Saturday, October 17, 2020

Different Domains, Different Usernames

I don't want to even know what my usernames are

Once it dawned on me that all my passwords are 1) secure and 2) different and 3) unknown to me, I became obsessed with the idea that I can give my usernames the same treatment. With 1Password I don’t need to worry about any of that! I can make my Twitter username 9844B381-046B-4756-BCE3-0D2006C478E3 if I wanted! Just imagine! I don’t know why this is so compelling, but having non-matching usernames is the kind of pointlessly shady move that’s very on-brand for me.

Look, it’s not in my nature to be mysterious. But I can’t talk about it and I can’t talk about why.

— Rusty Ryan (Ocean’s 12)

My thinking is that it should be at least a little harder to piece together information about me online. Back when I was a “young professional,” (I still am, but I was one, too) and I was really into meetups, it seemed very important to have a consistent online identity. Otherwise, how are people going to find me, and offer me work and opportunities? I guess I really felt the pressure and the expectation that since I’m a developer I should be all over GitHub, and I should be blogging, and, I don’t know, Tweeting my opinions about Angular or whatever. Who’d hire me otherwise? Now it’s ten years later, and I’ve become grouchy and distrustful, and I don’t want any of that, and also I’m busy and I think my resume is probably fine, and I’m not looking for any “opportunities” but thank you.

My usernames on different websites don’t have to match. I don’t need to link all my identities together. It’s okay (in fact, good) that it’s hard to get to my Instagram profile from my GitHub profile. My FOMO is not for anything real.

I think I’d rather have the thin bit of extra privacy of disparate usernames. Anyone who has a reason to know who I am can know who I am, it’s totally fine. I don’t have anything to hide! I just want it to be a little more difficult to piece it all together. Privacy is privacy, you know?