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• Sunday, December 07th, 2008

Twitter names – Would a rose by any other name smell as tweet?

So you have finally gotten so sick of the disparaging remarks directed at you for NOT being on Twitter that you have given in and decided to see what all the fuss is about.  You’ve no doubt been searching the web looking for reasons to be on Twitter, and discovered that Twitter isn’t a waste of time, like many people seem to think it is.  You may have even read up on how to build your community on Twitter and hopefully you learned how not to build your Twitter community.  If you are concerned about getting lost in all the Twitter twerminology, er – terminology – don’t be, there are lots of places you can brush up on your “twitterspeak.”  After you’ve been tweeting for a while, you may wonder how you compare to others in your field, or community.  Guess what?  You are not alone, and thanks to a couple of great tools you can learn how to improve your twinfluence and Twitter grade.  Like most new Twitter users, you’ve probably wondered how to find people to follow – Twellow is a Twitter people search tool that should help you track down interesting tweeple.  You may want to check out the Twitter page of the Austin Statesman as well, there a few talented and interesting people listed there.

But, that’s not why you are here, is it?  No, you have already decided you NEED to sign up, you just want to know what name to use on Twitter.

What is your plan for Twitter – business or pleasure?  If you plan to do both, I must urge you to use extreme caution.  If your 9-5 “friends” are not the same crowd you hang with between 5-9, you risk irritating both sets of people and then your network will lose its social value rather quickly.  Then you may as well change your name to “Thor”, move to a cave and start doing Geico commercials ;-D.

Regardless of your plans, your choice of twitter name is an important one.  Of course, Twitter names can be changed but depending on the size of your network, it could cause some confusion – assuming the name you want is even still available.  I changed my Twitter name after being online for about 4 months, thankfully it was not too terribly complicated.  And it turns out I made the right choice.

Using Twitter for Business

OK, so you’ll be tweeting at work.  Congrats for having a boss that understands the importance of social networking.  You get bonus points if the boss is YOU.  Next question – While on Twitter, will you simply be a person that happens to work for the company, or will you BE the company?  For example;  @Statesman, @ColonelTribune, @DunkinDonuts and @TheHomeDepot are four brands I follow.  While conversations with the real people behind these profiles can be personable, entertaining and certainly informative – make no mistake, they are there to promote the brand.  If one of those people should decide to move on to other opportunities, the company can find someone else to take over and the world may never know the difference.  Well, I’m sure somebody would notice, but you get the point – right?

If you tweet as an employee on the other hand, there is a risk the the “brand” may get lost, or possibly you might become the brand, that might put your employer in an uncomfortable position.  There is a fine line to walk to maintain an effective profile.  For example, @LPT and @Ggroovin are people I follow, we’ve had many conversations both personal and professional.  The fact that they both happen to work at Dell is obvious from their profiles and the links and plugs of Dell products.  However, they manage to balance the conversations such that if either was to move on, I don’t think the value of their network would be significantly effected. Additionally, I’m pretty sure that if @LPT decided to leave Dell and become a zoologist, her tweets would still be worth following.  At the same time, should one of them move on, there would be little, if any, impact on Dell or the company’s social activities.

On the other hand, we have @LisaBarone.  While I was not on Twitter, or blogging when Lisa started tweeting (and blogging) for Bruce Clay, I suspect she was not nearly as well known as she is now.  Thanks to her remarkable ability to make sense of the complicated, entertainment from the embarrassing and, well her ability to rile up pretty much every person in her industry whenever she wants, her popularity grew quickly.  I’d venture a guess that many people (myself included) would not know who Bruce Clay is today if we had not started following Lisa on Twitter and gotten addicted to her blog.  When it comes to SEO bloggers, Lisa Barone IS a brand name, regardless of whose logo happens to be on top of her blog posts.  And, recently her blogs do have a new logo on them.  Yes there was a bit of hub-bub about it, but I suspect that most people don’t care.  Lisa posts a link on Twitter, we click and read.  Whatever Jim Boykin did to lure @LisaBarone to We Build Pages, it was a brilliant move.

There are a few people I follow that are their own brands (whether they like it or not), they own the company and communicate with the world on it’s behalf as themselves.  While unlikely, what would happen if @Graywolf or @SugarRae decided to sell their businesses and retire?  Those profiles would be useless to the new owners.  Especially since I suspect Rae would be tweeting about how Effed up the the flight to her beach resort was.

Using Twitter for Personal Social Networking

Have Fun!  My advice here, since you’ll probably be communicating with people you already know, use the same name you use everywhere else, if possible.  Hard to believe, but seriously – that’s it.  Have fun!

Consistency is a Key For Social Networking

Regardless of whether to plan to use Twitter for business or pleasure, when you think you have settled in on a suitable name, you should check and see if it is available across the various Social Networking sites.  You never know when you’ll want to branch out to other sites and increase your online presence.  Fortunately there is a way to do this easily without having to go to each site one at a time. Visit usernamecheck.com and check your name.  If it’s available on Twitter, and on a majority of the major Social sites – you are in luck, move fast and get it registered.

