Choose Your Name Wisely

Choose Your Name Wisely

Today, I’m working on a project that is surprising in its complexity. Today, I’m moving to a new gmail email address. Note, I’m not even changing services. I’m just moving to a new address within gmail. Should be simple, right? No, actually it’s staggeringly hard if your are tech-centric and email driven.

Yes, before I even start I will acknowledge that this is very much a “first world problem“. I really shouldn’t be complaining and I should be giddy in my intense happiness over the way in which the internet makes my life better. Okay, I acknowledge and accept every bit of those arguments. Now, I still want to hash out the intricacy of this a bit. We continue…

For years, I’ve been using an address that was based on my former Related Recap podcast over at Comic Related, a comic interview show I did for 300+ episodes. Over the years that became the basis for my Google+ identity and I watched as YouTube and other services folded into that same account login. What started as a simple email address grew into an online identity that, as each year passed, became increasingly complex to untangle.

digitalidentity_0

Part of what I’m doing here at CharlieRambles.com is creating a more centralized identity for myself online. That is not an easy thing to do when you selected your account name back in an era when they were plentiful and the information silos weren’t so tied together. Now it feels like I need to make the change immediately (aka while I still can). I don’t want to spend the rest of my days tied to an email address that has its basis in a show I no longer host. It just gets confusing.

Tech is like this. You make simple choices now and as services grow and evolve (for those companies that last) these small choices can have impact in ways you never saw coming. The name you choose for your email address, the privacy you select in posting a photo on Facebook or allowing services like Twitter to explore your contact list can have far reaching ramifications as more and more data is stored and an economy solidifies around who holds the information to sell for potential advertising eyes.

I find myself changing email addresses now not just to get one I like, but to quell the feeling that each passing day I don’t moves this whole process one day closer to a time when I almost can’t alter it. For example, today I’ll begin the steps to kill my existing Google+ account and start considering what kind of history exists there I want to preserve. I’ll also begin coaxing friends on that service to follow me to my new G+ home, alert many people of my new email address, begin resetting an army of website email pointers, start researching ways to export YouTube playlists and consider what to do with all the videos I loaded there as far back as five years ago. It already almost feels like a cold restart of several aspects of my digital life.

Should it be this hard?

I would argue that it is if the companies providing you these services want to dissuade you from doing it and maintain the integrity of the data they’ve built on you. They know who this Related Recap Chuck Moore is! They know much less about this new Charlie Rambles person that just secured their services. If you look at it from this perspective it makes sense. That said, it still shouldn’t be this hard.

End lesson, choose your names wisely. You never know when that throw away digital joke or name with fifteen numbers after it you choose today may be the online persona you’re still explaining at 75.

——–

Update 2016!

There probably needs to be a follow-up blog past here but a lot happened to that CharlieRambles.com subdomain during a site and I ended up losing some content. Rather than rebuild it (despite all the reasons above), I decided to just fold everything back into the main CharlieTonic.com domain. Cheers!

2 Responsesto “Choose Your Name Wisely”

  1. Charlie says:

    Actually, after a bit of digging there are steps that allow you to migrate a lot of the data to a new account but it’s still quite the process. For those of you who follow me down this same road one day, bookmark this article from How-To Geek. It’s already helping me avoid recreating all the wheels…

    http://www.howtogeek.com/148036/how-to-migrate-your-google-account-to-a-new-one/

  2. Charlie says:

    And here is Lifehacker’s take on the same process (with a few additional services described here)…

    http://lifehacker.com/5602545/how-to-migrate-your-entire-google-account-to-a-new-one