10 Reasons To Use Your Real Name As Your Twitter @Name

by Scott Williams of Big Is The New Small. Follow him @ScottWilliams.

If you search the Twitter world you will find Tweeps with a plethora of different Twitter @names; many which are totally unrelated to the Twitterer’s real name.  No matter whether your Twitter account is a business account, personal account or brand account; you should definitely use your real name, real business name or real brand name as your Twitter @name.

10 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Real Name On Twitter:

1.  It will be simple and easy to locate you in the “Find People” search tool on Twitter homepage; Remember “KISS” – Keep It Simple Stupid.

2.  Similar to the dot.com boom, you don’t want to miss the squatters right to your entitled property, I mean your entitled Twitter name.

3.  You don’t want to be like a friend of mine whose name was secured by a pornstar w/ the same name.

4.  Once Twitter becomes totally mainstream and a household name; you want to make sure your real name is part of the Twousehold.

5.  No one really understands your attemptedly cool names like: @mrbigshotguru  @livingforchangetoday  @johniscool  @itweetabunch  @MrsMrsexymama…

6.  If someone is trying to follow your business’ tweets and you have some obscure name, you’ll miss an opportunity to have a virally connected customer.

7.  It’s easier for people to retweet you, mention you and make reference to connecting with you.

8.  You don’t want to find yourself saying coulda, shoulda, woulda… but I never dida!

9.  The President of The United States @BarackObama uses his real name!

10.  It’s practical and it just makes good Twense!

The bottom line is that you are missing out on a great opportunity to stay ahead of the Twurve by securing your real name.  If your Twitter username is already taken, try securing your name with an underscore between your first and last name, or some combination of your real name.

Don’t worry about what your followers will think about the change, believe me they will totally appreciate it.  Remember you can always change your Twitter screen name.  For instance, there are 110 Scott Williams out there in the Twitter world, but only one @ScottWilliams  and that would be me.

Do not pass “Go”, do not collect follower$.

Go secure/change your name now! While you’re at it secure your kids name as well!

Do you have your real name as your Twitter @Name? Why or Why Not?  Share any reasons that you would like to add to the list; as well as your thoughts on the 10 reasons above!


  • April 22, 2009

    This is good information but a little too late. I didn’t know this and set my id up as CopywriterCathy. Can I change this or do I have to start all over again with my real name…and what happens to the followers I already have?

    I’m bumbed.

  • April 22, 2009

    I have tried using my real name but my brand name have been receiving better response as it’s easier to remember.

    I guess it only works for the big names.

    Darren is using @problogger…

  • April 22, 2009

    I think a lot of us, use the same nick-name in all our ‘Cyber-Life’, which most of the time becomes our brand. I’ve used the same nickname ‘Mahadewa’ since I was using IRC in the 90s, as well as in every email, and social apps account out there. And this ‘brand’ has been recognised by our friends, and associated to us as our persona. ‘Mahadewa’ is Chris Prakoso, and Chris Prakoso always use ‘Mahadewa’.
    So for many of us it makes more Twense to use this instead of our real-name.

    Having said that, I aggree to the point of Username Squating. We have to protect our name (sad but necessary these days). So, my suggestion is, to claim your real-name as soon as possible, but also get another one that uses your Brand. Then you can decide which one your are going to use regularly.

    My 2 pences.

  • April 22, 2009

    I like using real names as I find it more credible. That being said some names don’t “translate” well to a twitter ID.

  • April 22, 2009

    I use a nickname that is related to my blog.

    But I have also locked my real name on Twitter just in case.


  • April 22, 2009

    I grabbed my @name and my @nicknames … it all depends on what your doing with your twitter accounts just like a domain name.

  • April 22, 2009

    I have different blog sfor different purposes so use my real name on one and my Thai name on another. That works for me.

  • April 22, 2009

    I have never used my real name on twitter or any social media. But I have always tried to be myself with the name KASH. Never changed my character or personality.

