How Important Is Your Twitter Username?

I remember back in the 6th grade, Calvin Klein jeans were very popular. All the girls in “the club” wore them, and I begged my mother to take me shopping for a pair so I could be cool. Now that I’m an adult, I’m noticing that there are still things in life that can make us cool, but it’s no longer as easy as buying a pair of blue jeans.

Now much of our coolness has transitioned to being part of our online persona. It seems one of the factors playing a big role in our online social status is our username. I’ve known this for a while, but only today have I really thought about it.

Since I own an Apple certified technology company in Atlanta, it only seemed obvious to me to incorporate those words into my username when I signed up for my Twitter account in March of 2009. However, that mistake, which many business owners make, bugs me to no end now.

In the online world, the shorter the username the better. In my opinion, this even trumps using your company name. Respect on Twitter is tough to get, and once you get it, it’s worth its weight in gold. With it will automatically come the brand recognition, so you don’t necessarily need it in your username. For example, the Twitter usernames with only one letter (i.e. @A or @B) automatically bring with them a level of respect and notoriety since they are so hard to come by. There was a very interesting article written last week on The Atlantic about this. They featured each person (26 total) that have one letter Twitter usernames.

Short Twitter Usernames Are Best

So, even if you can’t get a one letter username, having a short one still carries a ton of advantages. From a technical standpoint, obviously your tweets will be able to be RT’ed even more since your username takes up so few characters. My username takes up a ridiculous 15 characters out of the precious 140. Also, if someone is sending you a tweet and they are using an app that doesn’t auto-complete the username, they have to type it in manually. Who wants to do that? Nobody.  When I type in my own username, half the time I misspell it and have to start over.  If you have a long username, it’s annoying to say the least.

But also, besides the technical reasons, just from a psychological perspective, having a short username will definitely make you stand out in a sea of usernames with strings of numbers and seemingly useless characters. I remember when my dear friend @kim was @kimsherrell back in the day. She was definitely on to something when she had the foresight to change her username, and she wrote an article about how to do it here on the Kim Sherrell blog. The Next Web even wrote an article about how to be notified when your new desired Twitter username becomes available.

How To Change Twitter Username

Now that we’ve determined shorter usernames are better for lots of reasons, I have a new dilemma to consider. I want to change my username, but I have over 35,000 followers. Will I lose some of my online influence if I suddenly change usernames? Will I lose the attention of some of my followers if they no longer recognize my name? Will my avatar be enough to sustain the recognition? I suppose I could ask my friend @AnitaNelson who has over 72,000 followers. She recently went from @ModelSupplies to @AnitaNelson. I wonder what her experience was. She didn’t change her username to be shorter, she changed it because her tweets reflect more of her personal views rather than business. I will ask her about this.

Before I close out, I want to bring your attention to an article I read that is really funny yet points out some very insightful truths about what your username says about you. You can check that out at What your Twitter @name says about you. Also, this article in the Wall Street Journal touched on the subject last week and offered an interesting perspective.

I would love to know your opinion on this topic. Stay tuned for more on this from me…

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Via: [Book of Joe]