Argh! Due to Other Important Writing Commitments it’s got really late, so I’m ashamed to say that, on only the second day of NaBloWriMo, this is me publishing some nonsense that I really only wrote for myself, and didn’t intend to use, in the rush to get something out before midnight. So please forgive me for the ramble you’re about to read.
Who is editorialgirl?
I know this isn’t really what Jenny had in mind when she asked me about “the journey to editorial girl” in a comment on previous blog post (and I do hope to write about that “journey” a little bit over the next month), but this is about the name editorialgirl.
With apologies to my parents, I have a rather boring real name. It’s… common. My first name – whilst pretty, I guess – is currently the most popular girls’ name in the US and has always been in the top 20 in the UK. My last name – according to Wikipedia, at least – is the second most numerous surname in the UK and I’m pretty sure that’s been the case for about a hundred years. So, yeah, Emma Jones is a common name. There were at least two of us in my school (and it wasn’t a large school).
On the internet, a common, boring name is both a blessing and a curse. It means I can be as anonymous as I like (you’d have a job finding me via google if you only knew my name… which is fine by me) but it also means I can’t use my real name as a username anywhere on the web. And as for domain names – forget it. The journalist, the “it girl”, the poet and the “home business expert” have always got there first.
So – once I decided I needed one – I had a bit of a quest to find a usable username.
At first it was a variation of my first name. Emma is a short name and it’s how I prefer to be addressed if you don’t know me. If you do know me, I don’t mind you calling me Em, or even EJ, but not Emmy and definitely not Ems or Emsy. At one point in my mid twenties, however, Emma took a rather unexpected turn; from Emma to Em, to Embob. Embob was shortened to Bob and for some reason, I was Bob for ages. Some people were introduced to me as Bob and never knew what my real name was. One group of friends went the other way and took the name Embob to new extremes; it became Embobina and eventually Embolinajolie, which is, frankly, embarrassing when it’s used in public. …I’m digressing. For a while, my online username was Embob.
It was only as I turned thirty and started to need to use my online identity for work-related stuff that Embob started to seem a little… silly. Not only had my circle of friends changed, but I was starting to realise that my web skills could get me work, and that the best way of promoting my web skills was… well, on the web. I couldn’t use my real name, but I couldn’t seriously put a portfolio online under the name Embob, especially since no-one even called me that any more. I needed something more relevant.
I decided to go with something wordy. I’ve been an editor of sorts since the 90s and by now I was specialising in online editing. Whilst I was playing around with words including “web”, “web writer”, “web editor” and “web editorial” – searching for usernames that hadn’t already been taken – I found that something strange had happened. A song had stuck in my head. Like it or not, I was humming Madonna. It took me a good five minutes to realise why; to realise that my mind’s eye (ear?) had read “editorial” and mashed it into a song I used to dance around my bedroom to when I was ten. “For we are living / in editorial world…”
Yes, it seemed that my subconscious had chosen the name editorialgirl for me. Every time I read it, the song would start up in my brain again. Although I hadn’t planned to use the word “girl” in a username, the whole concept tickled me so much that I tried it out on a few websites (this was pre-Twitter, so I think I was looking for a Blogger ID). It was available everywhere I looked. I’d found my new name.
These days, I identify with the name editorialgirl (all one word, please, and all lower case) as much as my given name. I might even prefer it a little, since it’s virtually unique. I feel complete ownership over it. It’s my name on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Identi.ca and b3ta (to name a few) and if ever I find someone else using it – and there have been a couple – I feel absolutely indignant. I love editorialgirl.
And the downside? Well, of course, there’s the whole “girl” thing. Yes, for a while I worried that – even before I’d really started using it – I wasn’t a girl any more and that if I was still using this name in my old age, I would look like the virtual equivalent of mutton dressed as lamb.
But then I remembered Madonna in that leotard… and figured things didn’t seem so bad.