For many years I've led an extraordinary double life. You wouldn't think it to look at me, but hiding under my mild mannered exterior is the equally mild mannered Reverend Bingo. The good Reverend goes back at least 13 years now, to my first steps on the net during my university years. Heck, I even used it on some Telnet MUD type thing, the name of which is lost to time and memory. Over the years many have found deep meaning to the name - some kind of comment on the church and their relationship with modern culture - but the name wasn't my invention. I seem to have borrowed it and never quite got round to giving it back.
Generally I shorten it to revbingo, as in the url for this blog, and as far as I'm concerned it's everything a netname should be. It's short, it's fairly memorable, it's interestingly cryptic and it's slightly silly without being downright embarrassing ("Ok Grandma, write this down - it's H-O-T-G-I-G-O-L-O-3-2-4 at gmail.com"). Most importantly, it's unique - I haven't found a website yet where I couldn't register with it as a username.
At least, I thought it was unique. One thing I've never really done in those 13 years is to google for "revbingo". Let's give it a go, eh? First two results, Amazon review. That's me alright - that book was terrible. Flickr, me. RateMyCover, me. Ubuntu Forums, me. Accidentally formatted my Sansa, m... wait! I've never owned a Sansa, let alone wiped one accidentally. Twitter, me. Spring RCP (ugh), me. Ubuntu again, me. Launchpad, me. Zoomr, me. MoneySupermarket - not me. Xandros - not me. Rudius - not me. Someone somewhere is polluting my brand.
Now, having borrowed the name in the first place, I guess I ought to not be surprised if a few other people use it too. But it brings home the importance we place on identity, especially in a context like the internet where real identity is all too difficult to establish. How does someone googling for me on the net know what's me and what's not? There's nothing about the other posts that particularly concern me. I guess I could live with folks thinking that I had reversed into a van or tried to install Half-Life on Linux (although let's be clear, I would never admit to having been a Linux n00b :). It's just that it's not me. The fact that these other uses only pop up here and there in amongst my own usage make it even more likely that someone would believe it's me.
Which makes me wonder, where have these people gone since? Have they discovered that I've already taken that username on gmail, twitter, flickr et al and gone for something else? (In a slight panic, I've just bought up www.revbingo.com). Did they decide that revbingo was a really poor username?
I guess there's nothing else for it. Just call me HotGigolo324.