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January 1, 2021

Goodbye @macgenie, hello @jean

I’ve been using “macgenie” as my internet name since I first signed up for Digg (Wikipedia article) in March 2007. A friend asked me to “digg” his news story, and I said I would try to do it quickly, but that I often suffered from decision paralysis when it came to choosing a user name. He suggested the name macgenie, a play on my first and last name, with the added hint that I am a Mac-using person and (laughably) have some magical touch with my computer.

It was before Twitter, before the iPhone. I felt a vague unease about using my real name, so I just stuck with @macgenie for all the signups that followed. But I never truly felt connected to the name. Years later, when I tried to switch to my own name, it was too late. (There are tons of Jean MacDonalds out there.) I resigned myself to this online identifier, which had the advantage of being relatively unique.

When we first launched Micro.blog, I debated whether it was time for a new user name. I decided to use @macgenie, because it would be helpful to others if they were cross-posting to Twitter. After nearly four years of microblogging, managing the community, and being part of something that is unique and wonderful, I care a lot less about Twitter. A LOT less. I’m not closing my account there, and may occasionally post and interact with my friends over there, but it’s time to make the switch to @jean. The fact that I asked Manton to reserve the name when we launched was an indicator that I wish I could just be myself.

I’ve noticed a number of people on Micro.blog changing their user names lately. I think this is a natural evolution once you get comfortable with a community and figure out how you want to use your Micro.blog account. It’s not hard to change your user name. But there are some consequences, which I will now be experiencing. The good news is that I’ll be reporting issues to Manton and requesting features, and will soon document the process in a new Help article.