    Just one negative point I face.. i.e. my real life friends dont know who is KASH and my social media friends dont know who am I?.. :) ..

  • April 22, 2009

    Fun post, I claimed my real name, but use my brand name for Twitter and pretty much everything else related to SM – I’m my brand. The reasoning? Another reason: People misspell my last name chronically. Much depends on how you’re positioned and what your work is. I think what’s confusing is people using the or only a first initial or middle initial, or shortening their names, then you put what would logically be their, and it’s someone else! ugh Make it easy to remember, 2-4 syllables. Obscure stuff doesn’t cut it for me and most other people. Don’t make me think :)

  • April 22, 2009

    I am using a twitter name to match my blog. My twitter name makes it easy for all the other gf and celiacs to find me. Was just wondering last night though if my etsy shop, where I sell my art, should just be my own name too. thanks for the list of reasons!

  • April 22, 2009

    Great post. I can’t believe I never tried to secure my full name; I just checked, and it was available, so I snatched it up. Thanks for the reminder.

    I agree with all the points you made. It’s so much more easy and reads better when you tweet something like “Had a good time hanging with @JohnSmith last night” instead of “Had a good time hanging with @YankeeFan94 last night”

  • April 22, 2009

    I claimed my real name on Twitter and use it. I’ve always felt a little funny about it though and was even considering changing it – up to now, that is! Thanks for enumerating all the reasons why using your real name on Twitter is the way to go. I feel much better now! :-D

  • April 22, 2009

    My full name too long for twitter (it won’t allow it), and people struggle to spell my first name or surname individually, so for me using a nickname (@askoggy) is better.

  • April 22, 2009

    There’s value in locking down your Real Name on Twitter. I don’t see value in using it instead of, say, a brandname though.

  • April 22, 2009

    Hmmm, #1 is interesting, and I never really thought about it before, but you are right, it would make it a lot easier for people to find you, but @Roseli also has a point about branding. Would it be a good idea to use two twitter accounts and synchronize them?

  • April 22, 2009

    The Internet is forever it seems. I am always thinking what if I say something really stupid and now it is out there and you can’t take it back? I know, silly, but there it is. I know there is a way for people to find out who you are, but it is slightly scary to be all the way out there. Maybe I’m wrong. I guess it depends on your reason for being on Twitter. I just like to say random things, link it to my blog and Facebook. No big business plan in mind.

  • April 22, 2009

    My real name was taken, so the next obvious move was to use a nickname thing that I’d had for years. It’s kind of a brandname…but not really since I’m not a brand… !

  • April 22, 2009

    I just use my first name and a short “form” of my last name. I use this short alias on a number of different sites so I like the coherency.

  • April 22, 2009

    The moment I made up my mind to chase this crazy dream, I knew my name would be my brand. I also have “profreelancewriter”, but I have never tried to Twitter it (going to as soon as I finish this, though!). My website, my Twitter account, and everything else I can use my real name for, I do. I have branded myself, and there are not too many more of me, I have checked. I knew from the beginning I had to pick a brand and stick with it. It just made sense to pick myself. One of my strong coaching points when I am mentoring a new writer is try to ’sell yourself’. You know your product better than anyone else ever could, and you know it better than you could ever know any other product, right?

  • April 22, 2009

    I don’t know if I agree. I have been @riasharon on Twitter forever but I recently introduced someone to Twitter and she asked me how I decided who to follow. So I showed her how you can check out people’s tweets and find people who are tweeting about subject that are interesting to you and then… the shortcut, go see who they follow… which is a natural way to connect with like-minded folks. But without looking at their tweets and just scrolling through someone’s “following” list, the only way to tell anything about them is by their avatar or their Twitter “handle.” Without thinking, I randomly picked people who seemed cool to me… maybe used “yoga” or “dancer” or “zen” or “mom” in their twitter name.

    Right then, my friend decided that she was going to pick a Twitter name that was not her real name. It kinda made me want to change mine too… but I feel too established to do that.

