This post at Hatley.Org got me thinking about my various net handles. I was going to leave comment over there, but then I realized I'd written a book and didn't to leave a novel in the comments section. So, here ya go...
The Net Handle for me has been a way to help me keep some aminimity while showing a little personality. My very first handle was hootie o'c - never capitalized. Why? I don't really know. It was just different. The name came from a RPG character I played with. Cyberpunk was the game and since the game involved pretending to surf the 'net and hack, I thought it was rather appropriate. Hootie O'Conner was his name. And - as I'm sure you can probably guess - yes, Hootie and the Blowfish were just hitting it big at the time I named the character.
I used hootie o'c for a while because, really, who the heck is gonna use that?? I really don't like using my name because there are so many of us. And I really hate the thought of being M*******Lemail@example.com. My email address was always hootieoc@whateverISPIwasusing.com.
That was 8 or so years ago back in college. The internet was just a fledgling and mostly text. This was the handle I used at the chatrooms I'd frequent. But, I grew more mature and hootie o'c just didn't fit the bill any more. After hootie, I was space dog,but that didn't fit or last very long.
I can't remember exactly when I came up with the next name. I'm not quite sure how it stuck, but I'll try to explain. I needed a new name for whatever reason, like I said hootie o'c didn't cut it anymore. I remember I was living in Bum Fuck, Louisiana at the very beginning of my career. The friends I did have lived over 30 minutes away. For people living in a small town, that's a long drive. Now, that I live in Concrete Central, 30 minutes is a drive to the grocery store. Anyway, I, basically, had no friends in town and my co-workers weren't the type of folks I wanted to hang with. Needless to say, I became lonely and depressed. The internet was a great tool for getting out, as strange as that statement looks.
While in this depressed state, I came up with Sawrowe - quite simply, a respelling of sorrow. That was a depressing time in my life and, true to form, the name fit. It's kind of dark and implies a little mystery, don't you think? And, it has stuck with me. But I'm am no longer sorrowful, and it doesn't quite fit anymore.
Funny, in all my years of using Sawrowe, I've never had to be firstname.lastname@example.org, and that's mainly why I have kept that handle. There has only been one time that someone confused me for someone else. From this AOL IM conversation, I gathered that there is a woman with the initals S.A.W out there who lives in a town called Rowe.
As I said before, Sawrowe doesn't quite fit anymore (though, I have been known to use the name for new RPG characters and other games). So, on chatboards that I've been around for while, it has evolved to 'Rowe. That's pretty hip (like me, right???) and is a change that fits without being a change at all. I was thinking the next evolution of this handle will be The 'Rowe - as in, "The 'Rowe doesn't like to eat broccoli," or, "damn, The 'Rowe came dance!"
Here, I go by ML. Much more personal, as this is a much more personal site, but still keeps my aninimity fairly safe. Those who know me know what it is. Those that don't can try and learn - and I urge you to 'cause it gets lonely still. Eventually, if I get friendly enough to trust you, you'd learn at least my first name. Learning the last name requires an incredible amount of trust.
ML is becoming very comfortable. I've started using it at places that don't know The 'Rowe. Interesting, the parallels between my handles and my life. It's like I'm becoming more and more comfortable with myself.