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What’s in a user name? Maybe more than you think.

On most online platforms including Boondockers Welcome, you need to choose a user name for yourself when you register. This is the public name you will go by; other users of the site will know you by this name. Think of it as a nickname, your handle, screen name, or login name.

Why do you need a user name? 

The main purpose of a user name is to protect your privacy. Make the wrong choice, and you’ve done the opposite. (See what names you should avoid below.)

With Boondockers Welcome this is particularly important if you’re a host because you don’t want traveling RVers to easily figure out your address and, potentially, arrive without your prior approval. Your public profile shows only your general area, but unless you’ve accepted a guest’s request, not your exact location. They might figure it out much more easily though if they know your real name.

How to choose a user name

  • You will become known to fellow members and us, the website administrators, by your user name, so make it something that you don’t mind us addressing you by. 
  • If possible, make it memorable, something that rolls off the tongue easily. 
  • The name you choose identifies a persona; like it or not, it will reflect how people see you.
  • Remember the purpose of the website you’re on, and who you’re trying to impress. The name you use when playing online video games may not work well on Boondockers Welcome. A host may have second thoughts about accepting a request from someone who calls him or herself “shithead” or troublemaker”.
  • Be creative and unique. However, no matter what you choose, it’s possible that someone else thought of it, too, and your perfect user name is already taken. That doesn't need to stop you - you can just adapt it slightly. E.g. “WonderingWanderer” may have to be changed to “WonderingWanderer2” or “Wondering.wanderer”. 

Once you’ve set it, try not to change it. Unlike a password, it should not be changed frequently or at all if not necessary. People you’ve met through our site will likely remember you by your user name. Changing it will make it more difficult for them to track you down again.

There are, however, legitimate and very good reasons to change your user name. For instance, perhaps you did not consider the following points when you created yours. 

Names to avoid

  • Avoid using your birthday, email address, any combination of your real first and last name, or other names that will easily identify you. 
  • Avoid choosing the same user name you use on other websites. In some instances, you may want people to find you across multiple interconnected platforms, where it would make sense. But, if you’re well known by a user name elsewhere, and it’s a unique name, it becomes easier to identify you on any website, related or not.
  • Have you ever googled your own name to see what comes up? Your Boondockers Welcome profile is public so, if you use your real name there, that page will come up in a search.
  • Your user name is not a password - it’s public, not secret, and there’s no security factor to it. So, don’t make it look like a password. Others on the website will remember and refer to you by this name, and 249Y&5vcw?3N is just not something they’re likely to remember.

Changing your Boondockers Welcome user name

You can change your user name on most websites at any time. 

Knowing what you do now, if you’d like to change your Boondockers Welcome user name, simply go to Your Account Details. Find the user name field, type in a new name, and click “change user name”. 

Presto - your new name replaces every instance on the web site where your old user name appeared. That is, with one exception - if someone referred to you by your user name in a recommendation, it won’t be affected. So scroll to the bottom of your user profile page to read those. (If you’ve used the site a lot, there may be several pages.) It’s always fun anyway to review all the praises that previous guests and hosts heaped on you, isn’t it? Then send us a note if any of them include your old user name. We’ll find and update each instance to reflect your new chosen name.

It’s important to note that simply changing all this information on the website will not immediately change it in a google search. Google has already indexed the old page and the information will remain in their caches for a few weeks until they realize that the page has changed. This is, unfortunately, beyond the control of any website owners themselves and even deleting a page will not make Google remove it from their index any faster. 

As always, if you have any questions or if you decide you want to change your user name and need advice or help, just give us a shout. After all, that’s what we’re here for! 

Comments

  • WanderingMay

    WanderingMay  

    Our user name is the name of our RV, which we decided on, before we bought our RV in 2012. In 2010 my Mom lived with us for the last seven weeks of her life. Any money I recieved from her, I planned to use for travel, (it was my parents, that gave me my love of travel) including the purchase of an RV. I was able to tell her that before she passed away. I also told her our RV would be named Wandering May (which it is) or Wrong Way May (because she had a terrible sense of direction), which made her laugh. It is because of my Mom that we have been able to visit 9 Provinces and 43 States.
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