    So riasharon. That’s my name and I’m stickin’ to it.

    My friend is @ZenMommy :)

  • April 22, 2009

    Interesting points on both sides of the argument, but one question is, what is your real name anyway? I mean, am I Bill Nickerson or William Charles Nickerson or William C Nickerson or what? I use these different variations of my name for different purposes, but only the 2nd one is my “real” name. Most friends know me as Bill and faceless corporations use the 3rd. I’ve had people not be able to find me in the phone book because I was listed as William rather than Bill.

    I use LoneWolf and LoneWolfMuskoka as a brand when I’m online. I’d prefer to stick with just LoneWolf but some sites have that name used already, so LoneWolfMuskoka is my backup. This is the name that I use in my blogs and I use it when commenting on other blogs as well.

    I’ve been thinking about registering my “real” name on Twitter for a while, but I’m not sure of the benefit if I don’t intend to use it.

  • April 22, 2009

    I’m using my real name to Tweet so when I become Twitterly famous everyone will know who I am!

  • April 22, 2009

    Makes you look like you are less of a spammer.

  • April 22, 2009

    I tried to use my real name, but first + last name appeared to be too many characters. So, like @andreasnrb, I have a short “form” (phonetic pronunciation, roughly) of my last name. I also grabbed @AitchisonDesign, as that’s my company name/URL.

  • April 22, 2009

    My name is pretty common and the versions of it I tried using are taken. What’s plan B? For now what I’m using is derived from my company name.

  • April 22, 2009

    Hmm. Like some other commenters, I’ve been on the ‘net with my yahoo ID since ‘98, and that ID was based on an AOL screenname I’d used since ‘91. I write online as Gaelen, post as Gaelen, administer boards as Gaelen, author recipes and other things as Gaelen.
    OTOH, I write professionally as PAS or PA Steer, and as unique as my last name is, it’s often taken when I create an ID somewhere.
    Gaelen, however, is seldom taken–and when it is, as on yahoo and on Twitter, I use Gaelen2, the old AOL screenname.
    When I set up my blog, ‘Gaelen’s Cafe’ was a logical name.
    Guess that’s my brand–me, myself and I.

  • April 22, 2009

    I did secure my usually handle / shortname long ago but forgot the pw. I am not sure if others noticed it but it seems hard / impossible to reset your pw with Twitter once you forget it. Then I decided on a nickname, I wasn’t sure if Twitter was to be taken ’seriously’ ahum. And now I have followers @anadrome but for the reasons mentioned above I also have my family name, without any activity yet.

  • April 22, 2009

    Using your real name is a great idea if you’re well known, but brand and topical names are also effective. My brand name, SavvyBookMarketer, is too long for Twitter, so I use BookMarketer. It’s been very effective because tweeple instantly know what I’m about when they see my name on Twitter.

  • April 22, 2009

    I didn’t use my name at first, but once I got serious about my business, I switched. I definitely think it’s vital to branding yourself! I plan to launch more websites here soon, and I’ll probably grab my website names, but mainly operate under my name still.

  • April 22, 2009

    Nice article, but the assumption (your real name is your professional name and also how you are known) isn’t going to be valid for many.

    In particular, it doesn’t work for those of us who came into Twitter with a preexisting following that was already associated with an online handle. That’s the case for most in the anime/gamer communities, but also of people who migrated from places like digg where they already had well-known pseudonyms there.

  • April 22, 2009

    Great post – I changed to my full name a few months ago, it was a wise decision. It is so easy to change your name without losing any followers.

  • April 22, 2009

    Thanks for all of the comments…

    After Twitter got officially Oprahtized last week and she secured the name @Oprah the mainstreamness and real name as Twitter name will become increasingly more important.

    Name, Brand, Name Brand… now repeat! ;-)

  • April 22, 2009
    Michael Cornelius

    I don’t use my real name; it’s too long to be a twitter user name. All the recognizable abbreviations are already claimed. As others have noted, my online persona is as well known by the name I do use than my the name on my birth certificate.

