Second Generation Usernames

Tuesday, August 12th, 02014 at 12:21 UTC

As the children of the current online generation are born, what will the new child’s naming considerations be?

It will be interesting to track in the next 20-50 years the number of children who are Juniors or named after grandparents. For the unlikely reason that all the good usernames on services will already be taken by their parents.

Is it too much to hope for that some of these online services will be around for multiple generations? Will children of parents who have squatted on their usernames use strange variations or go with completely fake handles which were common on the early web?

Maybe this is a self-correctly problem. One-third of all the 01970s companies listed on the fortune 500 index were gone by 01983, just 13 years later. A Dutch study concluded that the average company life-span in Japan and Europe was only 12.5 years. Maybe usernames being passed along to the next generation won’t be an issue?

But let’s assume that these digital companies do manage to find away to increase their lifespan. Facebook was founded in 02004 making them 10 years old in 02014. On average, they have only a few years left, but in reality they show no serious signs of disappearing anytime soon. Twitter was founded in 02006, so they are 8 years old.

As people who joined their services with their real names, what is the likelihood of their children being called the same thing given that these popular services have their usernames all locked-up by the parents.

Think of the children!

The Tercentenarians Club in the UK is only open to business that have been actively trading for over 300 years and are still connected with the founding families. What is the digital equivalent? In 01999 37signals, now Basecamp, was formed. They’ve been actively trading as a private company with the same leadership for 15 years now. was founded in 01994, while a public company, is still run by the same CEO Jeff Bezos. That’s a 20 year run almost old enough to purchase alcohol in the USA. AOL was founded in 01985, but has been bought and sold several times. It is still alive and is now 29 years old.

Many of these services have unique usernames which have been claimed and won’t be available to the next generation if they carry on the family tradition of passing down names.

One Response to “Second Generation Usernames”

  1. Dan Craig says:

    One of the considerations we took into account when naming our son was that the domain name had to be available. Some day down the road we can build his own place on the internet there and it will be an awesome father/son bonding experience.