For OKC, I chose my initials punctuated by underscores, and tended to prefer equally minimalistic, cryptic self-representations, as opposed to, say, song lyrics or anything with “Brooklyn” affixed to it.
It does, however, illuminate broader trends about how our online language use has changed over time.
“Females tend to include more personal attributes in their usernames,” Herring says.
I don’t attribute this to an alignment of stars, to the mercy of the web gods and goddesses, or even to OKC’s algorithm, which supposedly uses questions such as “What’s worse, book burning or flag burning? Instead, I chalk up my positive online dating experiences -- which, with the exception of a brazen date who rudely shushed fellow theatergoers (referred to amongst my friends henceforth as “the shusher”), has been without horror stories -- to my careful evaluation of a potential match’s username before arranging a date.
Puns and hyper-masculine references were mostly no-gos.
She conducted a small study to determine whether there are trends in username choice, and whether the way we choose usernames has changed since Internet’s nascent days.
She surveyed over 300 usernames on OKCupid, coding them for information relating to the following categories: gendered, real name, numbers, trying to be funny, geographical reference, hobby/interest, profession, sex/love, physical attributes, nonphysical attributes, sentential, “random” words, meaning unclear.
They were, to me, the pseudonym equivalent of a cheesy pickup line.
Much more appealing were earnest self-depictions or vague, consciously nonsensical noun mish-mashes.
I’ve swiped, I’ve messaged, I’ve boldly gone where no right-thinking relationship-seeker has gone before (to see a vampire movie on a first date), all in the name of finding love, or at least a cool guy to hang out with.
To this end I’ve been more successful, or perhaps luckier, than my friends.
"Most numbers seemed to have been included to differentiate the username from other similar usernames in the system," Herring said.