1997 vs Now: Real Names & Screen Names

Remember 1997?

It was the year that gave us Titanic, MmmBop, and a clear winner at the forefront of a brand new technology: AOL Instant Messenger.

The tens of millions of unique users were each identified by their screen names — and there were certain unspoken rules (and clear cyber safety recommendations) about what was considered a “good” screen name.

References to sports teams, hobbies, favorite animals, and so on were all fair game.

And if you could throw in a few numbers or symbols to set yourself apart, even better.

But the one thing people definitely did NOT use in their screen names?

Their real names.

Now, a lot has changed since 1997, including the fact that many instant messaging and social media services require real names — but how many of us are using them on platforms that don’t simply out of habit?

Today I want to give you a challenge to take a look at how you’re showing up online and ask yourself:

Are the screen names and handles I’ve chosen really keeping my info secure?

Feel free to tag a friend who could use this tip, too!

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