You’re still using Internet Explorer 6, seriously?
The BeansBox Team
The Facebook username landrush has passed, and I had to settle for my firstname.lastname combination after the username I desired was no longer available. Even if I was on my machine during the waning moments of the countdown.
While only a handful of my Facebook friends were in the bandwagon of 200,000 users in the first minute (and was reported that there were 500,000 in the first 15 minutes and 1,000,000 in the first hour) the event was successful.
But there were those who tried to steal everyone's attention. One has to be careful to spell usernames. There is no UNDO function for mistakes made. At the same time one has to be very quick to register his/her username. Popular online personality Michael Arrington at Techcrunch learned it the hard way. (I think he'll get that one sorted out.) Others were simply furious. Still, there are others who just want to make people smile:
Tim Lunsford (http://www.facebook.com/wp-admin) - the WordPress admin page?
Sergei Polischuk (http://www.facebook.com/readme.shtml) - Facebook help page?
Christine Shipley (http://www.facebook.com/default.aspx) - Facebook transformed into a .NET environment?
The event that took place Friday night (12:01am is already Saturday by the way and that means something to Sabbath observers). The climactic countdown screen may have driven more people to go online as if not doing so is equivalent to a time bomb exploding. Good thing is that no servers crashed. But maybe there were less people online than anticipated. In my timezone it's 12 noon on a Saturday, less than 10% of my FB friends are visible. Maybe others were still sleeping. Or maybe not a lot saw the importance, or at least as hyped as those eagerly awaiting the 12:01 mark.
So what's the fuss about having a unique Facebook username?
You are a person who wants to be addressed and remembered by your name
We are not some random color palette or a prisoner often referred through numerical assignments. You want to be identified with consistency. If usernames represent our business, the series of numbers simply won't represent it. If you have trademarked names apart from your firstname / family name, the Facebook username is one of the best places to use and promote it.
Risk of losing identity
That might be too strong, but the risk of not taking advantage of using your personal or business name in Facebook runs the risk of you partially losing your identity to squatters (see the rant of an angry Facebook username squatting victim). These squatters don't promote your name in your behalf. Instead they confuse people and you don't have the power to control what they do. In most cases, it will not end up good results for you.
So for those who haven't done so, go to www.facebook.com/username and set your username.
Some quick hints:
* You can use usernames of at least five characters long
* Can use letters, numbers or periods/dots
* Choose a username that fits your name or your online identity
* If your first choice is no longer available (think of ubiquitous names like Michael Smith or Bill Johnson) be creative by using dots and numbers. But I would advice against using msmith1 or billjohnson2, it looks so unoriginal to me.
With regards to that failed first name registration, from CNET:
UPDATE (9:33 p.m. PT): We've heard from a few people who were trying to grab their first names and couldn't--even though the names didn't appear to be reserved already. One of them speculated that Facebook may have simply "cancelled out" some popular names.
That might explain that even if I was armed with lightning-speed urge to get my first name, I still failed.
Photo credit: daxxx