handles. they are the name you go by online. once the realm of hardcore 4chan nerds, they are now one of the biggest components of separating what you want business-types to find online versus what you want your friends to know about.
a lot of people choose to simply put their name and/or handle out there, to totally publicize it and let people know who they are. i was once one of those people, but when i found out that my boss was reading my personal blog…well, that drew me up right quick. now, granted, my boss created a borderline inappropriate blog for our office (blow-up) dinosaur, so it wasn’t the world’s biggest deal that he was reading me blogging my weekend escapades, but i found myself uncomfortable.
as much as i try not to embarass myself on my own time, i still felt like the time i spent with my friends, or contemplating my emotions, or thinking about what kind of beer i wanted to drink that night was just not appropriate information for the people i work with to have. and god forbid i take and post a photo of one of my friends in a compromising position, or reblog something that was a little explicit or racy…well, i didn’t want that reflecting poorly on my business persona, either. so i made a decision - no more using my real, full name on my blog. that meant taking it out of the url, going through and setting posts that contained my name to private, and just being a little more careful in general. basically, i switched all references to my name to my handle, which has all the hallmarks of a good one:
* it’s random. no cdunn12309, no cate_the_great04, no nothing like that. it’s totally unidentifiable as it relates to my name.
* it’s still me. people who know it, or people who i tell, understand why i use it.
* it’s easy to explain. for me, i wanted to be able to share my personal blog with my parents, so SeXyYYGUUURL999999 was probably out.
* not to mention, i wanted somehting easy to remember. something with a lot of numbers just didn’t make any sense for me.
bottom line, when you make the decision to separate out your personal from your professional online life, your handle is the first step past closing off obvious avenues of discovery. pick one that suits you, replace all instances of your name with it on all personal online media, and use it religiously henceforth.
ceiling cat hath spoken!