So as of today at 0401 UTC, Facebook finally decided to join the 21st century and give it users URLs that they can actually remember and give out. I joined the stampede and was waiting with an open browser tab as the clock turned 9:01 PM here in California. Much to my surprise, Facebook did not go down—I had thought that with 200,000,000 users surely it would look like a DDOS attack. However, it stayed up, and although Facebook let its employees grab the good usernames first and /larryandersongot taken by someone in the Bay Area, I was able to get my preferred short username. All good.
It seems to me, though, that while those of us who are geeky enough to spend Friday night in front of a browser got reasonable usernames, the rest of the world is going to be disappointed. With hundreds of millions of John Smiths, Muhammads and Rajivs in the world, there are going to be a lot of people who end up with URLs like http://www.facebook.com/jsmith123. In other words, it'll look like AOL screen names in 1995.
A far better way of dealing with it is to get your own domain. That way, you can set up a redirect and give people a URL like jsmith.com/facebookor facebook.jsmith.com, and the actual URL assigned by Facebook (or any other service) doesn't matter. Even better, _it's something that you control._For what domains cost these days, literally just a few dollars a year, it's money well spent if you care about your digital identity.
Oh, and my Facebook URL? You can find out which one I got from Facebook by going to http://facebook.larryanderson.org.
Note (2016-10-15): I no longer have a Facebook account.