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What’s your ID?

Does your e-mail ID reveal something about your personality? GEETA PADMANABHAN finds out

It’s one of those ha-ha “findings” – “working overtime appears to raise the risk of developing anxiety and depression,” or “grandma’s presence makes kids feel more secure,” or this gem: “people with poor sense of direction may get lost”. Now German researchers have “found” that e-mail addresses are not only about where you are virtually, they are about who you are really. Your e-mail ID reflects your personality.

Do you need a study to know this?

In this study, a panel of 100 students was given e-mail IDs of 600 young adults. Using personality cues like full stops, numbers or weird-looking names, the students had to guess what the ID owners were like. The study concluded that the interpretations compared well with what the ID owners had said about themselves earlier.

That’s 600 out of what, a billion ID users? Belonging to adolescents, whose hobbies include defying authority and determinedly embracing peer pressure? Sounds like psychobabble. Still, you don’t have to be a behavioural scientist to pick up personality clues in mail IDs. And stories behind ID choices are fun.

Take bonda008@. “Bonda has been my nickname from school days and, of course, I look the part,” says a cheerful Vasanthi Rajiv. Formal IDs seemed to stifle her, so she chose “what represents me as me. I thought I’d be bonda008 because eight is my number. I’ve been asked why I chose to call myself a fried snack when my real name meant spring season. Well, if you could accept Fonda and Honda, why not bonda? Without this nickname, I would still have chosen something that would define me.” There.

Student Ashwini R’s snuffles_1991@ has a magical touch. “Snuffles is the name of Sirius Black, my favourite Harry Potter character, when he turns into a dog,” she says. “I was born in 1991.” She is thrilled her dog is also called Snuffles. Shaliny (yeah, that’s how she spells her name) travels as phoenixluminous@ in the virtual world. “Why I chose this ID? I always add little personal touches to make things feel completely mine,” she says. “I love the concept of a phoenix bird and what it symbolises. I’m attracted to things associated with fire and light. The legendary phoenix rising from its ashes, the colour of the sunset — a deep, fiery mix of orange and red — the striking colour of flames ... all of that appeals to me.” Oh, well. Padirag isn’t too odd for Padmini Raghavan, but the “trek” she adds to it is significant. “The ‘trek’ was put in because I found ‘Padirag’ had already been used by someone,” she says. “I am keen on trekking, though I manage to do it only once in five or six years.”

And so it goes.

That’s their passion

Brian Thomas loves dogs and so barks bowwowk9 online. Balaji is blow_bull. Cat woman Devika Khazvini is predictably copycatt@, Sharad Haksar is creative@1pointsize – believes art begins with the first point on paper.

Gimli Son Of Gloin (Lord of the Rings fan?) is emperor_jew@, Gita Kirupakaran runs an art gallery, so her gita_adyarart@ doesn’t hurt. Leela Balakrishnan’s greenleela@ does tell us about her passion.

Kavita Sivaramakrishnan obviously travels a lot — she is kavita_traveller@, Bhagavad Gita teacher Radhika Krishnakumar spreads spirituality with omkaar108, Vasudev, a Gita disciple, is unsurprisingly qrshna (the regular spellings must have been appropriated), Rahul Rangan confidently wears his hobby on his ID as percussionboy1. Sunita Jagdish cryptically calls herself s_j_a_e@, Guru Arjun offers rapidcure@. It’s elementary why Adish e-mails as sherlock2005@, Swaran Singh is plain swarangold@ or what Sankar Varadarajan does for a living – his address is ucovardu@.

Sure some of the IDs got created by default. After ten rejections by a heartless machine, you’re ready to grab the one that’s available. But even if your ID is a simple first name dot second name, it’s probably because you are a no-nonsense person. Accepting what’s available could put you down as accommodative! If you’re forgetful or have several virtual aliases, you might choose ones easy to remember.

Telltale ids

nan_gandi : Sonia

kp5050 : Priya

aries.23 : Uma

pushfwds : Pushya

yash4uxxx : Yash

greenleela : Leela Balakrishnan

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