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.
I was curious about whether my tendency to critique usernames more harshly than photos was universal, and decided to speak with a linguist about whether or not the language of our online dating avatars says something about who we are.
, a book that uses data from the dating site to draw conclusions about message language, message length, depressing discrepancies between male and female age preferences, and more.
But he concluded that from a data standpoint, usernames are too unique to draw specific conclusions.
They represented a dry humor than aligns with my own.
Admittedly, my personal history of username selection isn’t without blemishes.
"My impression is that many of the real names on these platforms are used out of a lack of imagination, since real names aren’t required or expected," Herring said. "Several male names and one female name incorporated nonstandard orthography characteristic of casual Internet communication," Herring said.
This includes subbing in "1"s for "i"s, but also riffs on the AOL chatroom trope of suffixing a username with "4u".
Age, after all, is just a number -- a number that's listed prominently on OKC user pages, so displaying it in a username is a little redundant.
"Most numbers seemed to have been included to differentiate the username from other similar usernames in the system," Herring said.
This frees up users to get inventive; names now include "profession, interests, personal attributes and attitudes, and what the user is seeking or promising," according to Herring.
A whopping 42 percent of the usernames surveyed by Herring included users' real names, be it first names, last names, or initials.
On my fourth or fifth date arranged through OKCupid I met my current boyfriend, who happens to be the most communicative, fun, and kind person I’ve met, online or off.