  • April 22, 2009

    I use my brand name, edible cville, because it relates directly to my blog of the same name. Then again I only tweet blog-related items anyway. But people can still search on my real name.

  • April 22, 2009

    For some of us using our name isn’t practical because to retweet such a long name takes up too much of the 140 characters. Despite that, I have at least secured my name in case things change somewhere down the road.

  • April 22, 2009

    Just tweeted a link to your post with this comment || Add trust and credibility.
    Later tweet reply to a RT was “Could have commented (as in domains)… name taken? Next choice being found: “what you do.”

  • April 22, 2009

    For the username, I prefer a shorter version, but in Twitter’s settings I entered my real name, I have nothing to hide, so it just make sense.

    Fantasy names are so 1999, I don’t reject people for the names yet, but I feel better with real people with real names, it’s a trust issue.

  • April 22, 2009

    My name is way too common, and too long. The shortened version of my name is already taken… not that I’m surprised. I can’t get my name as a domain name or a gmail address, either!

  • April 22, 2009

    My kids’ online handles: “strumbunny” and “smooshy.” If you’re 16 and 12 years old, that’s OK. Otherwise, stick to your name and/or professional affiliation, or as several commenters above have done, the online identity you’ve been using thus far. I suppose there’s more latitude on Facebook regarding this sort of thing, but I’m still surprised at adults who self-identify there as “MissJane57,” “Joe Xwallstreetr,” and the like. This really sets a tone. Using your real name on Twitter implies, at least, that you’re there for honest and open discourse.

  • April 22, 2009

    One thing to remember is that Twitter’s terms of use require you to use Twitter IDs you create. Squatting on a name is a big no-no, and IDs that aren’t active for six months may be deleted. Here’s the info from the tworses mouth: http://help.twitter.com/forums/26257/entries/18370

  • April 22, 2009

    My real name is completely too long and also the spelling is difficult. I am a fence contractor/blogger and am building an online store for fence products so I started twitter with @thefencepost as well as named my first wordpress.com blog the same. With a last name like “Bloemendaal” I just think it is easier to remember @thefencepost and it tells what I do to pay the bills.
    The bigger mistake I made was to use my name on some services like friendfeed and not on others.
    Good post and I will be locking in my real name now, just not sure I will use it.

  • April 22, 2009
    Sharon Huff

    Had just stopped using personal twitter name and created a second twitter “business” account especially for Museum of Litter — now you have me second-guessing. Personal name so people can find you is good, but can also see when business has name recognition people would search for the business name and wouldn’t remember or could care less who person is.

  • April 22, 2009

    Much to my acute frustration my name is one letter two long for a Twitter ID and all the nickname variations have already been taken. It’s the curse of having a particularly common first and last name… Bah!

  • April 22, 2009
    Cheshire Cat

    My real name is Luciferia (I’m Lucifer’s wife – jeez don’t you know anything?) … do you think that would put people off?

  • April 22, 2009
    Mercedes Millberry

    I use my first initial, last name. My full name would take up too much of the valuable twitter real estate. But, I think this has been an viable solution for those of us with long names.

  • April 22, 2009
    Mercedes Millberry

    And, with a first name like Mercedes, I think that would land me with a whole different set of problems…..

  • April 22, 2009

    I’ve been mulling over whether to use my real name or not for a while now. I’ve wanted to switch, but wasn’t sure. You make a compelling argument. Thanks.

  • April 22, 2009

    Luckily I have a short, easy to spell/remember name! I always use it as part of my brand, but I know a bunch of people whose names are often misspelled. I could see them wanting to do some variation of their actual name. I see a lot of people mixing their main interest or topic with their first name too.

    Also by using my own name I don;t have to worry about trying to keep things as seperate. I can just post about my real estate stuff, puppet videos, etc etc all under the same name. It’s all just me anyway, right?!

