This Saturday night, just after midnight, Facebook is unleashing its new usernames, which will put your real name in the URL of your Facebook profile, putting you one step closer to solidifying your online identity. Instead of displaying a generic URL like http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=921489, Facebook will instead display something along the lines of http://www.facebook.com/michael.kaufmann. This means that instead of telling someone to search for your name and comb though every person that it matches “"and take it from a Michael that there can be a lot of us out there “"you can instead tell someone just to go straight to your URL to find your profile.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 13, you can sign up for a username that can be any combination of letters, numbers, and periods “" but it should probably just be your real name. Facebook isn’t permitting anyone that joined the site after May 31 to get a username to prevent people from squatting on names.
Why is this all happening? Facebook wants your profile to be your identity online. This is why they have Facebook connect, which allows you to log into websites as your Facebook self instead of creating a new username/password combination. Ever since Facebook started to allow Google to index user profiles, it’s been possible to find your Facebook profile via Google search. Since Google’s PageRank algorithm weighs the URL of a site pretty heavily, it will become important to get a good username.
This is all, of course, assuming you want to be Google-able. If you’re looking to leave a minimal electronic footprint, you’d probably continue hiding behind your anonymous ID number. Or just never sign up for Facebook in the first place.