Hopefully this was enough information for you to make some good decisions about what name will be best for you to use not only on Twitter, but also on many of the other social network sites.  Please do stop by and visit me on Twitter as well, you’ll find me at @JackLeblond.

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15 Responses

  1. 1
    CreativeWisdom  //

    Nice post and some very valuable information for new Tweeters. I don’t know if I don’t know if completely agree on separating business from personal tweets, but that all depends on your business, your brand and your industry. Being a graphic designer and creative person, I think people expect quirky tweets from me – thereby enhancing the perception of my creativity. Also, I think one of the values that Twitter provides is to make a business “personal”. It allows your business to be human – but rest assured – you better make sure anyone tweeting on behalf of your company better not say anything you wouldn’t approve of, or that would deminish your brand equity. I tweet to network, meet new people that I would otherwise not have access to, and then provide them with advice and expertise (creative wisdom) regarding graphic design and print. If they value my tweets and blog posts, then they pick up the phone and “presto” I have a new client. Each person should consider carefully how they use Twitter (for business) and how they want to represent their businesses. That being said, Twitter is great fun. No one on Twitter wants to get a sales pitch every time you post.

    Bottom line, Twitter is the “water cooler” of the world. Position yourself properly and everyone will clamor for what you have to say.

    Here are some resources on how to find great people to follow on Twitter and how to effectively use Twitter to increase hits on your website or blog.

    Find People on Twitter: http://tinyurl.com/556fsw
    Increase traffic to your website or blog with Twitter: http://tinyurl.com/5bwsc3

    Happy Tweeting!
    Creative Wisdom
    http://twitter.com/CreativeWisdom

  2. 2
    bbrian017  //

    omg this article is link heaven!!

    I like pro bloggers point… twiter isn’t a waste of time… but on the other hand even if it is what’s the problem anyways?

    CreativeWisdom I like how you refer to Twitter as the water cooler.. it’s ironic I’m there right now and it’s my break lmao!

    Like anything else twitter is a tool and an awesome tool that allows you to border line spam the place all day. Who can’t love an enviroment like that?

  3. 3
    andrew  //

    Excelent write even for veteran twitter users, its always good to remember the roots
    Twitter.com/bbunderground

  4. 4
    Susie Monday  //

    Great links and compilation of content. Thanks

  5. Nice overview on Twitter. I’m fairly new to it, jut a few weeks in the pool. My original intention was to use it to promote my paintings, promote my blogs and my web design and consulting business. What surprised me is how much I’ve learned from other people’s tweets. Also, since working at home can be somewhat isolating, it helps me to feel connected to other people.

    Clifford VanMeter
    http://twitter.com/quicktiming

  6. Jack,

    A couple weekends ago at Frank Kern’s Mass Control in San Diego, Perry Belcher recommended, like you, to use the same name you use everywhere else.

    Because of my name, Rose, you sent me a tweet reply that included a to this page, “Would a rose by any other name smell as tweet?” I clicked and here I am.

    But, I have created a few other keyword specific twitter names and they seem to get lots of followers because of the subject matter.

    Since I am, The Love Linguist, I have a comment to make about “Consistency is a Key For Social Networking.” It is the death knoll in love relationships. Predictability and consistency is same old, same old. Consistency is actually kinda boring.

    If your followers know you are in the tweetstream AND you and your 140 characters are interesting and unpredictable tweets it is much more fun!

    Sherrie Rose
    The Love Linguist
    http://www.twitter.com/sherrierose

  7. You may want to update this to reflect the fact that Lisa is now co-founder of Outspoken Media, and no longer at her previous position. :-)

  8. 8
    Jack Leblond  //

    Good point! @LisaBarone did move on, and all of her followers moved right along with her. Many did not even know about the move for weeks after it was over.

  9. 9
    Jane  //

    I signed up with Twitter and while I’m new to it, I have set it up where my blogs posts go directly there… not sure what else to do at this point but I’m moving that way.. slowly but surely :-)

  10. 10
    Tomi Busk  //

    This is a excellent post, thank you! It’s the first time I visit your website, just found it in Google. I’ve been browsing around and there’s a lot of top quality work. But one thing… I tried to add it to my Google Reader and can’t. Perhaps it’s a only something going on with me… I’ll let you know if it stays like this!

  11. 11
    Camden  //

    The title of this post totally sucked me in…that’s exactly how I feel! Jack, any reason you haven’t added Twitter badges to your blog to make it easier to follow you? That seems to be the hot trend these days…

  12. 12
    Jack Leblond  //

    Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges! LOL! I’m not a fan of badges, but do have a link to my Twitter account in the left margin in the “where to find me” category.

  13. 13
    Consuela Nieman  //

    Interesting post dude Thank you

  14. 14
    Lala  //

    awwe, on the tree carped says “Jack loves Sherry” :)
    how sweet

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