I’m in the process of switching identities.
The first switch I made was from using my Ziff Davis email account to Gmail. But I chose poorly and created handles with either a “zdm” (Ziff Davis Media) or “zde” (Ziff Davis Enterprise). Thus, while I had created a work-only, private email address, it was still associated with my employer’s brand not my own.
And I repeated this error in creating my IM accounts too.
Fortunately, by the time Twitter and Facebook became on-the-job requirements, I wised up. I went from “cam…zde” to “cam…onthejob”. Or I used the closest thing to my name that was still available when I signed up.
Following up on my Feb. column on managing identity I’ve now decided that it’s time to unify, as much as possible, my online, professional identity. Here’s my project outline:
1. Find a username that is unique to me without being impossibly convoluted, and preferably with no numbers. Unlike my fellow labbie, Jason Brooks, Cameron Sturdevant has a better chance at uniqueness. Like Jason, however, I have a very hard time claiming “Cameron Sturdevant” or close variations.
2. Reduce my work-only, private email addresses to one. I started off with Yahoo mail, but I find that Gmail works better for me (cleaner interface, no need to buy premium service to get POP access, etc.)
3. Separate work from home. The one thing I’ve done right in developing an online identity is building a high wall between my professional and personal persona. Aside from the fact that a Facebook profile for personal use is a non-stop HR violation, most of what I do in my personal life is irrelevant to what I do at work. I love telling my personal friends about the best way to cook a pork shoulder in my new pressure cooker. I’ve unfollowed people on my professional Twitter account for lesser offenses.
4. Create a personal identity desk reference. I have a Google doc where I track my many and sundry accounts. When I sign up for a conference or trade show, I make a note of the username and URL. I have a low value password that I use across all these types of accounts. Yeah, I could use a password management service. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Okay, now I need to go switch over my AIM account.