Mine isn’t. Let’s get that straight right from the top. But yours might be, and let’s find out.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about names, having subjected myself to such a terrible name. If I could do it all over, I’d consider the following characteristics when selecting a new name.
No matter how beautiful a name might be, if it’s too long it is difficult for others to type. Names should be no more than ten characters, and preferably less.
- Good Examples: Amy Stork, Moto Gaffer
- Not So Good Examples: Hibbabalibba McMahon, morenoandaluz Hax
Some names are simply difficult to spell, regardless of length. I’m not sure why, but I suspect it must have something to do with the similarity of the name to common words or whether the spelling matches the pronunciation.
- Good Examples: Carm Benigni, Jimbo Goalpost
- Not So Good Examples: Mtmike Cao, vincenzobrescia79 May and those two lengthy ones above
You can spell it, you can type it. But can you say it? Is the correct pronunciation obvious, or are there multiple possible pronunciations?
- Good Examples: Chase Bade, Farley Runo, Vint Falken
- Not So Good Examples: Eibhleann McMillan, Arminasx (sigh)
Will you remember the avatar’s name tomorrow? Was it something that caught your attention, or was it a generic name that is easily lost in your memory?
- Good Examples: Imnotgoing Sideways, Washu Zebrastripe, Ancient Roar
- Not So Good Examples: Buddy Aaron, Doc Baker
Look, if you have digits hanging from the tail-end of your name you obviously just moved over from AOL, right? A definite no-no.
- Good Examples: too numerous to mention
- Not So Good Example: Burdin7658 Daniels, m4D McMillan
Unfortunately you cannot adjust the case of your name after its registered. Some have capitalized the first letter, some have not. Some used mixed case, and a few use caps ALL THE WAY THROUGH. I prefer first-letter capitalization or mixed case. However, I must say one friend who uses an ALL CAPS name is very easy to locate in busy chat logs.
- Good Examples: , LordRingsMottoEatMore Food (but fails on a few other counts)
- Not So Good Examples: DOLLY Descenna, mAlice Mauvaise, MANDALANDA Allen
The rhythm is the audible fit of the first name and the last name. One theory of naming says you should combine single syllable names with multiple syllable names. They just sound better when you say them. Often this means ending the first name with a vowel and beginning the last name with a consonant, or vice versa.
- Good Examples: Zoe Connolly, Lovely Person
- Not So Good Examples: Manicexpression Beebe, Nardok Corrimal
Can the name be quickly abbreviated for use in chats in a way that it is still unique? What 3-5 characters can be readily identified as the avatar’s name?
- Good Example: Tym (Tymmerie Thorne)
- Not So Good Example: Nathalie Defiant (Nat could mean Natalie, Nathan, Natasha, Natassia, Nathaniel, Natu, etc.)
Linden Lab has done a paramount job selecting unusual and interesting last names. Our job is to select a first name that somehow matches the semantic qualities of the last name.
- Good Examples: White Noel, Dakota Blackmountain, TreeSong Moonbeam, mannafest Destiny
- Not So Good Examples: HannahLeigh Hotshot, Kenny Tempura, RAFTWET Jewell
Did you know there are 1546 people with the name "Aaron"? It can be confusing if your circle of friends have people with identical first names: "AaronB", "AaronP", etc. A good name would be completely unique, with no possibility of confusion with others.
- Good Example: Arminasx (but alas, fails miserably on several other counts...)
- Bad Examples: Aaron, Charles, Rob, Pablo, Adam (see more at Obijan's list of most popular names)
You may disagree with these factors, as they are only my personal opinion. Perhaps we can make name analysis more interesting? Next week I will try to post a scoring system that you can use to check your own name against these factors.