The typical train of thought is that your IRC nick is the same one you would apply in other social spheres. Since most people know me from Twitter, and my nick there is @pnkrcklibrarian, for this particular IRC server, that is what I went with. A good rule of thumb is to be consistent across various networks that you interact on so that people can follow you. You can also choose to anonymize yourself by choosing a nick that best represents something you're interested in or identify with that is not used on other social spheres. It really is completely up to you on what you feel most comfortable with and there is typically no hard/fast rules.
If you decide you'll be hanging out on #libtechwomen a lot (or on irc.freenode.net in general), it might be a good idea to register your nick as explained here http://freenode.net/faq.shtml#userregistration because the short answer is, sometimes people are assholes.
A good primer on IRC is available here http://www.irchelp.org/irchelp/irctutorial.html You can download/install a client OR you can connect via the web (http://webchat.freenode.net/) if you so choose.
If you have anymore questions, please feel free to contact me off list. I'll be more than happy to help!
> From: Code for Libraries [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Robertson,
> Wendy C [[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Monday, December 10, 2012 1:42 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [CODE4LIB] basic IRC question/comments
> Hi -
> This is perhaps not so much a question as sharing of thoughts and questions
> that ran through my head before doing something as seemingly simple as
> joining an IRC. I am guessing other women may have similar thoughts, so I
> thought it might be useful to share.
> I have never participated in an IRC, so I am looking at #libtechwomen as a
> place to get started. I have looked at the IRC info I found linked on the
> code4lib wiki (specifically
> http://www.irchelp.org/irchelp/new2irc.html#detail and
> http://code4lib.org/irc/faq, in case I have missed something useful).
> Before joining, I need to create a user name. I am trying to decide what I
> should use as a user name and so wonder whether I should use my obviously
> female first name. I am wondering if the IRC nickname is used only within
> this one IRC, how long lasting it is, how public the name is etc. I looked
> at the list of names http://www.code4lib.org/node/87 and saw that most (but
> not all) people listed were men (which honestly is a bit off putting). My
> twitter handle (wendyrlibrarian) uses my first name, so I am clearly not
> opposed to using it publicly, but I know in many tech areas women tend to
> uses names that do not show themselves as obviously female.
> I have no concerns about representing myself as a woman in the code4lib
> community. It just isn't clear to me if the same user name would typically be
> used in multiple groups. (At this time, I don't see myself joining anything
> other than the #libtechwomen or #code4lib channel so I am not too concerned
> about this aspect).
> Wendy Robertson
> Digital Scholarship Librarian * The University of Iowa Libraries
> 1015 Main Library * Iowa City, Iowa 52242
> [log in to unmask] * 319-335-5821
Lisa M. Rabey, MA, MLIS
Systems & Web Librarian
Grand Rapids Community College
p: 616.234.3786 | e: [log in to unmask]
http://grcc.edu/library | http://grcc.edu/library/socialmedia