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She compared this with the number of characters in usernames from Internet Relay Chat logs she's saved from 1999 -- names on that site were an average of 6.6 characters.
Admittedly, my personal history of username selection isn’t without blemishes.
My first, chosen for a dial-up Compu Serve account, was Pool Princess6030, a blatant ripoff of my BFF's moniker, sport2040.
But, another data-driven researcher I spoke with, Susan Herring, a professor of information science and linguistics at Indiana University, found the question intriguing.
She conducted a small study to determine whether there are trends in username choice, and whether the way we choose usernames has changed since Internet’s nascent days.
Because it draws on a smallish sample size, the study is neither comprehensive nor definitive.