A Twitter handle is a username unique to you that differentiates you from the crowd on the site. Using your account handle, other users can follow you and mention you in their posts, opening up a whole online world where you, the user, have a unique identity. It becomes your brand on the site and just like how you can change your name in the real world, you can change your name on the Internet. But what if you didn’t know you could or how to change your twitter handle? You may have assumed the only way to do it was to create a brand new account under your desired handle and start over from scratch. Thankfully, there is a much easier option than starting over.
So why would someone want to change their username? There are many reasons! For example, you may have started your account years ago as a personal account but now you’re a business owner and want to change over to a business account without losing the client base you’ve collecting on your old profile. Or maybe it was a joke funny in high school but now you’re a full-fledged young adult and think it’s stupid or even downright embarrassing.
Starting over from nothing can be a pain. When you start over, you’ll lose all of your posts and no longer have any followers. You can post that you’ve started a new account but there’s no guarantee all of your followers will follow you over. And the fact you have almost no history can, at first, keep new people from following you. Luckily, updating your username to something new is simpler than you think!
YOUR USERNAME VS. YOUR NAME ON TWITTER
Now you may notice you have two titles on Twitter. The first one is your name, it’s not specific to you. It can be anything from your real name to a nickname, to even something random you thought of once. And you can change it without it affecting your page in any way. Because of the nature and point of the twitter name, you can have the same name as someone else. For example, if your name is John Smith, there are bound to be thousands of people on the site with the same name. Allowing for twitter names to repeat allows users with common names to show up on post streams under their real names if they so choose.
Changing your name is easy. Just head over to your profile and at the top look for the “edit profile” option. There you can change your name to whatever your heart desires. This is also the same spot where you can add or change your location, email address- anything that may change over the years.
The second one is your handle or “username” and it is specific to you. It is the name people use to mention you particularly in their own posts and you will receive notifications in your account when this happens. Because of this, your twitter username belongs to you and only you and will not be shared by any other user.
How to change your Twitter handle is different from changing your name since it is much more formal and permanent. But how to change your twitter handle is just as easy. Head over to “settings” you’ll see an option to view your account. After you select that, you’ll see a section labeled “username” and next to that you’ll see your handle. It will look something like this: @whateveryourusernameis. From there it’s as simple as clicking it and entering your new one in the designated box.
But hold off on taking that leap just yet, there are steps you may want to consider first.
INFORMING YOUR FOLLOWERS ON THE NAME CHANGE
The first thing you will want to do when looking into how to change your twitter handle is to let your current followers know about the username change. This reduces the confusion they may have about the new account they suddenly find popping up on their post stream. This also reduces the risk of people unfollowing you because they don’t know it’s you anymore.
One way you can let your followers know is to post directly about your handle change. This is a good technique because posts show up immediately on the feed page of anyone who follows you and they don’t have you seek you out in order to see it. The downside to this is the post will quickly become buried under new posts and anyone who doesn’t see it right away might not see it at all.
In addition to posting directly about it, it’s recommended that you change the bio section of your page to reference that your name has changed. Anyone who opens your account can view the bio at the top of your page and this section never moves or goes away.
It is also a good idea to change your twitter name first and let that settle in for a few weeks. It will allow your followers to get used to the change before you go ahead and officially change your handle. Once you take that measure and let it sink in, then you can look into how to change your twitter handle.
But even if you did your best to let people know, you may run into several hiccups in making the changeover. You will see your new posts showing up under @newusername and all of your old posts will be re-branded under @newusername as well. But any tweet or retweet you were mention in under your old username will no longer be linked to your account. Conversations you had under your old username will become very one-sided since any replies to @oldusername will disappear.
This is because the mentions are based on text and Twitter can’t edit your friend’s text just because you changed your handle. Clicking on any mentions to your old username will result in an error page. Now it might not lose you any followers but you may notice that it could take some time for people to officially recognize you under your new username on their post streams. But don’t worry! It will happen.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DESIRED HANDLE IS TAKEN
Okay, so you decided to take the plunge. But now you realize your desired handle is taken. What do you do?
This causes problems most often with business accounts. If someone is using your business name as their handle, even if you have a trademark on the name, there is little you can do if the user is active and not impersonating your brand. However, if they are pretending to speak as you about your brand, there are several things you can do about it.
First, you will want to try to contact the account holder directly. This can be done through mentions, direct messaging, or by looking for any contact information through the profile or bio. If you’re unable to make contact, you can work through twitter to try and resolve the problem that way.
If the account is confusing other users but not directly passing itself off as your brand or service, the account holder will be notified and allowed to keep their account as long as they clear things up. If the account is inactive, Twitter may release the account to the trademark user for active use. If you’re unable to get the username you want, the only option you’re left with is to get creative and find a handle you like and is available for you to use.
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR TWITTER HANDLE – CONCLUSION
Your username on twitter defines who you are on the site. Essentially, it is who you are and who people know you as. Many people spend years building up a follower base and don’t know how to change their twitter handle without negating all the work they put into their old account. Luckily, there are ways around being stuck with your old name without starting over from scratch. If you are considering making the change, hopefully, this article has shed some light on how to change your twitter handle as easily as possible.
When you change your twitter username, you are starting on a path to a better twitter future. And as you can see, making the change and leave a mess in its wake, throwing your old username back into the Twitter pool for someone else to pick up. One way around that is to create a second profile under your old username and use it as a second account or leave it inactive, keeping it to yourself. Going back to your old username can be just as tricky as changing over to a new one, so you will really want to make sure the decision is right for you. And if you do decide to make the switch to a new handle, be sure it’s one that will still look good years from now. Happy tweeting!