December 22, 2017
Over the years, I’ve been known as LovesLifeDC, SassyScotchLover, SmartNSassy, and SassClassWhisky. No, these aren’t nicknames I got from friends in college or at my first job. These were all of my usernames on the dating site OkCupid.
Am I sharing this to show you how to craft a successful username? I wish that were the case. Sadly, I’m sharing this because, as of the start of 2018 (and for some people, today), OkCupid will be removing usernames for good. So, if you’re a MusicLoverFromAK, you’ll just be known as Trisha now. Or, if you’re a YogaPatsFan, then you’ll be called Steve from now on. And, of course, if you’re Jenetics, as my cousin was to share her name as a pun on what she does for a living, she’ll just be Jen now, in a sea of a million other Jens. As our beloved President (I sure hope sarcasm comes out in writing) would say in a late-night tweet—SAD!
Now, Tinder and all of the other dating apps have always just used first names, generally pulled from one’s Facebook account. And it works for the apps. But, OkCupid (aka OkC) was different. OkCupid has a much longer profile, a la Match.com or eHarmony, where you can learn more about someone besides just swiping right on a picture (although OkC did introduce a swiping function on its app in order to compete).
Here’s why I contend that this is a change not for the better but for the worse:
With your real name, it’s much easier for someone to look you up on social media. Just put together a first name and a job, and it’s a pretty easy sleuthing mission. I believe names should be shared if and when someone chooses to share them.
Someone’s username is a testament to his or her desire to be creative. I would be much more inclined to write to a MusicLoverFromAK (since I know this person is into music and is from Alaska—pretty cool) than I would a Sam or a Pat. A unique and clever username shows that the user has taken the time to think it through and is perhaps more invested in the dating process because of that.
While OkC got rid of its function that allows someone to look up a profile by the person’s username, you were still able to back into it by using a link like this:
Now, with so many Bobs and Joes and Erikas (oh my!), how will a user be able to look someone up? When I work with my clients, I need to be able to see their profiles in order to critique them. This makes is much more difficult.
Addendum: I just checked, and even after you change your name to your first name, the link (as I shared above) still uses the person’s original username. For example, even if I changed my name to Erika, my link would be https://www.okcupid.com/profile/iamawesome. (Don’t click on this link since I made it up… although, I do, of course, like to think I’m awesome!)
Even with this new rule, all users are prompted to enter their first names themselves. What makes OkC think that people will be honest about their name? I have an account I use to search for clients’ potential matches (an incognito account). I just named myself Jerry. Is my name Jerry? Nope. It’s not Ben, either.
I’m not sure why OkC would penalize all of the people with smart and fun usernames for the few who game the system to write something inappropriate. And, if someone is inclined to write something inappropriate, then that’s information that would be useful to know up front. As in, if someone wrote “d*ick” or “sex” in his username, I’d steer clear of that profile.
I’ll finish with my rant here. OkC, I still love you, but this decision is one ForTheBirds. Oh wait, I can’t use that as my name. Okay, this one is not for Erika.