I’m on social media. That’s not exactly news since a whole lot of people are there these days but I have a mildly amusing story about it today. On most social media you have to pick a name to go by. Since I’m an artist who wants people to know who I am I generally go by my own name. I use “jaredosborn” in as many places as possible but I’m not always the first one there with that name so sometimes I go with “artbyosborn.” As an artist that makes sense and is easy for people to find.

Instagram has been the best for me. It’s not great but at least I have 900 people who follow me there. Only my YouTube channel has more subscribers at about 2000 (I’m jaredosborn there). I don’t get a ton of likes for any given post on Instagram but with the new Reels feature it says that a bunch of people (5000) have seen my videos. I’m not sure how real that number is but it’s a bigger number than anyplace else.

I’m relatively new to TikTok. I signed up for it years ago but didn’t find it very interesting or useful. That combined with the reports that the app collected tons of information on its users made me stop using it. I didn’t even miss it.

Years had passed since I abandoned TikTok and Apple put new privacy filters in place that let us tell apps that they weren’t allowed to collect info on us. That got me a little more interested in TikTok again so I reinstalled the app. Then I didn’t do much with it. It just sat there.

Sometime over the years TikTok must have upped the length of time that videos were allowed to use. I think it’s around three minutes now. At the beginning of the summer 0f 2022 I tried out TikTok again and discovered there were a lot of people making interesting videos that taught me stuff. I got back on again to watch them.

At this point I don’t even remember what my user name was a TikTok at the beginning of summer. I wasn’t posting much there and just watching so my user name was unimportant to me. But then I decided to post some stuff there so I thought that I’d better sync up my user name with the rest of my social media. JaredOsborn was already taken so I decided to go with Art By Osborn. Except artbyosborn was also taken.

It was really odd that artbyosborn was taken since that was usually the one I could get. I clicked on the artbyosborn user and he had zero videos. There was no activity on his channel. I suspected that I may have signed up under that user name a long time ago and had forgotten about it.

I decided to look in an old book where I used to write down passwords but couldn’t find anything there. Then I used the “Reset password” feature to try and find out if the account was mine. I used about half a dozed email addresses that I use but none of them were recognized by TikTok. That put an end to my investigations.

Despite me being an Apple user for about thirty years I didn’t have an iPhone until a year ago. I don’t even use the phone a whole lot. For working I use my desktop, for writing and some web surfing I use my laptop, and for going on social media and goofing around in general I use my iPad. My phone is for when I’m out and need to stay in touch.

This week the fall semester started and I have to commute into NYC and do some teaching. This means I need to bring some gear with me. I have an “Art go bag” with a bunch of art supplies in it so I can do a little bit of drawing on my commute. It also holds my camera for taking street photos, my food, my water, and my phone.

As I was double checking my bag the morning of my commute I saw that I didn’t have TikTok on my phone. It was no big deal. I had noticed that before and not done anything about it because I don’t watch TikTok on my phone. But I decided since it was a new semester and that meant some new habits that I may as well put it on my phone.

After installing TikTok it asked me how I wanted to sign in. I could sign in with an email address, an Apple ID, a Facebook name, or a Twitter name. For most things I use an email address but not always. Sometimes I sign in with an Apple ID because that means I can use my fingerprint instead of a password. That’s convenient.

Not knowing how I originally signed up for TikTok I decided to go with my Apple ID. After all I just had to use my fingerprint that way. It worked but guess what? I signed in and saw that I was indeed “artbyosborn.” I must have originally set up TikTok with my Apple ID because here was the “No Posts” identity that I found when looking for “artbyosborn” on my iPad.

The first thing that I did was go to the section where I could change my user name and changed it to “artbyosbornold.” That way I could use the the TikTok identity that I’ve been using this year with no idea that I already had one. I moved a little bit fast though. Since I was doing this just a little while before I had to head out for my commute I couldn’t set up my second identity to use the name. There was a bit of a lag.

I had to head out for the train without claiming the “artbyosborn” name for my second identity. I knew the odds of anyone else claiming the name wasn’t really very high but still I was like, “C’mon, I can’t believe this.” It wasn’t until the end of the day when I was waiting in the Secaucus Junction train station that I got a chance to claim the name. It was still there of course.

So now things are synced up. On both Instagram and TikTok I’m “artbyosborn.” Stop on by and say hello.