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Although 53 percent of usernames in Herring's survey included a number, very few of the numbers seemed to have personal meaning.
"Five of 71 men and six of 93 women included their birth year, and two men and two women included the current year, 2015," Herring said.
Based on these tags, she was able to draw a few conclusions about usernames, how men and women differ in choosing them, and how choosing usernames has changed since the advent of the Internet.
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They were, to me, the pseudonym equivalent of a cheesy pickup line.
Much more appealing were earnest self-depictions or vague, consciously nonsensical noun mish-mashes.
Fourteen percent of users surveyed by Herring included gender identifiers in their avatars.
Among men, "son," "mrman," and "hulk" were used; among women, "girl," "queen," "gal," "goddess," and "woman" were popular.
Compared with the IRC data, trends among OKCupid users were generally similar across genders.
In the 1999 survey, women were more likely to identify with their genders, and men were more likely to use humorous or random names or words to represent themselves.
This frees up users to get inventive; names now include "profession, interests, personal attributes and attitudes, and what the user is seeking or promising," according to Herring.
A whopping 42 percent of the usernames surveyed by Herring included users' real names, be it first names, last names, or initials.
She compared this with the number of characters in usernames from Internet Relay Chat logs she's saved from 1999 -- names on that site were an average of 6.6 characters.
This can of course be explained by the sheer number of users on OKCupid, but also the fact that, as opposed to IRC, the site is transparent, and allows users to see names, photos, ages, and other information by scrolling through a profile.
For OKC, I chose my initials punctuated by underscores, and tended to prefer equally minimalistic, cryptic self-representations, as opposed to, say, song lyrics or anything with “Brooklyn” affixed to it.