My online username isn't working for me anymore

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My online username isn't working for me anymore

Postby eishiya » June 5th, 2012, 10:25 pm

I know, I know. There are so many much more serious topics in this forum, but this is something that's been giving me headaches for years and I can't come up with a solution.

I use "eishiya" as my username pretty much everywhere. It has become my online identity, pretty much. It has served me well, people recognize me by it... But it has a few issues:
1. It's not a name I want to be known by, it's actually just one of my fictional worlds.
2. It's hard to remember for most people.
3. It's hard to spell even if you remember it.

In short, if I ever want to market my work, my site, or anything I do, I am screwed unless I change it.

"Eishiya" is the name of the world/universe in which my first comic Senka is set, along with a number of other stories of mine. Years ago, even the least Senka-like stories managed to find a place in Eishiya (such is the nature of that world), so when it came time to register a domain name for my art site, get a dA account, and so on, I went with "eishiya" as a way to put my art (which was at that point almost exclusively Eishiya-related) under the umbrella of that word. I didn't intend for it to become my online identity, I thought that if/when I ventured outside of the Eishiya world artistically, I'd do so under a different name. The "eishiya" name was meant to keep my Eishiya art a distinct entity from my own art and reinforce the unity of it.

...only that's not how things worked out. I started posting non-Eishiya art under that name (since getting multiple accounts isn't allowed on most art sites; and because it seemed like a hassle to get/change accounts for something only I cared about), and when I needed to make a new account somewhere, I went with "eishiya" because by that time, it had become my online identity. I regret allowing that to happen. I was maybe 14-15 at the time so I can't be too hard on myself, but now I want to undo the damage.

I didn't bother for all these years because I always figured I'd never have to market myself. I was training to be a programmer, names don't matter in that field (for the record, my real name is even harder to remember and pronounce than "eishiya", so using it as my online identity is out of the question). But now, it's pretty clear that I wasted eight years of my life aiming for that field, and I want to give art a shot. Probably not professionally, then at least for a few extra bucks, or even just to get it out there and see what happens. I don't feel like I should be so private... except oh yeah my username is a wall, so there's not much choice.

Should I just change my name everywhere (well, on art sites, at least)? Should I just accept my fate of having an unmarketable and irrelevant username? Is there some other option I haven't thought of?
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Re: My online username isn't working for me anymore

Postby neko-axe » June 5th, 2012, 11:55 pm

I'm not really sure what to say about name changing, to be honest. If you feel that you want to change it, then there really isn't a problem there but your reasoning seems a little bit off on some points, or at least overly self-conscious. Not meant to be mean, but stuff like "its hard to spell" happens to a lot of people with their real names, as well as those who choose their names in situations where they either create a username or a brand new identity for themselves, which is technically the same concept. You even said how your even your real name was difficult for people, and millions of people across the world would be standing right next to you going "me too". And the other two points that you noted, about how its hard to remember and spell, that's just other people not trying hard enough. Your username actually isn't too hard, in my opinion, as it seems to be something that has some kind of meaning without being a jumble of letters, and as someone who can't usually remember words let alone names without feeling that there is a meaning to them, I find your name to be actually really easy to remember. I actually thought "eishiya" was a name, I just assumed that it was a name that came from a non-English based language or something similar to that.

About your username, eishiya, being unmarketable, I think that you might be downplaying it a bit. Words with meaning are very marketable, just like words without meaning are marketable. It all depends on how you yourself feel about the name that changes the potential, as well as what you do with it. If you feel that you are connected to your name, as in seeing it as an identity, then its going to be easy to "make a name for yourself" as it is something that you can say is you and is no one else as well as create things that are linked to that identity. If you need examples, you don't really need to look any further than the music industry to find loads of people who are on the rather unique side of the naming spectrum. Its like an old saying that something along the lines of "you make the name, the name doesn't make you".

