So I was a very early Internet user. Not so early as Tim Berners Lee, but early enough to see Internet access begin in India – those dialup modems were excruciating: they promised much but delivered little. I remember a service early enough in the Web 1.0 era that allowed people to register domains for free (yes, without paying a buck). These guys (I’ve forgotten the name) made money by framing the site contents and delivering flash and scroll ads up top. Needless to say, they quickly went out of business. But I remember I had a vishnugopal.com registered with them way back then.
Since I’ve been “alive” on the net for close to ten years now, I’ve left traces under many different identities. Very early on, it was uncheckedramblings, which was the name of a blog that I made at blogspot.com – vysnu.com evolved from those humble beginnings. Concurrently, my primary identity on the web was thehitchhiker and the necessary variants that had numerical prefixes, suffixes and substitutions to it. My Yahoo ID until a couple of years ago was thehitchhiker_123. I had another alias during this time created for shady purposes. I used q— to write unconventional stories. Then (in a fit of originality) I combined that ID with thehitchhiker to create QHitcH (often spelled all lowercase as qhitch). That is still my Skype ID.
So just to recap, until now I’ve had four identities on the web. Till recently, I maintained my portfolio site at vish.in, my blog at vysnu.com and my twitter account was named vishmaker.
While it’s nice to be creative, it’s also nice (and SEO sensible) to be consistent. And what better name to brand than your real name? So it’s vishnugopal everywhere from now on.
Inspiration: The excellent Securing Your Online Identity article, an extract below:
Ideally you should implement one consistent online name that can be used across many different platforms. It's best if your online name is the same as your offline name, but you may find it necessary to make them different for certain reasons. You may also decide to use a different name for your business presence and your personal communications. Generally the higher the consistency you can achieve the better.
Aside: It’s a sad fact of the web that none of those early avatars are visible now. It’d have been nice if HTTP behaved more like source control – web.archive.org didn’t consider any of my sites important enough to store.