The real reason I am thinking about identity today is not because of my own choices, though. It is because of identity-related peeves I want to share.
- This morning I got a voice message that seemed to be from a business or service. The speaker very clearly stated her phone number, but her delivery of her name and the name of the company was unintelligible. I played through the message a couple of times. I would have disregarded it completely, but she mentioned Texas Library Association conference and since we have a booth there, I wanted to be sure I wasn't missing something important related to that. It turned out to be from an "alternative" housing booking agent and NOT something I was about to use. But because of the poor message, I would not have been inclined to do business with the company regardless of purpose. I resent when voice message are unclear and take excessive time to decipher.
- Lousy phone message are certainly not limited to business/sales/promotions. Many more come from job applicants, colleagues, students and prospective students. Anyone who is calling about a professional matter should speak clearly and slowly and repeat contact information more than once. This seems so obvious that it should not have to be pointed out, but I suspect every person who works in an administrative or helping position can attest to how often people seem fail to present themselves well via phone.
- Since I am venting, I am also going to go into the choice of email names for professional use. Many, many years ago, I got a hotmail address. I wanted it for personal use, and even then I wanted to use my own name. I tried entering "mbell," but was prompted to add more characters. So I got the bright idea to just stick some X's on the end for space fillers. Thus my name went out to the world as: mbellXXX DUH!!! By the next day I had a plethora of pornographic messages. Obviously I had not made a good professional choice, unless you count the world's oldest profession. Nowadays, I see students with cutesy names and cringe a little. ittybittybooboo may be fun for friends and families, but I really think that when you present yourself professionally, you should use a more professional moniker. I also think that when you describe yourself in terms of a non-professional role, you diminish your effectiveness. Thus email@example.com does not confer much respect. Furthermore, I am going to stick out my neck and say that religious or patriotic labels make me cringe a little as well. firstname.lastname@example.org does not resonate with me, nor does email@example.com
- Here's the thing. It is easy to acquire and use several email accounts. If you want to communicate with like minded people with an email name that broadcasts your beliefs, do so and hooray for the 1st Amendment. If you want a cute and humorous name for family and friends, go for it. I do that also with my bell-puns. Just have an account with an appropriate name for your grown-up business and professional communication.
End of vent. I feel much better now. Oh and my most-used email is: firstname.lastname@example.org