Choosing the right Twitter name is important, just as it is important to choose the right email address. Opting for [email protected] may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but things look a little different when you have to use that address to apply for a job!
It’s the same with Twitter. When you first signed up for an account, you may not have given much thought to just how you were going to use the site. The time may well come when you wish you’d chosen a different username. In fact it is possible to change it — and you needn’t lose any followers along the way!
You might be thinking ‘it’s easy to change my Twitter username’, and you’d be right. But there is an easy way to go about it and a clever way to go about it. If you just change your username, you can’t be sure that you will be able to maintain contact with people who only know your old username; just think of all of the places you’ve posted your Twitter details that someone might find!
The Easy Way
Changing your username could hardly be simpler. Pay a visit to Twitter and sign into your account. Click the gear icon to the upper right of the page and select Settings. In the Username field you can enter the name you’d prefer to use and you’ll be told whether or not it’s available.
When you’ve found a username that you like and is available, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click the Save changes button. You’ll be prompted to re-enter your account password before the change is made.
The New Account
This is all well and good, but it is not a perfect solution by any means. If you have made reference to your old username in blog posts, emails and other places, people looking to follow you could end up following someone else — as your old username is freed up as soon as you change to a new one.
A better option would be to sign up for a completely new account. You want a new username so the easiest thing to do it is to just create a new one, isn’t it? This is certainly an option, and is easily achieved. You’ll have to sign out of your current account, or use a different web browser to create a new one.
Return to the main Twitter page and to the lower right of the page enter your name, an email address other than the one you have used for your existing account, choose a password and hit Sign up for Twitter.
You’ll then be prompted to choose a new username, and Twitter will check to ensure that it is free. When you manage to find a username you like that is still available, fill in the rest of the details requested of you and click Create my account.
You’ll then be guided through the process of setting up your account so you can be up and running quite quickly.
The Clever Way
But this is still not ideal. The best way to tackle changing your Twitter username is to use a combination of these two methods. It might seem slightly longwinded, but it’s well worth it, and leaves you in full control of your account at all times.
Using the first method I’ve outlined you end up losing your original username. This might seem like a small price to pay, but it’s something you could end up regretting. Using the second method, you end up with the username of your choice, but you have to start from scratch building up a new set of followers.
What we are looking to do in an ideal scenario to create a new account and transfer followers to it. This is not something that can be done, but with a bit of fiddling it is possible to switch the usernames of two accounts, effectively taking your followers with.
It’s not possible to just swap usernames between accounts — they are both in use, after all. What you can do however, it temporarily change the username of one of your accounts to something you are not interested in keeping. This frees up one of the names you are interested in so you can assign it to your other account.
This may sound complicated, but it’s not really. I’ll break down how I did it.
- I had been using the username @sparklemarkle for many years but decided that it wasn’t quite suitable for what I was using it for. With this in mind, I used another email address to register the username @MarkWilsonWords.
- The account I wanted to use as my main one (@MarkWilsonWords) now had zero followers whereas there were scores following the one I no longer really wanted. To make it possible to flip usernames between accounts, I started by temporarily renaming @sparklemarkle — I don’t recall what I use, but it doesn’t really matter… something like @sparklemarkleABC.
- I now logged into the newer @MarkWilsonWords and rename this to @sparklemarkle (as the username was now available again).
- I then very quickly — so as to avoid anyone swiping my new account name from me — logged back into the temporary @sparklemarkleABC and rename it to @MarkWilsonWords.
But there’s something else to bear in mind. While your new account still has the same number of followers that you had before, it is possible that people will still find you using your old username. This is why it is important to retain both usernames — the older one can be used as an advertisement for the new one.
Log into your old account, and change your profile details so that it lets people know of your new username and also consider posting a tweet to the same effect. As an extra measure you might want to have both accounts follow each other.
Whether you use Twitter for keeping up with friends, monitoring the news, or as a means of promoting yourself or your business it is important to make the micro-blogging site work for you. This little trick is not something that can be done in an instant, and it does require a degree of planning, but it’s a great way to switch usernames without any penalties.