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everest cs Blog » Blog Archive » The Importance of a Cr8ive Twitter Handle

The Importance of a Cr8ive Twitter Handle

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Tweet and Retweet

Participating in Twitter chats was exhilarating! The conversations moved quickly, and jumped topics pulling Tweeps (people using Twitter) and Tweets hither and yon. I retweeted profound #lrnchat comments, and was soon being retweeted myself! How exciting! But there was an important flaw in my Twitter technique: no one could type my Twitter handle manually. On Follow Friday’s (#FF), I saw @creativetraining, @cre8ivetraining, @cr8tivetraining and all sorts of variations of my handle -@cr8ivetraining. How would someone follow me if they can’t find me?! Even @pmtrainer tried to tweet me using @cre8tivetraining. Ugh! She had told me that @cr8ivetraining would cause trouble.

Reality Check

I laughed it off at first, thinking people would learn it eventually. Afterall, there were others on #lrnchat with tricky Twitter handles such as @MrCh0mp3rs and @LandDDave. I figured that if I made valuable contributions to the Twitter-verse like they did, becoming a go-to-person – Tweeps would learn how to type my handle too, right?

The truth of the matter came bearing down on me when I met one of the foremost leaders of Social Media in person. Dr. Jane Bozarth, @JaneBozarth, author of “Social Media for Trainers,” was at ASTD ICE 2011 in Orlando and I met her at a book-signing event. As she was autographing my copy of her book, I proudly announced that I was “@cr8ivetraining” and that I followed her. Cheerfully, she whipped out her smartphone and was about to follow me back – except for one problem: I couldn’t spell my own Twitter handle!

Time to Change

cr8ive

“C-R-8-T-I… wait, it’s C-R-E-8… no wait – Ugh!” How utterly embarrassing! If I couldn’t spell it, how could I EVER expect anyone else to. “How about if I tweet you?” I finally suggested. I learned that if your Twitter handle is causing trouble, change it. @LandDDave and @MrCh0mp3rs both suffered similar problems with their handles and eventually changed them (@LnDDave and @aaronesilvers respectively now).

Looking at me standing there, book in hand, head down in shame, @JaneBozarth gave me some great advice:

If you plan to change your Twitter name:

  • Let your followers know ahead of time
  • Then tell them you’ve changed it, reminding them of the old one
  • Do this for about a week. You may disturb some of your Tweeps who have grown attached to your old name – apologize to them.
  • Search Tweets for your old handle to shepherd any lost Tweeps to the new one. And finally…
  • Tweet using your new handle often – to reestablish your presence and value.

– Thanks, Jane!

From 8 to Eat

I returned home from my Orlando Twitter experience very motivated to change my handle. I searched to see if ‘CreativeTraining’ was taken, and it wasn’t. Awesome! So easy! Just use letters instead of the ‘8’ and all is well! I sent out a tweet to let my Tweeps know I was changing my name – and then went to my account settings to change it. OMG! Twitter only allows 15 characters for the username?! It just dawned on me why I used the ‘8’. (Expletive)! Now what?! In haste, I changed my handle to @CreativelyTrain, 15 characters, and tweeted it. Sigh.

According to The elearning Coach (from @ducttape – www.theelearningcoach.com, “Using Twitter for Businesshttp://ow.ly/5aAV5), your Twitter handle should be short but descriptive, and if at all possible – use your name. Yah. Well, my name is Diane Smith, pretty darned common with over 20 variations. “Creative” isn’t very creative either, with dozens of varieties, and “Train” is overtaken by the New York City commuter rail system. I want to be unique, and not sound like a locomotive. “@CreativelyTrain” doesn’t sit well with me now.

Think Ahead

The best advice I can give you about your Twitter handle I got from @pmtrainer: choose wisely the first time. Don’t rush it, and don’t assume it doesn’t matter. A good name will help in branding you on Twitter, and will save you the embarrassment and trouble of changing it later. Take your time – brainstorm about yourself: your current and future interests, profession, family, work, hobbies, etc. – and pick a good name.

And so I go back to finding a new Twitter Handle. Something that is unique and reflective of me, who I am – and doesn’t trap me in a box. Wish me luck! I’ll make sure to tweet the new name.

Yours truly, soon to be @DecidedlyRed,

@CreativelyTrain

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What is your experience using Social Media? Did you suffer from a handle-mishap? Have you made some valuable connections on Twitter, Facebook or Yammer?

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