But to be honest about the whole thing, if you feel like eishiya isn't something that you can identify as, you might as well try and find something else. If you want to be well known, or at least known, than having a username or identity that makes you uncomfortable isn't going to help you, it'd be like wearing a uniform that you hate for the sake of simplicity or ease of access. And just like a uniform or clothes, just because you decide to change doesn't mean that you can never go back and wear it again.

This probably doesn't help much, but its just my ideas on the situation. And if it happens to mean anything, this is coming from someone who has used the username "neko-axe" since the age 12 (a few months shy of 10 years), tried to change it to "Axe Swing", a username that is fairly close to my real name, and has constant problems with identifying with it.

I think You should first ask yourself a couple of things first:
If you were to change your username, what would you change it to?
Can you honestly say that it feels more like "you"?
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Re: My online username isn't working for me anymore

Postby Guest » June 5th, 2012, 11:59 pm

If it's not a name you want to be known by and you're very unsatisfied with it, are there any alternative names you have in mind that you would immediately switch over to, if possible?
And how popular or well-known would you consider your art and username to be right now? How recognizable do you perceive your art style to be?
Or basically...how smooth do you think the transition would be if you were to change your username everywhere?

My own transition from an old username to my current one took about a year and a half. But I guess I got kind of lucky when I decided to consistently watermark my drawings with 'Erdgeist' and used this new username on various sites (like TinierMe and Tumblr and here), which I frequented more often than deviantART. And along the way, I seem to have developed a style that's apparently relatively recognizable and unique, so that became associated with my username?
In any case, 'Erdgeist' became much better-known than 'kariudo-kun', so when I jumped on the dA username-changing bandwagon, it was a relatively smooth transition and people generally still knew who I was!

I guess the underlying downside to the transition is kind of losing your online identity for awhile when you start out with a fresh new username.
I personally think your username isn't difficult to remember or spell! However, if you're really dissatisfied with it and would like to be known by a different username in the future, now would be a good time to change it! Better late than never, right?

But yeah, I think I would personally learn toward a more gradual transition
As opposed to changing your username everywhere asap
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Re: My online username isn't working for me anymore

Postby UrbanMysticDee » June 6th, 2012, 2:15 am

Everything is marketable if you market it right. People will buy feces if it's called manure and is said it will make their grass grow better, just like people will buy war if it's called kinetic military action and the guy selling it is a Democrat.

That said, if you want to change your user name then do it.
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Re: My online username isn't working for me anymore

Postby eishiya » June 6th, 2012, 9:50 am

UrbanMysticDee: I agree completely with the first point (although marketing certain things is still more difficult than others and not always worth the trouble). The second, I don't yet know what I want to do.

neko-axe: I'm aware that a lot of people have real names that are difficult to spell/remember, and that's why people get pen names. Some people do use their difficult real names, and the result is that big fans of their work go through the trouble of memorizing them, while casual fans... uh, go to the store and then trip up on the name so much that it's useless (true story). My real name is a disaster in that no one can spell if they need to (it causes a lot of headaches when I need to get some documents made, apply for insurance, etc), haha. It's pretty recognizable once you see it a second time, but recreating it from scratch is a fool's errand.

"eishiya" as a combination of letters is marketable, and the problem of people having a hard time spelling it if they only hear it can theoretically be solved by handing out business cards (which is what I used to do). In practice, however, I don't think most people know where those business cards are by the time they remember about an artist and want to look them up, haha. It's times like those that a simple name like "Jason Chan" is really helpful.

But even if I find a way to drill it into people's heads, there's still the problem that the name isn't me, it's just one part of what I do. And that's something I'll address at the bottom of this post, scroll to the *****. But first:


Erdgeist: I'm glad you found success with your name switch :D I only ever knew you as Erdgeist, I think. If not, then your name switch was just that effective, haha.
I think for me, a switch would actually be much easier because I've been gone from the online art world for a while, and never, as an artist, had much of a fan base to begin with. Starting from scratch wouldn't be much different from notifying everyone and their mum by hand.

