"Five of 71 men and six of 93 women included their birth year, and two men and two women included the current year, 2015," Herring said.Age, after all, is just a number -- a number that's listed prominently on OKC user pages, so displaying it in a username is a little redundant.It does, however, illuminate broader trends about how our online language use has changed over time.“Females tend to include more personal attributes in their usernames,” Herring says.
This frees up users to get inventive; names now include "profession, interests, personal attributes and attitudes, and what the user is seeking or promising," according to Herring.
This includes subbing in "1"s for "i"s, but also riffs on the AOL chatroom trope of suffixing a username with "4u".
Although 53 percent of usernames in Herring's survey included a number, very few of the numbers seemed to have personal meaning.
I don’t attribute this to an alignment of stars, to the mercy of the web gods and goddesses, or even to OKC’s algorithm, which supposedly uses questions such as “What’s worse, book burning or flag burning? Instead, I chalk up my positive online dating experiences -- which, with the exception of a brazen date who rudely shushed fellow theatergoers (referred to amongst my friends henceforth as “the shusher”), has been without horror stories -- to my careful evaluation of a potential match’s username before arranging a date.
Puns and hyper-masculine references were mostly no-gos.