The scramble to secure our online identities: why I’ll be setting my alarm for 4:55am tomorrow morning to log on to Facebook

Facebook_username so as I start this post I have 13 hours, 25 mins and 38 seconds before I have to join a scramble in order to stake a claim on a big piece of my online identity.  at that time – 5.01 (am) tomorrow morning UK time – Facebook will allow users to select, on a first come first served basis, a username for their account.  so that instead of being http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?id=555836478&ref=name my Facebook web address could be http://www.facebook.com/chris.stephenson.

as a Facebook blog post explains: "Your new Facebook URL is like your personal destination, or home, on
the Web. People can enter a Facebook username as a search term on
Facebook or a popular search engine like Google, for example, which
will make it much easier for people to find friends with common names"

it may be easy to dismiss the move as a marketing stunt, or just another in a series of initiatives that have seen the book evolve its offering over the last few years.  but in a world where our online identities are becoming increasingly important, the username you get may be more important than you think.

in What Would Google Do?, Jeff Jarvis observes how one consequence of online identities is that names are becoming more unique.  indeed many parents are registering the url of their child's name at birth (and some have even decided on a name on the basis of the url being available). in a world where everyone can exist in the same space, diversity of identity counts.

so will I be setting my alarm in the morning to register?  yes I probably will.  there's quite a lot of Chris Stephenson's out there…  from the General Manager of Global Consumer Marketing, TV, Video & Music Business of Zune, to the wrestler ranked 334th by Pro-Wrestling Illustrated 500 in 1997.  I'm neither of those.  I'm me.  and it's important that my online identity reflects that.  looks like I will be setting that alarm – only 13 hours, 6 mins and 53 secs to go…

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