  • April 22, 2009

    I don’t use my real name on twitter. It is too long.

  • April 22, 2009

    Most people have shorter versions of their names. I believe as long as there is transparency in your profile, which clearly links you to your “twitter handle” you should be fine. With 140 characters-brevity is key! Roseli mentioned Darren using Problogger, just as Laura uses Pistachio. Both are more recognizable brands so it makes sense. Three words to explain why not to use your real name: Witness Protection Program.

  • April 22, 2009

    I’d like to see me get my real name as my twitter @name. Michael Douglas? really? nobody Ever thought to register that before I registered my name? Of course they did, lol.

    Thankfully, my nickname is quite prolific and, while it’s a surname in America, it’s used enough by me that chances are it’s me if you find it online.

  • April 22, 2009

    I use my website name since it’s how I was branded back in the days when I worked for The Man. E from Geek’s Dream Girl is pretty much who I am and how people know me. Besides both my real name (erinfoley) and my preferred name (efoley) are taken. ((One of the reasons I don’t go by Erin Foley is because there’s a stand-up comedian of the same name.))

    So geeksdreamgirl it is!! :)

  • April 22, 2009

    I’ve reserved my real name: @taliacarbis which basically just has a link in it to my common one: @sunshinetalia.

    I use sunshinetalia on my social networks, so it’s common, and not TOO far removed from my real name. I do generally reserve my real name on all of them as well. My preference is always for just ‘talia’ but sometimes I just have to go for the full name!

  • April 22, 2009

    My surname is hard to spell and hard to pronounce, so I go with the name of my blog. It also makes it easy for people to see that I’m a mum, writing about mummy-things, and have a mummy-blog. I know that not everyone in the blogosphere wants to read about the life of a SAHM. Having “mum” in my @name attracts a lot of other mums/moms, and saves a lot of unfollowing by people who don’t want to read about nappies. I’m happy for people to know who I am though and what my real name is!

  • April 22, 2009

    I use my first initial and last name. One, it’s easy for me to remember and two, my last name is unusual enough that I’m not mistaken for anyone else. My maiden name was too common to use. A third reason it works is that it’s only 8 characters. Leaves plenty of room for @ replies.

    If someone has a long name, I can understand using an alias of some sort. Aliases are also good if you don’t want your boss to easily find your twitter posts.

    However, I think if you are not so much about building a personal brand, it doesn’t hurt to use the name of the brand you are trying to build.

  • April 22, 2009

    I use a nickname that has been used for several years in all of my internet related activities.

    One reason I would not use my real name on twitter is that with a long name (NicolasSteenhout), users wanting to RT me lose 16 characters…

  • April 22, 2009

    What about if your name is something like Madeleine Johnstone-smith??? How would that fit into 140 characters for a RT!

    I agree and disagree.

    Good to be authentic and not hide behind a ‘fantasy’ name, but if it is your personal brand as much as your name is and you associate both then I think it’s relevant to have a separate brand.

    I gotta buy into that as Artrox! Too late to change now!!!

  • April 22, 2009

    I use my brand, but I also secured my name and put up one tweet to direct people to my brand if they are interested in following. Just like domain names, it is smart to own your own name if you can get it.

  • April 22, 2009
    Bill Harper

    I actually have two — my real name (which I’ll use for my own branding), and another one that I’ll use as well when I get my other little venture going. (If they’d only let you se multiple Twitter profiles in TweetDeck!)

  • April 22, 2009

    I use my name in Twitter. The good side is no matter I change my business core, the brand / name is still the same. I’ve changed my business core to BlogQuote: wise and worse blogging quote, but I still use my name as brand and web address too. Let’s just say BlogQuote from Isaac Yassar.

  • April 22, 2009

    This was easy for me.In 1999 I got tired of finding yet another variation of “Robert Taylor” on the myriads of portals, communities, etc., that were all the rage. So, I started referring to myself as RJamesTaylor and registered rjamestaylor.com. So, on MyYahoo, Slashdot, Grolaw, Google and, yes, Twitter, I am rjamestaylor. It’s easy to find me online as a result. (There are rarely but some cases where “rjamestaylor” is not me on some sites/networks).

