For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by Internet handles. That is, what name do people use on the Internet. Do they use their real name? Are they semi-anonymous with a pseudonym or screen name they like? Is there identity a complete mystery?

In December, I finally decided to act on my curiosity and started asking. The interviews are posted at Origin Story.

I didn’t tell many people about it. But I started to send emails with that subject line, What is your Origin Story?

I debated long and hard about what questions to ask. I didn’t want to ask too many. I didn’t want to ask too much of people’s time and attention. So I tried to keep my questions brief. And even then, the questions have evolved since the first interview.

Here is what I’ve asked everyone.

  • What name do you use on the Internet?
  • Do you keep the same name everywhere?
  • Where did it come from?
  • What does it mean to you?
  • Why did you choose it?
  • Do you ever think of changing it?
  • Why do you / don’t you use your real name?
  • What was your first internet screen name?
  • What is your favorite name you’ve seen in your travels across the net?

I added this question when I realized I was asking these interesting people about their stories. I should also ask them whose story they’d like to hear.

  • Whose origin story would you like to hear next?

Even later on, I realized the blunder I was making by not pointing my readers to these fine folks. So I added the last question.

  • Now that people have heard your story, where can they go to find out more about you?

I’m sure it will continue to evolve as I figure this thing out and bug more people for their stories. I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to take part in my little project so far.

Thank you all! I’ve had a lot of fun with this project so far. And I hope those who have taken part have enjoyed it. I feel like I learn something about each of these people from the answers they send back. And the best part is getting to know people I hadn’t previously crossed paths with on the internet.

It’s been a lot of fun so far. So if you should see an email in your inbox asking about your origin story, I hope you’ll take part.

New Origin Stories go up every Monday morning at Origin Story. New posts are tweeted from @StoriesofOrigin.