I couldn't change my username everywhere, but changing it where it matters (art sites) shouldn't be too difficult for the reason above. Getting a new account and linking to it from the old one for a while before closing it doesn't seem that difficult. On one site I use, I would never be able to go back to "eishiya" if I wanted to, but eh :/
I don't have an alternate username yet. "Lana" is what most people (and by "people" I mean anyone who actually interacts with me, fan or friend) know me as, but using that would be Google Suicide. But it's also the only name I feel comfortable using to name myself. And the reason is the same one I wanted to tell neko-axe:

*****

I don't feel like I really have a personal identity as an artist. I don't mean that in the "recognizable style" way. People do seem to recognize my work, my characters, my style, etc. That's not what I'm talking about. What I mean is that I have only my work. I have my comics with their respective worlds and the occasional random illustration. That's it. There is no auteur named Lana or anything like that. I want to market my work. That's why I made "eishiya" my username back then - at the time, that was the work I wanted to share. It's the same as how the artist of Paradox has the username ParadoxComic here on SJ.

Unfortunately, to get my work out there, I have to make accounts everywhere for my person, and these accounts become an online artist identity, something I never really wanted. I am not Eishiya, I am not Union City, I am not that-one-cute-zombie-comic-I-have-no-time-to-make. If I could be invisible, a disembodied voice occasionally offering commentary, I would be. But I can't. I have to have a name/username everywhere, I can't just be (art sample) [Artist of (comics)]. No, I'm (avatar) (username) and that's just how it is.

There is not a single username out there that I would want, I think. And that's the real core problem. The fact that my current username is the name of just one thing from my body of work just agitates the problem.
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Re: My online username isn't working for me anymore

Postby sulfurbunny » June 6th, 2012, 10:26 am

Playing devil's advocate here for a moment - if there is no name you really want, does it even matter what you're called? I'd imagine Eishiya would be as good as anything else in that case :)

I get the impression from your last post that you want the work to be known rather than the person. You could use a simple fake name along the lines of the "Jason Chan" example. Or think of it as a business/brandname and tack -studios or -illustration or something onto the end of it to show you're representing a varied collection of work.
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Re: My online username isn't working for me anymore

Postby eishiya » June 7th, 2012, 12:54 pm

sulfurbunny wrote:Playing devil's advocate here for a moment - if there is no name you really want, does it even matter what you're called? I'd imagine Eishiya would be as good as anything else in that case :)

That's a good point! It just bothers me because peope call me by that name sometimes, and that's simply not my name. I wish I could just attach a "but you can call me Lana" subtitle everywhere, haha.

sulfurbunny wrote:I get the impression from your last post that you want the work to be known rather than the person. You could use a simple fake name along the lines of the "Jason Chan" example. Or think of it as a business/brandname and tack -studios or -illustration or something onto the end of it to show you're representing a varied collection of work.

A pen name is the most plausible option for me. I'd never do the Studios/Illustration thing, but I'd rather not go into the reasons for that.

But really... my name is Lana, and that's all I want to be known by. It's just worthless as a brand. I guess I should just stop bawling about it, keep using "eishiya", and get the hell back to drawing.
And if I ever need to justify it to myself, there's always the fact that Eishiya (capitalized) is a fictional world, and "eishiya" (lower-case) is a nice-sounding string of letters that I use to identify my accounts online (honestly I just never capitalize "eishiya" outside of the fictional world context because 'E' looks really ugly to me).

Yeah. Something like that.
Thanks for the input, everyone <3 I'm feeling a bit more confident about this name situation. I was under the impression that it was difficult for people, but it looks like it isn't.
I should really stop putting my full name on my business cards and just put "Lana" though.
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Re: My online username isn't working for me anymore

Postby gutache » June 7th, 2012, 2:23 pm

Oh man oh man, well, I disagree with some people.. If you have a name in mind that you really like, I think you should go for it. Make some new accounts, abandon your old one, and enjoy the new title. If you don't, you should probably wait until you've thought of a really great username.

Me, I'm really happy with my usernames. I really hope I won't have to change it any time soon, or grow tired of it...
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