It’s 2012. You download Snapchat on your iPod touch because everyone in your 6th grade classroom is talking about it. The FOMO starts to set in, so you download the app as soon as you get off the bus and arrive home. It finally downloads, as you wait in silence for it to load. Snapchat sits on your home screen—the wallpaper being a screenshot from a Vine you found comical. You open the app, and the yellow background shocks your eyes as you wonder what a ghost has to do with the word “Snapchat.” You start to make an account, and the word that you know well begins to have a deeper meaning: your username.
You question, what should your username be? Maybe you called up a friend, or maybe you just wanted it to be your name, but little did you know, you would not be able to change the username until the year 2022.
As Snapchat becomes more popular and one of the major communicative apps amongst the younger community, the words, “Can I have your Snapchat?” starts to become a weekly occurrence. Except, maybe you were not someone who just did your name with a couple of numbers. Instead, when you were sitting in that room that day, you decided that you wanted to do something a little funny, or you just didn’t find your name interesting.
After ten grueling years, Snapchat announced in February 2022 that all users could change their username at last.
Jennifer Lopez—not the actress—but a student from the University of Iowa, gave her thoughts on the new Snapchat update.
“I honestly thought Snapchat would let us change them sooner because many people wanted to change them, but I knew they would allow us some time,” she said.
Lopez made the username at a young age: “Jloswimgirl.”
“I was embarrassed by my username, which is essentially why I wanted to change it because everyone who read it would laugh,” Lopez said.
Jon Carlson, another student affected by the username scandal, made his username in 7th grade when he first learned how to say his name in Spanish.
“It didn’t really work as I was made fun of by my brother and his friends,” he said. “I was embarrassed by it, but it became somewhat of a joke to cope with it.”
Another reason someone might want to change their username is because they simply spelled something wrong.
“My username used to be ‘iowahaks.’ I made it in 5th [grade] and I wanted it to be ‘iowahawks,’ but I guess I couldn’t spell hawks right. It’s funny, though, because I go to the University of Iowa now. May ‘iowahaks’ rest in power,” said Kendin Scheitlin.
Zach Svoboda, another student at the University of Iowa, was extremely excited about the username change feature.
“I was horribly embarrassed by my previous username, which was created in 7th grade. I had made it a stupid sports nickname I had been given in football,” he said. “For nearly six years, my Snapchat username remained ‘minitron0507.’”
Ever since Snapchat announced that you can officially change your username, some students are excited to distance themselves from their teenager decisions. Others, though, have no problem saying their username when asked for their Snapchat.
“I don’t think someone should change their original Snapchat name because that’s a part of their personal history from childhood that they can always look back to,” said local Iowa student Braden Ernst. “To me, it’s just something sentimental in a way.”
“My nickname at school before I had Snapchat was ‘Gingee,’ and so I made my snap username ‘irish_gingee,’” Ernst said.
The username made Ernst feel like it was a symbol of who he is. According to Ernst, when he does say the username, he might get some looks but isn’t ashamed of it.
Another University of Iowa student also agrees with Ernst. Travis Thomas said that he will not be changing his username, even though it is ‘potatotacocorn.’
“I think having a goofy Snapchat username has always been the culture. It’s funny to look back and see what the younger you was thinking,” said Thomas.
Username embarrassment seems to be a common experience when it comes to the Snapchat dilemma. With social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook allowing users to freely change their username from the beginning, It almost felt like Snapchat wanted its users to suffer.
Some people may have created a new Snapchat because they could not go through life having to explain their Snapchat username anymore, while others stuck through it because they felt there was no point in even creating a new Snapchat. Those who accepted their awkward username fate are now finally able to change it, and while some jumped on the chance to do so, some decided not to. The new generation of Snapchat users will never understand the struggle of the irreversible Snapchat username.