Changing online nicknames & does it matter (Using 'alt' [alternative] nicks)

What's in a name? Alt-Nicks and changing online identities

Didn't someone once say something along the lines of '... what's in a name? Is not a Rose a Rose by any other? ...' Of course that's a miss-quote of good ol' Shakin'Spear! (had a number of hits in the UK in the 80's don't cha' know).

Anyhow, recently a name change was in order, to something a little more appropriate after having a bit of an identity crisis - 'PussyKat' wasn't exactly appropriate given how completely kick-butt a player one happened to be (*cough*at time of writing*cough*). Perhaps 'kenBOO..!!' (meaning 'scary knowing' - 'ken' and 'boo')? A little less gender specific (which seriously rubs some people up the wrong way) and more suited to the authors personality? Or not?

Choosing a nick name for gaming can be serious business; are their any books on the subject, like those to help expectant parents choose a baby name? And does the name chosen mean anything? reveal something about a hidden (or exposed) personality trait? Or does it reveal more about a person or the people we interact with online?

Cert. 18 ^

The general consensus (to use a misappropriated phrase borrowed by Al Gore in his bent to promote global cooling anthropogenic global warming climate wierding climate change) was that yes, names do reveal something, if at the very least superficially. It's certainly conceivable players would think a male character playing with an ostensibly feminine themed nick name a little weird. But that was the point. An experiment to see just how players responded to what they tended to perceive as a 'female' name; the assumption being the owner of said name being similarly oriented.

Interestingly, whilst all recognised the feminine aspect of the name itself, the way that was expressed tended to reveal just how mature the person was; the more mature, the less likely there were to refer to "PussyKat" using the the female invective, instead preferring "kat", "pk" or "puss" (although this latter observation might be considered stepping close to the line by some). The more adolescent, well, the aforementioned invective was used with almost universal gay abandon!. Hardly surprising really but interesting non the less.

Baby names do matter! ^

It turns out then that gaming nick names do matter because, just like that baby without a name, whose parents understand that throughout its life relationships will be kept or lost predicated upon their name, so too are relationships online and in gaming communities, especially so because the individual behind the name can't be seen so they become known by their banter, antics and results in game-play - notwithstanding names like "Connection Interrupted...", "User Terminated...", "Slot Taken" or some other cunning play on technology.

Reality check ^

But as mentioned above (and in another article), some individual do take names wholly too seriously, unable it seems, to separate the game being played from the person behind the controls; being beaten by a female character does not necessarily mean the player is also female. And why does that matter any way?

Anywho, the name is changed and has remained as it is for some time now, without issue.