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Internet Naming

Published 30 August 2020 at Yours, Kewbish. 1249 words. Subscribe via RSS.


Names are something that end up being pretty tricky. First impressions properly do matter, and names are a pretty important part of a first impression, especially with people (at least for me) and software projects too, in a way. Case in point, my colleagues have a CTF team1, and a couple months ago, we had a series of name crises. I was born with a very interesting name - one that’s roundabout close enough to a popular one that no one questions it, but different enough that it gets misspelled every single time I meet someone new (unless they happen to see my name in text first).

Recently, I purchased my first domain (which if all goes well, and I figure out how I want to do things, you’ll see this blog under in a couple months or so) under my Internet name. However, I’ve been reminded constantly that I need to link my work to my name (obviously, and I agree). From my very first GitHub repo til now, I’ve gone by Kewbish online. In the beginning it was for vaguely privacy related reasons - I didn’t want people to know my real name. You know what they teach you in school, anyhow, don’t tell internet strangers your personal information, etc. I guess I took that a bit too much to heart - and I’d never have guessed that I’d need to actually figure which name I want to move forward under.

This blog post will be a thousand words of me trying to figure out the pros and cons of either name (i.e. kewbish vs Emilie). If you have an opinion, I’ll be xposting this to Dev.to in approximately 4 days, so freeze your discussion points for there.

In Favour of Kewbish

Well, Kewbish is what literally all my online handles that are even somewhat dev-related are, so that’s probably the biggest pro in favour of staying with Kewbish. My GitHub, Dev.to, LinkedIn - all under Kewbish. It’s very easy to Google me under the handle Kewbish, so I’ve already got the SEO pretty down pat. No one else - that I know of - has tried to become a kewbish and usurp my beautiful top Google search result.

Kewbish is also a quite unique name. Maybe it’s memorable, maybe it’s just quirky enough that people can remember that Kewbish => Emilie. I’d think that Kewbish is more catchy than Emilie anyhow, and despite what some people think, I’d say that it’s easier to stick ‘kewbish’ in someone’s head than ‘Emilie’. My logic is that Kewbish is such a new name that people’ll probably think about it, and Emilie’ll just sound like Emily, which is a very popular name and hence less memorable.

Also, while I do happen to be the first LinkedIn result for ‘Emilie Ma’ on Google - there happens to be another Emilie Ma (or similar) who does photography on Instagram. I have nothing to do with photography at all, which should be fine in the case I want to rank under Emilie Ma. However, I don’t think I can engineer the search like I can for Kewbish, which is so new that Google didn’t even start indexing my site until maybe nine months ago.

In Favour of Emilie

Emilie (with or without my last name attached) is my proper name, and probably what recruiters (if any ever try to find me), potential employers, reference-checkers, and basically anyone who knows me only by my real name would look up. Therefore, it makes sense that I at least try to rank something under Emilie, especially my LinkedIn which can then point to my personal site.

As well, what my parents told me is true - if I go up to someone, I’ll tell them my name is Emilie. If they try to Google me, the only thing that really shows up right now that pertains to me is my LinkedIn. If someone doesn’t take the time to click through to my website (if it’s still under Kewbish and not under Emilie), then they can’t find any of the somewhat cool things I’ve done. I guess my LinkedIn should be enough, but it still doesn’t describe all of the things I’d like to elevator-pitch to potential people who are researching me.

Will people think that Kewbish is too cutesy or childish of a nick? Most people’s online nicks at least somehow incorporate their name, I guess, and it could be possible that they think it a little kiddish. Using my real name would definitely avoid this.

And lastly, just going off Emilie would make explaining my handles less complicated. I’ve had to do the ‘oh no, my [social media and/or dev thing] is kewbish not Emilie Ma-’ thing a couple times before, and explain that whoever they’d found wasn’t me.

In Favour of Both

The middle approach is to make all my website copy read ‘Emilie Ma’ while slipping enough ‘Kewbish’ that it still ranks under both. Essentially, I’d have to maintain SEO things under both - twice as much work, but then people can find me two ways, so that’d be pretty cool.

This way, I’d keep my GitHub and social media things under Kewbish, preventing me from having to change all my repository information. As well, this prevents me from maintaining a pseudo-presence (keeping a GitHub, Dev, whatever account in the name Kewbish linking to my new one) on most of the platforms. I might make a GitHub under Emilie, and maintain that pseudo-prescence for SEO purposes only.

Going forward, this might be a bit tricky to do with my repos and online life (how am I supposed to squeeze Emilie in anyhow; will people be confused about who actually wrote the software; will people think Emilie and Kewbish are two separate entities) but it’d prevent a lot of backwards-compatible work.

I’m still thinking about all three approaches. I’m leaning towards both, but maybe that’s just because I like Kewbish. I’ve used the name for so long, it just feels like me. I literally answer to Kewbish in real life and in voice calls anyhow - may as well keep it as my online name. And hey - there’s always the possibility that I become so famous that moving away from Kewbish will make my work less popular, and I wouldn’t want to do that, would I.2


(This section was written a week and a bit later.) In the end, I’m going to go with the mixed approach, I think. My GitHub repositories will stay under kewbish, and my website’ll try to include equal mentions of Emilie and kewbish. Hopefully, this’ll let my website rank on both keywords. Moving forward, I may as well keep using kewbish - it’s already pretty associated with me and my work. Being consistent with kewbish’ll probably work out better in the long term. At least - that’s what I think at the moment.3

I have two weeks until school, and once I completely finish all my homework, I think I’m just going to spend a while coding. Coding’s pretty relaxing, and I’d like to rework my website again. This time, I have a design in mind, and I’m going to properly finish that first before HTMLing and CSSing my way through. I think it’ll turn out quite nicely.

  1. We don’t really play anymore, do we? ↩︎

  2. Dreams. ↩︎

  3. Based on my past indecisions, I’m probably going to go back on this decision quite soon. Oops. ↩︎

- Yours, Kewbish

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