“Producer Matthew” was never supposed to be a brand.
It was customary to sign off our Facebook posts with our names when I worked at the FOX affiliate in Sacramento. Producers would sign off with “Producer so-and-so,” while our news director would often sign off as “ND name.” There were two reasons for this: To keep track of who posted what piece of content, and to let our viewers know that human beings, not robots, were behind our Facebook account.
My sign-off was “Producer Matt.” When enough people recognized me from the posts I made on our station’s Facebook page, I decided to use the handle elsewhere — my personal Facebook profile, Twitter, MySpace and so on. However, on one of these accounts, “producermatt” was in use by someone else, so “producermatt” became “producermatthew.”
That was back in 2010, at least one year before my relationship with the station dissolved and I began a sort of entrepreneurial journalism that led first to a gig with ABC and later to a job at Reuters.
I never liked the name though. It read funny, it sounded weird and I hated introducing myself as “Producer Matthew.” On top of that, for the past 10 months, the “Producer” part has been completely irrelevant given my role at Reuters.
I decided I wanted my name associated with the work that I do, not an alias. It’s a little bit easy to start from scratch when an alias, and not your name, is attached to the work you do and the mistakes you make, but it’s harder when your identity is the chip you gamble with.
That’s just one of many reasons for the handle change. It’s not a huge deal, but it is something I had to think quite a bit about. In the future, perhaps I’ll share more of my reasons.