Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why "tvjames"? What does it mean?

Occasionally I'll hear someone ask what "tvjames" means. Sometimes they'll think "tv" means something very different than it does. In a way, this is my digital "tattoo" - a choice I made years ago that now I have to live with.  My digital brand is all tied to "tvjames" even though it's a slightly outdated term now.  It all happened long ago in a land far, far away.

Los Angeles, that is.

I had just graduated from college, been recruited as the first employee of an internet startup and we had the assignment to create a website for a brand new television show for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We were originally TV Net and then UTV: Your Ultimate Television Network and then UltimateTV - now you know it at as (Microsoft wanted the UltimateTV name and was willing to pay handsomely for it.)

Anyhow, part of the new site was a forum attended by fans as well as the show's cast, crew and creators. I participated as a fan and as a semi-official voice of the website (but not the show), encouraging conversation and helping police the forum. I decided pretty early on that I needed a unique and identifiable persona and chose "TV James." Eventually in time, I dropped the space and made the entire thing lowercase (tvjames or "tvj" for short) because it was better for Search Engine Optimization, especially after a certain bleach-blonde vampire portrayed by an actor named James was added to the show. As I've established new digital claims online, I've tried to be consistent, even if it's slightly outdated now because it's got search history and I'm identified in at least one book and at least one doctoral thesis as James Lamb aka tvjames.  (Oh, and Wikipedia, too.)

Sadly, at least one other person is also trying to make this their personal brand persona because it's the initials to their first and middle name plus their last name and in some cases has established made the digital land grab to the nickname so it's not 100% perfect, but I do score high on Google, far better than with my own name since there's a Canadian band named James Lamb (really!) and a (now deceased author) named James Lamb Free who wrote a very popular book about training dogs. There's also a few criminals with my name that clutter up Google searches for my real name. And also an actual show runner in L.A. who recruits for trashy reality show who has a very similar email address to mine. I sometimes get get photos and stories from women who want free makeovers intending to reach him.

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