DonnaM » Blog Archive » Changing my name online – easy or impossible

Changing my name online – easy or impossible

As I mentioned recently, I am changing my name back to Donna Spencer.

Last time I changed my name was pre-internet and it wasn’t terribly hard. But now I have identity spread out all over the web, and am wondering just how easy it will be to change my name, and how important name is to identity.

I anticipate one thing will work in my favour. In the main, my name isn’t necessarily tied directly to my username. My main usernames are maadmob, maadonna & donnam. I don’t need to change them at all, but it certainly would be interesting to know what would happen if someone did need to do that.

So I’m keeping a running post of progress as I go – both to highlight the identity issues and good/bad examples of user experience.


First stop (for no other reason than convenience) was Facebook. On my account page was a clear option to change my name (image below taken after I had done it), followed by a big warning about the types of names they won’t accept, and that all name changes are checked.

Screen shot from Facebook showing the 'change name' option


I was wondering what would happen with WordPress. Ideally I’d be able to change an author’s name, have old posts under the old name, and new posts under the new. After all, the author doesn’t change, just the name.

Turned out I can change the nickname, but not the name. So I think I’ll probably set up a new author with a new name, rather than risk uncertainty of just changing a nickname.


This was dead easy & only needed a minor edit in one field:

More to come…

2 Responses to “Changing my name online – easy or impossible”

  1. Rob Fay Says:

    I’ve often struggled with what my online presence should look like. Should I use a nickname / handle that does not include my real name to at least put one level of anonymity between me and the web, or should I go by my real name? For professional reasons, I generally put my name out, but I am concerned because I expose my private/family side to web exposure that I may not want for them.

    The good news for you may be that by making some changes, you might be able to “cut the fat” from old accounts and contacts that you may not want to stay contacted with. The bad news is that if you’re not diligent, you may break contacts with people inadvertently. For instance, consider your feedburner rss feed. If you decided to change that for the sake of updating your name, you may lose “followers” unless you are diligent about giving the right people the “heads up.”

    Anyway, let me know how it goes and how much of a chore it is :)

  2. Paul Hagon Says:

    You can change your wordpress username but you have to get down and dirty in the actual database. Using something like phpmyadmin, open the wp_users table, click the edit icon next to the relevant user and change the user_login field. Everything should then be updated. You’ll need to login to you wordpress admin page with this new user name.

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