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I began with Christian Rudder, OKCupid’s founder and the author of , a book that uses data from the dating site to draw conclusions about message language, message length, depressing discrepancies between male and female age preferences, and more.But he concluded that from a data standpoint, usernames are too unique to draw specific conclusions.
Among men, "son," "mrman," and "hulk" were used; among women, "girl," "queen," "gal," "goddess," and "woman" were popular.
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.
Because it draws on a smallish sample size, the study is neither comprehensive nor definitive.
"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.
Age, after all, is just a number -- a number that's listed prominently on OKC user pages, so displaying it in a username is a little redundant.
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.
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.
"My impression is that many of the real names on these platforms are used out of a lack of imagination, since real names aren’t required or expected," Herring said. "Several male names and one female name incorporated nonstandard orthography characteristic of casual Internet communication," Herring said.
They represented a dry humor than aligns with my own.
Admittedly, my personal history of username selection isn’t without blemishes.
She conducted a small study to determine whether there are trends in username choice, and whether the way we choose usernames has changed since Internet’s nascent days.