    Having a common real name (at my company there is another Robert Taylor) has taught me the value of securing my recognizable ID where- & whenever I can.

  • April 22, 2009
    Konstantin Burla

    I don’t use my full name because 1. it is too long, 2. I do want to preserve some anonymity, and since my name is so unique, it will definitely be the first result in searches. So instead I used a combination of my last name and first letter of my first name. It’s a nice short, 1-syllable (very pronounceable and easy to spell) handle that could be found easily but isn’t extremely obvious.

  • April 22, 2009

    Great post!

    I use my brand name as my user ID, but make sure my real name is attributed to my account, so when people search for my account they see NHBS /Nicole Hammett.

  • April 22, 2009

    I have my business name on one account that only sends out updates for that business. I think everyone that follows that Twitter account knows it is me, heck,I am the one that told them to check for updates there.

    99.9% of my Twittering is under my real name. I want people to know that if I said it then I stand behind it. Yes, I have been wrong before and had to pull my foot out of my mouth but, it was me (screw ups and all). ;)

  • April 22, 2009

    Darren tweets through @problogger, @digitalps and he has @twitip registered too. Oh, and yes he has his name, @darrenrowse registered.

    I think the main point of this article is to register your real name, even if you don’t use it right now. It’s better to have it and not use it (especially since it’s free) than not have it and need/want it later on down the road.

    I tweet through @beley but also have my full name registered just in case.

  • April 22, 2009

    I use LAStory because it’s the name of my blog.. I figure if I brand that, I am doing well

    great idea.. though.. with the original name. could have a second tweet account

  • April 22, 2009

    My Name is so common it’s taken (first, first and last, last, and initial and last)
    So I went with my website name. Glad I did!

  • April 22, 2009

    Is this meant to be a serious post, or tongue-in-cheek? I’m not taking it seriously.

  • April 22, 2009

    the fact that the current POTUS does it, isn’t exactly a plus to me.

  • April 22, 2009

    My name is too long as well. Bummer. Just by one character.

  • April 22, 2009

    My primary Twitter account ties in with my blog, so they share the same name for branding purposes. That’s the way it’ll stay. My picture’s there, my real name’s in my profile and anyone who knows me will be able to find me easily. I don’t really have much need for a vanity account.

    Besides, my name isn’t uncommon, so it’s usually claimed by the time I get around to using any given service. Having said that, I have five additional Twitter accounts, one of which is my real name followed by an underscore. (Every other variant was already taken.)

  • April 22, 2009

    Cute post and you do make good points, but I’m always cautious about pushing the use of a legal name over another name, either a handle or a pseudonym. I don’t like people feeling like there’s some kind of falsehood in the use of a name other than the one on a person’s gov’t forms. People have used the same name online for years and that name has actually got more social credit behind it than their legal name. Maybe it’s because of being queer and being female and being in fandom (gasp, yes, me) that I’m more aware of the wide variety of reasons people have for not using their real name. Having your online presence associated with your physical/legally-identified self can be a negative for some people. I always prefer to keep the concepts of name==brand, name==person, and name==legal ID discrete.

    Now, talking about securing ‘net real estate for your brand, that makes all the sense in the world. In fact, thinking in those terms tends to make people smarter about their online strategies.

  • April 22, 2009

    I use a nickname, but my full name changed last year when I got married. Having to go around changing my real name on a bunch of stuff was a pain in the behind, and if I had to do that with my online identity I probably would have lost out a bit. My online name I’ve been using for around 10 years now, so if someone doesn’t know me by that name now, they probably aren’t online.

