It’s All In The Pseudonym
Back in high school, I was heavily influenced by my older brother, most notably my taste in music. At the time, it was all metal. Pantera, Slayer, Metallica, Sepultura, Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under, as well as many others. In fact, we had a band together, playing brutal death metal at talent shows at Center Line High.
He drove a black 1987 Buick Grand National with Pantera snake decals on the side windows and a Slayer logo on the back and used to pick me up after school so I didn’t have to take the bus. I felt so cool at the time and this is when both he and I began to be called “Slayer”. He drove the Slayer-mobile, people would call us “Slayer Jenkins”, or just “Slayer”. Over the years it continued to stick with me.
Back then I was usually downloading bootleg and rare MP3s from the IRC channel #mp3metal and #metalmp3 out on EFNet. The mecca of Slayer media was a person with the handle MRSLAYER. When they eventually changed their handle to SlayerGod, I decided that would use the Mr. Slayer moniker as my online identity, since the domain name was available and many accounts were still available at the time.
Unfortunately, as I grow older and try to use my online history for career and personal development, it becomes more and more clear that the Mr. Slayer alias has lost its luster. It doesn’t help that the band that I’ve attached myself to for so long has had recent troubles with the loss of Jeff Hanneman, the rotating drummer position, and their age. I feel as though it is time to try rebrand myself, transition myself from a young, passionate rebel into a responsible, battle-tested professional. It’s not easy.
My top priority in the reconstruction of my online identity is establishing a reasonable domain name that can be used for email communication and consolidating all of my content. I need a single homepage that can be provided to customers, friends, colleagues, family members, and followers. This isn’t easy, since many (if not all) of the dictionary terms have been purchased as dot-com domain names. The Internet has been chugging along for quite a while now, so I will likely have to invent a unique name or phrase if I hope to purchase a 6- to 11-character domain name.
Because I use my website for multiple purposes, as a coder’s blog, a personal journal, and my many web-based projects, I might consider getting a dot-net domain, or even one of the other recently unveiled generic top-level domains, but I don’t really care for many of them.
Third Party Services
Much of what we do online is through one or many 3rd party services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and LinkedIn. One would hope that, if the domain name is available, then many of the 3rd party services will not have a user account associated with that name. However, even with the Mr. Slayer name, I found myself often having to come up with workarounds for services such as Google (TheTrueMrSlayer) and Xbox Live (MrSlayerJenkins) or PlayStation Network (MrSlayer213).
Ideally, the new personal brand will be unique enough that most, if not all, services will have the account name available. If not, I would probably reconsider my choice or quickly come up with a standard alternative, though that’s much less appealing, in my opinion.
Personal & Professional
As the Internet becomes more and more engrained in our everyday lives, it’s becoming less important to maintain an online professional identity that is separate from our personal identity. There is definitely a need for some level of anonymity and privacy, but for me at least, I want my online presence to be an extension of my physical presence. I want people to understand who I am, what I do, and what I care about if I want them to invest in my life or my career.
The name Mr. Slayer is definitely identifiable, but I feel as though it lacks a sense of professionalism. Take this, for example: I go out to bar with some friends and strike up a conversation with an attractive woman in a similar field of expertise. Handing over a card with “Mr. Slayer” on it is not likely going to comfort her, unless she’s a hardcore Slayer fan. Needless to say, I could just give a card with my number on it or input it directly into my phone, but giving her immediate access to my curated content may just be the advantage I need over other people either in the field, or interested as a potential partner.
So, naturally, I would consider using my real name, Jeffrey Jenkins, or a variation of it. Unfortunately, the name Jeff Jenkins is fairly common. According to US Census Bureau data, and howmanyofme.com, there are at least 1,000 people in the United States alone with the name Jeff/Jeffrey Jenkins. Add to that the JeffERy and Geoff-rey/ery spellings and it is unlikely I will ever find an account at an existing service with the username, JeffJenkins, available. On top of this, the domain name JeffJenkins.com is unavailable. Unfortunately for me, my real name is not going to suffice.
An ideal name would be short in length (I’d say less than 13 characters), few in syllables (4-5 max), and acceptable nearly everywhere, meaning alphanumeric characters and the hyphen. Domain names can’t have special characters (like ampersand, dollar sign, exclamation point), and many services seem to force usernames to start with an alphabetical character. Even though internationalized domain names offer a variety of characters (accented and non-Latin), it is still so uncommon in my homeland that I wouldn’t expect anyone to be able to use them properly, unless the non-internationalized, easily-typable domain name is available for redirection purposes.
Knowing what I’m targeting is going to help me conceive a new online handle that can be used virtually everywhere, but it still has to exude my aura. I’ll begin by brainstorming words and phrases that have some significance or relation to that and looking into their availability.