DonnaM » Identity


Changing my name online – easy or impossible

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

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…