By Adam Jackson
This is an unedited excerpt from my upcoming book project that is still unnamed. You can follow the book’s progress at 140 characters.com.
Choosing your username is very important depending on what you plan on doing in the twitterspehere. Individuals who frequent social networks and have many logins or have built up their own brand on Twitter, will go with a name that they use on every other network. I use AdamJackson on every network as the default username. Other users have aliases that they use everywhere. Where things get complicated is when you are going to use Twitter for business and then choosing a name becomes a little challenging.
There are some factors when choosing a Twitter username that you need to keep in mind. One of those is the length of the name. The name needs to be as short as possible for a couple of reasons. First, if someone wants to reply to a tweet, having a long name will mean that their reply of 140 characters will be affected because your username “@my-really-complicated-name” just consumed a great portion of the typing space. A short name like “@dom” or “@t” means there is more room for the person to write their reply. The second issue with having a long or complicated username is the issue of spelling your name when they are interested in viewing your twitter replace or manually typing your name into their cell phone when trying to reply. Avoid using a lot of hyphens, uncommon spellings and of course keeping the length down. There have been situations when I wanted to direct message someone via my mobile phone and typing in “@ipwn_mst$r” into my phone is just too time consuming so I’m less likely to send that person a reply.
This book won’t help you decide what username to pick but I can offer some basic suggestions when it comes to picking a username when joining a social network. Generally, your first and last name will do as a username. If your name is John Smith then your name might already be taken but uncommon names usually aren’t used. Why not use an alias? It’s fine to use an alias or nickname but “applepimp101” takes away some intimacy and you’re hiding behind a mask. I always encourage people to use their real names and here’s another reason. Google Page Rank is something everyone is fighting for and Twitter can really help. By Twittering as AdamJackson for the past year, a search for my name will result in links to my Twitter page above other people by the same name. When I apply for a job, it’s not “applepimp101” applying for that job and I want employers to find my Twitter account because they can see the real me. If you’re Twittering about things that should remain secret then by all means choose a name that keeps your identity secret but if it’s just day to day things about you then using your real name is the most widely adopted way to become a part of social networking. Of note, you can change your Twitter name anytime via settings so don’t stress too much on the name choosing session.
If this Twitter presence will be an extension of your business then it’s a little more complicated. Will you be tweeting as the business for the purpose of interacting with customers or will be you tweeting as an employee of this company and mixing personal & professional thoughts onto Twitter? If the boss has asked you to join Twitter for the sake of interacting with customers and increasing brand recognition then create a Twitter account that matches the company name. Try to keep it small. Of course, it’s in your best interest to not Twitter too many personal thoughts when Tweeting as your company. We’ll go into this a little later because this has gotten some employees in trouble. If you’ll be Tweeting day to day things and mixing in company tweets then join as yourself and mention that you work for this company in your bio on Twitter.
Carefully choose your name because there are a few factors involved. Short, simple and relevant names garner the most attention from other Twitter users.