What's In A Name? The birth of decibel.places on drupal.org and everywhere else
Wed, 08/15/2012 - 12:56pm — decibel.places
How I Came To Be Known As Decibel Places
I have used the handle netsperience as my "web brand" since 1996 - but when I decided to claim the domain, netsperience.com was already taken.
So I started to think about a good nickname for a programmer.
In the late 70s I occasionally published a xeroxed zine about the Providence, RI punk rock scene and I called it "Decibel Places"
Adding a decimal point completes the pun: I searched "decibel places" to see if anybody else was using it; I found one reference, clearly intended to be "decimal places" and I had a good laugh. Today, that result is buried at the bottom of the 17th page of Google results - the rest are me.
I switched my drupal.org username to "decibel.places" and everywhere else.
I created an avatar with the newly created obamicon.me by Paste Magazine. I was just playing around, using my laptop's webcam. I liked the side-lit effect, and the fact that the blue highlight on my face looks a lot like New Jersey.
LinkedIn suspended my account for using this as my profile image. I argued with them that it is an actual photo, but they would not allow it.
Recently my wife told me she doesn't understand what it means. I explained it to her: a double pun on my love for loud music and programming. "Oh," she said.
The only drawback is that many web sites like Twitter and Facebook do not allow a username with punctuation. (Facebook allows it in the URL but not as a user name.) Although this weakens the "joke" I think it actually improves search ranking with multiple spellings.
I have actually met people at meetups and parties who know me as "decibel" not by my real name. I guess it was a good marketing move. It's important to fully claim and establish your "brand" especially if it is your "personal" brand.
Someone should start a project documenting the origin of drupal.org usernames. How did chx pick the name? Besides what we think we know, what about merlinofchaos?