The power of names, part two— @antlerboy

Benjamin P. Taylor
2 min readJul 1, 2021

What name would you choose, if you had to rename yourself? And why am I antlerboy?

People might know @antlerboy is my consistent user name on social media — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and everything else. It’s a little bit embarrassing.

My former business partner, not too much given to wasteful professional niceties, asked me if I didn’t think it was too unprofessional.

I even have a schtick when introducing myself at talks: ‘no, it’s not a public school joke or a bizarre hunting accident….’

The problem is, Ben Taylor (as I used to go by) is an *incredibly* common name in the world. Even Benjamin Taylor (which I grew into), or even Benjamin P. Taylor, are nowhere near unique. So every time I sign up for a new social network… my name is gone. The best I ever did was get in early at HoTMaiL — and got ben_taylor…

And then came an office Christmas party, at the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, end of the last millennium… an anagram round, and antlerboy came up… I didn’t get it, but a colleague did. ‘There you go, that’s your username’. So I got the name from Tony Louki, latterly the 55th Mayor of Hounslow

And I guess that was just when social media was getting going. So @antlerboy I became — and, guess what, it’s usually consistently available! :-)

There is some guy on YouTube using it, and someone on Etsy or DeviantArt (there’s always someone on Etsy or DeviantArt — same with RedQuadrant!), but I manage to get it most places.

It does have a bit of mystery going for it, a hint of the ancient gods — and a hint of some kind of exotic superhero (or at least sidekick) — and, like most names, it just seems to be sticking around. Oh, and ‘thanks’ to Alex Hough for the illustrations!

That’s my story — what’s your story? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ended up being called? How did you get stuck with your name?