  • April 22, 2009

    Here’s my reason…call it #11:
    Twitter for many people is becoming a identification node. Much like Facebook and LinkedIn people are supplying this information on resumes and such. Assume this becomes mainstream, you don’t want to be person with twitter.com/BigFatty48 on something like that. Branding is one thing (ie Darren and @problogger), but nicknames are always something you should stay away from. Unless you cannot escape the 90’s.

  • April 22, 2009

    #FistBump to everyone who has commented, I appreciate all of the different perspectives… As stated in the post, I agree with using a brand or business name.

    @missprofe- This was meant to be serious! LOL :-)

  • April 22, 2009

    If your online life and your offline life are one than using your own name makes sense. If they are separate it makes more sense to use your online brand. There are serious privacy issues related to using your real name and image online. While I once did I do not recommend it now.

    Each person must make their own decisions on this very important issue. Those who desire additional information are invited to read the many posts in the privacy category in my blog or do a search for “death threats” and “Kathy Sierra” for only one example of what can and has happened.

    There is no real reason you cannot create a valuable brand around a blog without revealing your personal information. Yes, some believe it can not be done.Yes, many will insist that you can not be successful without it. While it is more challenging (mostly because others will object) what difference does it truly make?

    Most know that Mark Twain was not that famous author’s real name. Ann Landers was also a pen name. (Few even know what her name is without looking it up!) DoshDosh is one of my favorite blogs even though I do not know what Maki’s real name is or what he looks like. Many and possibly most actors/actresses change their names.

    I read great writers for what and how they write – NOT what they look like or what their given names are. How do you even know that is their current (or even real) image or name anyway? Both are superficial compared to what is truly important: the substance of their shared thoughts.

  • April 22, 2009

    Count me in for using a brand instead. My brand is much cooler than my name, which is dreadfully boring, hard to remember, and harder to spell.

  • April 22, 2009

    While I agree with most of the ten reasons I also understand the points the people like Internet Strategist make. I use both name and site name because I work to brand both. Personally I don’t think it matters as long as you use your brand and stick to it (or them). Name recognition can be a name of a person, product, company or anything else. As far as junk like @iamkingofthehill, it’s silly but some tweeters are just here for the social fun I guess :)

  • April 22, 2009

    Use your online identity/brand as your Twitter ID, thats what I say. People can still find you by real name through the search on Twitter, as long as you’ve entered your real name in your profile.

    I think more importantly than going one way or the other is to pick a strategy that makes sense at the start and stick to it.

  • April 22, 2009

    I echo the privacy reasons. First time I have even given my city is for twitter. You get driving instructions to my house when you whitepages.com my real name. I hold tight to names and birthdays….no way I would link myself or kids to google on purpose!

    and really, twitter is just twitter…another thang will be along soon!

  • April 22, 2009

    I’m always Tony Searight. No questions asked!!!!!!

    Tony Searight & Youth Investors

  • April 22, 2009

    I decided it made more sense to sync my Twitter ID with my personal blog. That being said I wanted to retain my ‘business moniker’ @andryl for business use. So instead of changing my ID which is a nice feature of Twitter I created a new one and spent overnight advising my followers and creating a fresh twitter background to http://www.twitter.com/andrewpitchford
    Alls good and I even got a couple of hours sleep ;-)

  • April 22, 2009

    As LoneWolf said “What is your real name anyway?” Is it the name on my birth certificate (which I don’t use _anywhere_)? I don’t think so.

    On teh Interwebs, I’m vlb. I’ve been vlb since 1983; my id predates Twitter. So, when I got @vlb, I did secure my “entitled Twitter name”.

    What’s in a name? Just be consistent, that’s what’s important (or so I believe).

  • April 22, 2009

    Easy for you to say when your name is easy. I am with askroggy. Adekemi Oguntala is hard enough for my patients. They walk in saying I am here to see Dr. O essentially. Why should I do this to the rest of the world? The teendoc. It is all you need to know. It is my passion and profession, and my real (cool) name is right under it. ;-) . I am still going to try and secure my real name though cuz that is just a good idea.

