How to Choose a Good Twitter Name

Jan 18th, 20114 Comments

You’ve decided to sign up for Twitter and now need to choose your own Twitter username or “handle”.

But what IS a good Twitter name?

First things first:  Your username can be as long as 15 characters. Early adopters of Twitter often have short names, but you should err on the side of clarity versus brevity.  For example, local company BackupMy, Inc chose “backupmytweets“, which tells you exactly what the service does, even if the name is longer.

Several good blog posts discuss do’s and don’t of choosing a Twitter handle.  I like Hubspot’s Rebecca Corliss, Dummies.com, Jon Reid’s BlogOneAnother, and Comm’s Corner.  To sum them up:

  1. Use your real name if at all possible.
  2. Avoid underscores and numbers.  However, as the number of users on Twitter increases, more people will resort to underscores and numbers.
  3. Avoid meaningless or silly names such as CraftyGirl or YogurtFiend. Of course, if you happen to do crafts or sell yogurt, these names are great.  (If you have a yogurt store, as berryaustin does, the actual name of your store is better, or at least more searchable.)
  4. Use a variation of your name that incorporates what you do.  The popular Austin band Spoon is SpoonTheBand. Austinite Jerry Woodward, an alternative energy advocate, is Solar4Life.
  5. Use your location – just make sure you’re not planning to move anytime soon. AustinDirtyDog is a local self-service dog wash. Austin’s legendary rock club, Emo’s, is emosaustin. Entrepreneur and inspirational quotemaster Jackson Thomas is TexasJackFlash.

To find out if your desired name is available, go to Twitter’s homepage and click on the orange signup button. Ignore the Full name box for a minute and just try your desired name in the Username box. Before we got CedarSageMktg, we tried to claim CedarSage:

trying to get CedarSage as our Twitter handle

You’re out of luck if someone has already claimed your real name, or even your real business name.  For now, Twitter will act only on trademark violations.  Your best alternative is to use a variation of your name – see COMM’s Corner’s “What Your Twitter Name Says About You” for some insightful ideas on name variations. We eventually went with CedarSageMktg.

getting CedarSageMktg as our Twitter handle

So it’s available – great!  But wait – let’s talk uppercase and lowercase.  Notice that we typed CedarSageMktg instead of cedarsagemktg.  It’s more clear and less confusing – we want people to think “cedar sage”, not “cedars age”.

Take another of our favorite resources, Marketing Profs in Boston.  One of their handles is MProfsEvents, which is much clearer than mprofsevents.  Twitter handles are not case-sensitive, so the names are effectively the same, and fellow Twitter users won’t have to worry about typing the correct case.  But your chosen case does show up forevermore in all your tweets, so choose wisely.

The hard part is done.  Just a few more steps:

Enter your Full Name, as we did with Cedar Sage Marketing. This must be 20 or fewer characters, but does not have to be unique.

Choose a strong password; people have been known to hack into Twitter.

After you create the account, Twitter will send you an email request for confirmation.  Once you confirm, you’ll have a Twitter account with a great, well thought-out name.

Excitement ahead signThere are many productive (and even fun) things you can do with Twitter. Future blog posts will discuss how to set up your profile, how to search for and follow informative people in your industry, how to filter through the Twitter noise, and more.

- Suzanne Doughty

2 Responses to “How to Choose a Good Twitter Name”

  1. [...] claim your Twitter username or “handle”.  It’s important to choose a good name that represents you or your business.   Once you do that, your Twitter account will display the [...]

  2. [...] we had to think of acceptable alternatives.  I researched how to choose a good twitter name, and we decided on @CedarSageMktg.  Not perfect, but good [...]

  3. Thanks Suzanne! I appreciate you sharing this via the SMMI training :-) !

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    [...] we had to think of acceptable alternatives.  I researched how to choose a good twitter name, and we decided on @CedarSageMktg.  Not perfect, but good [...]