How do people choose good Twitter names? Here are some practical tips: where to start, when to start… even which characters to use!
Get a Twitter name, even if you’re undecided about Twitter
If you read my Why Twitter? series, you may be somewhat curious to find out what Twitter is like. Ultimately, there is no way to know without trying it. Twitter isn’t for everybody, any more than blogging or Facebook or what-have-you, and there’s no shame in that. But if you are still reading, that alone qualifies you as a possible fit — so go for it! Hey, it’s free.
If you’re still undecided, let me give you the nudge I wish someone had given me: There is a window of opportunity to grab the Twitter names of your choice, and that window is closing. Why did I choose “jonmreid” with the M, instead of “jonreid”? Because I was too late — “jonreid” was already taken because I dilly-dallied. It’s kind of like the early days of the Internet, when there was a rush on domain names, except this time it’s for good Twitter names. Sign up, especially if your name is a kind of brand.
Did I mention that Twitter is free?
Good Twitter names: things to keep in mind
- Use your real name: Unless you want to be anonymous, use your real name or your online brand name. People will find you and identify you more easily. They will also identify with you more if you have an intelligible name, rather than a bunch of garble. If you have a nickname or “handle,” use that since these tend to stand out.
- Case doesn’t matter, but the case you set is what people will see. For example, if your name is George Bush (and the name is available), consider using “GeorgeBush” rather than “georgebush”. Don’t worry about making it hard for people to type — because case doesn’t matter, people can enter “georgebush” and it will still mean you. Lowercase may make your name cooler and more “Internet”, or it may make it hard to decipher. Experiment and see which way is better. In my case, I decided lowercase “jonmreid” was easier to read than “JonMReid”.
- Avoid underscores. Twitter names can consist of letters, numbers, and underscores. Avoid underscores! Even as I wrote this, I considered moving to a “Jon_Reid” account. But I pondered this question on Twitter and received a helpful reply which made things clear: For people who Twitter by phone (even iPhone), underscore is hard to get to. You want a name that is easy to enter on such devices. (It’s also hard to say out loud: “jay oh en UNDERSCORE ar ee eye dee.”)
Unlike the bad old days of the Internet, you don’t need to fill out the entire form and submit it to see if a particular username is available; just type something and it’ll tell you right away. What are you waiting for? Go sign up!
Before You Sign Up for Twitter series:
- How to Choose Good Twitter Names
- Your Twitter Profile and First Impressions
- Twitter Background: Don’t Do It!
- Tweet Before You Follow
More Twitter resources: