Years ago when social media started to become a “thing” I wasn’t sure about how out in the open I wanted to be. Sound familiar?

I went with the handle “MrCh0mp3rs” because in L33Tspeak it says “Mr. Chompers” which is my dog’s name. Going with that name, I could count on having that name when I signed up for any account or service, and people could count on that handle to be the same person — whether or not they actually knew who I actually was. It absolutely worked.

Funny thing is a few years ago, I started making lots of friends online in services like Pownce, and then Twitter. About two years ago, it became obvious that many of my friendships are being supported online. MrCh0mp3rs, while identifiable and unique, is really hard to type (especially on touchscreen smartphones). I’ve made a lot of friends and gained a lot of followers with a name that is very difficult to type, let alone remember to spell correctly.

This week I changed my handle on Twitter to @aaronesilvers. This is one of those instances where identity, user experience, user interface, search, branding and avatar all collide. There’s no question I’m easier to find, easier to access, easier to spell (and type).

I miss MrCh0mp3rs already, as it’s weird to see my actual name zooming by on Twitter, but the fact that more people are chatting me up is a good thing. It validates the choice.

Plus, I do have the actual Mr. Chompers nearby to keep me company.

Mr. Chompers