Just like your real life identity, your online identity is something which must be given significant consideration. Online user names identify you and coordinate your online life - they exist on the interwebs as a record of your activities, and will likely stick around long after you are bored visiting those sites. Think of these user names as your brand.
Greg Schwartz (of Louisville Free Public Library) did a great presentation at Internet Librarian 2008 on branding. Greg makes two very important points about your online identity:
- Keep in mind what it will look like to your next employer (who will likely Google your name prior to an interview).
- Realize that you do not own your online identity.
Greg also offers Six Tips on Managing Your Online Brand which are simple steps to aggregating your identity into a brand, and joining the online conversation.
Once you've selected a user name to represent your brand, check out Where is Your Username Registered - a site which aggregates over 60 social network and Web 2.0 sites and checks to see if your user name is available. I ran a search for my brand - jambina. (Click the thumbnail below to see a snippet.)
Most of the "taken" services are actually me, but I see some (like YouTube) which I did not register for (online branding fail on my part...)
So what is your brand?