I had an interesting discussion with the esteemed Jim Haendiges yesterday about the rhetoric of handles on the personal websites of geeks who are also academics. Which we both are. It’s tricky, because the goal is to convey insiderdom in both communities. Amongst geeks (and, more specifically, gamers), the handle is the standard way to do name yourself. But most handles involve Netspeak conventions, like numbers instead of letters, carefully placed dashes and underscores, etc. – the kinds of newfangled grammatical constructs that drive your more grammatically and/or technologically conservative academics crazy. Ordinarily, I might aim an argument about the validity of all cultures’ languages their way, but I gotta get a job.
And but so, my handle is some variation of “critter,” a nickname I got in grad school here at good old WSU. “Critter” is a tricky handle: the word itself is really common (hence it not being my domain name), so it never works anywhere unless it’s altered somehow. Trying to be consistent across various websites and social networks has proven impossible, what with their varying rules about allowable punctuation marks; but for my own site, I wound up going with “Critt-r,” which was Netspeak-y, but only slightly so. But now, contemplating the expectations of the job market I’m about to enter, I think even “Critt-r” is too, well, weird. So I changed it and let font size do all the work.
Waddya think? Did I make the right move, for sound reasons? What handles do you use, and why?