Humble Beginnings

Posted on January 26, 2010


Before I get too carried away in the blogosphere, I thought it’d be helpful to note the evolution of ‘tron, my very first piece of personal branding– my screen name.

Once, I wanted to be the greatest…

The nickname ‘tron spun an identity all its own. Originally, it stood for the last four letters of the more than 10-year-old screen name that put me on the “popular” map– Mandeetron. Just as any other rebellious teenager suffering an awkward identity (crisis), I rejected the idea of displaying my persona using my name and some silly numbers. After all, cyberspace allowed you to be whomever you wanted, so why squander such opportunity on your regular self? Back then, it was a creep breeding ground. A/S/L? Hell, no! I’ll continue stalking my future boyfriend, thanks.

About the same time I was experimenting with calligraphy, I experimented with my name. I spent countless trivially frustrating hours explaining to peers that I was NOT an Amanda and I never identified with the M-a-n-d-i-crossed-with-a-heart group (like Stacey in the Baby-sitters Club). Instead, I realized I’d never met a Mand-e-e. Perfect. Mine. When friends would virtually yell or whine at me, it became a contest to see who could make the longest name, “Mandeeeeeeeeeeeee, come to the pit tonight!”

Mandee was also one of those 15-minute-trendy-but-cool-like-Delia*s clothing stores. I remember ripping out the glossy ads from Cosmo and adding them to the collage on the walls of my teenage sanctuary. Each and every word on those ads was either a dead-on attribute of mine or something to which I aspired, post-awkward phase, of course.

The ‘tron followed as an afterthought. Magnetic forces fascinated the science nerd in me. The simplicity of positive and negative electricity seduced me. What a fabulous way, I subconsciously thought, to convey my own magnetic field by classifying myself among electrons and neutrons. Maybe then that’ll catch his attention…

A dear friend of mine was already rocking the “tron” for the other innately cool reason– Transformers.

She was exotic, worldly, super intelligent and this made her breathtakingly crazy-sexy-cool. So, I thought, let’s try it on for size. The rest was history– online history that was kept somewhat private. Since tracking and data mining wasn’t quite there yet, I believe those conversations have been laid to rest. It’s a shame, because I’d give millions to read some of those again.

Thinking back to the ‘tron days helps me re-master my edition of a fun and fearless femme. Maybe that innocence is gone, but the sentiment surely isn’t. If you have “MaNdEeTrOn” stories please save me the embarrassment and DM (via Twitter, Facebook) or e-mail me. Ah, who am I kidding? In honor of challenging the privacy wars— share on, dudes and dudettes.