the word 'wickedcherub', I love the fact that if you Google it, all the results are *me*. It's my username everywhere and changing it would be the hugest hassle, and I'd probably find that I'd have to stick numbers onto my new screenname because it'd be taken.

And word to the recognition thing. I hardly participate in fandom of any sort anymore, and was never a big name of any sort, but I've been to many places in RL where it's come out that I'm *wickedcherub* and people get terribly excited. Funniest when I told a girl once, and she was so excited her glasses fell off.

But you know really, there should be a warning on the LiveJournal sign up page. "THE USERNAME YOU PICK WILL BE YOUR BRAND FOR LIFE. CHOOSE WISELY"

I'm sure, if some people knew that we would be using the LJ username as people's *names*? They'd pick better ones.

:laughs: it's so true - i was just recently thinking of changing mine to graymaulkin, because it's a usable name, and i wouldn't mind going by gray as a nickname. but i've been in fandom for 3 years and had this journal for 2 of them, and i think to change now would be strange. but then again, i could be wrong; i think it's mostly nostalgia that's kept me from buying that rename token.

Linked here from musesfool.

Personally, I don't think I'd ever change my username. I'm known just about everywhere as Thistlerose - it would be strange for me, never mind the people who've known me by this name for years.

I don't mind so much when people change their usernames. My perception of them doesn't change. Or hasn't so far, I should say. I just like a little warning, you know? I've had a couple of people on my flist change their usernames without making an announcement, and it's been...confusing.

Warning is definitely good! And reminders after the fact, when possible.