This includes subbing in "1"s for "i"s, but also riffs on the AOL chatroom trope of suffixing a username with "4u".
Although 53 percent of usernames in Herring's survey included a number, very few of the numbers seemed to have personal meaning.
Based on these tags, she was able to draw a few conclusions about usernames, how men and women differ in choosing them, and how choosing usernames has changed since the advent of the Internet.
Because it draws on a smallish sample size, the study is neither comprehensive nor definitive.
I was curious about whether my tendency to critique usernames more harshly than photos was universal, and decided to speak with a linguist about whether or not the language of our online dating avatars says something about who we are.
"Most numbers seemed to have been included to differentiate the username from other similar usernames in the system," Herring said.
Only five percent of usernames surveyed included geographic information, and zero percent included pop culture references such as band names.
“Moreover, the kinds of attributes they mention differ from those mentioned by men.” While "cuddly," "silly," "sweet," and "faithful" were all used in the women’s profiles she surveyed, men gravitated towards "sexy," "cool," "mellow," and "great." According to Herring's survey, usernames on OKCupid are an average of 10.5 characters.
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.