If you haven’t already, make sure to go over to Facebook and make an account. Once you have an account, go to facebook.com/username to pick out a “vanity URL” for your Facebook profile.
A Vanity URL is a website application’s unique web address for your profile. Until now, Facebook’s URLs were a combination of odd symbols, numbers and letters that had nothing to do with your name. Now you can have a URL that is similar to your name or preferred username (if you get there in time OR if you have a very unique name). My vanity Facebook URL is facebook.com/christine.cavalier .
Chris Brogan, a social media guy who is one of the area’s more prominent leaders, didn’t choose the URL facebook.com/chrisbrogan. In fact, he didn’t choose anything for several precious hours after the vanity url registration opened up, in which time someone else snapped up the name. He was at odds with the effects of URLs, naming and applications have on his identity. As he says on his blog:
“It’s never about the sites and services. Never forget that. YOU add value to them, not the other way around. “
This is true, but I tend to think a name is the quickest way to find a person anywhere; Having the vanity URL as your name would be most prudent, especially since Facebook’s search engine is notorious for bringing up all sorts of flotsam when you are looking for friends. I oftentimes type a vanity URL in my browser’s address field, e.g. twitter.com/johnsmith, in the off chance I may just find the John Smith I want on Twitter.com with little effort. I want Facebook to work for me this way, too. I toyed with registering facebook.com/purplecar, but instead stuck with my name. I run the risk of someone else registering that vanity URL, because Facebook allows you only one. This was something I could live with, because eventually I will probably phase out “purplecar” altogether. I own my domain name, so perhaps I’ll move to that URL and make “purplecar” a quaint username I offer in chatrooms.
Will life end because Chris Brogan’s vanity URL is facebook.com/dotchrisbrogan? No. Will your life end if you don’t rush over to facebook right now and sign up? No. But you will be online somewhere soon, and you will have to choose your tattoo like the rest of us. What will yours be?