  • April 22, 2009

    I think using your real name makes it easier for people who already know you to search for you on Twitter. I switched from using my business name to my real name a few months ago and I haven’t regretted it.

  • April 22, 2009

    A while ago I was @damienbasile mainly. I gave it up primarily for @db because of this. I still use my other longer Twitter name because it is my name. For a long time I let it lay fallow not knowing what to do with it. I recently started using it sparingly as a private account only accessed by a handful of close friends. Sometimes I need to say something personal in a controlled environment.

    People have resulted in called me DB on Facebook and in the offline world as of implementation of my new twitter name. I like it. It still relates to my name yet keeps the character limit of twitter in mind.

  • April 22, 2009

    I use my twitter name @eliteseduction, but if a customer wants to go to my site, they can see my real name there. It’s all about branding your blog or for the purposes of what you’re trying to accomplish.

  • April 22, 2009

    I don’t use my real name simply because I share it with a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates and would have no hope of rating highly in the SERPs for my own name. I dominate the top10 for lance_ and have the alias on my business cards.

    And yes I consider lance_ better than lance because there’s too many lances out there to be conflated with.

  • April 22, 2009

    This is an excellent article. I’ve always used the nickname countroshculla (weird phase when I thought vampires were the coolest) since I first started using the net. For chats, emails and wherever I have signoed up for anything. It’s a name I like, possibly as much as my real name. My real name is too long as well for a twiter account.

    Having said that I’m going to register my real name…just in case.

  • April 22, 2009

    yayyy I use my real name and I follow @ScottWilliams. :-)
    #fistbump dude (and my 19 month old can do the physical fist bump, ha ha ha – even put the video up here http://sonofmine.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/fist-bump/ it’s the coolest thing)
    ha ha ha

  • April 23, 2009

    I use my real name on twitter.

    Not to knock the dude, but Ashton Kutcher’s twitter name is lame. aplusk, whenever I read it, I read ‘app-lusk’, and I wonder what an app lusk is. I get it, but really, AshtonK or AKutcher or AstonKutcher woulda been better. Just saying.

    My business also uses its name ( @Ready ). This is good because sometimes people accidentally mention it in their tweets ;)

  • April 23, 2009

    I beg to disagree with your view. What if a person has already established his username in all other communities? IMHO, Twitter usernames really don’t matter. It’s the tweets that matter. And of course, the interaction factor. I personally am not biased when it comes to Tweople’s usernames. Just because a person uses his real name doesn’t mean anything.

  • April 23, 2009

    I don’t use my real name because my Twitter account is linked to my blog persona. My blog is pseudonymous in order to protect the identity of the innocent (or rather, of the sordid – my students.) I have no real interest in having a personal Twitter account; I use Twitter to interact mostly with other blogging educators. I maintain this username throughout the blogosphere, so in a sense, it might as well be my own name.

  • April 23, 2009

    Great thinking…I now have one with my own name, though I had to add the initial, and one for business. Decided to take the plunge and do it now, rather than regret it later. We’ll see how I manage it all.

  • April 23, 2009

    Of the ten reasons in your post, I find only the first carries weight in my opinion for most circumstances, and various comments have suggested exceptions to your rule may be common enough for various reasons.

    I chose my Twitter @Name while just starting (and relatively ignorant), and I will probably change my handle, but as of this writing, I am not sure on what basis. One major tension for me is between identification of my major function (i.e., brand name–for various folks, e.g., job, hobby, cause) and personal name. Of course, the two become related over time (“Peter” becomes associated with internet marketing ideas and my personality, or whatever).

    Therefore, another axis of tension for me is between too-specific and overly general handles/@Names. If my @Name and/or reputation suggests I am associated narrowly with social media marketing, do I have to get another Twitter @Name to branch out into the related fields of video and article marketing, even if adding “William” when I had been “Bill”?

    Or if my @Name is very general, in time my reputation becomes more narrow (including personality), but confusing to newcomers. At the beginning and for newcomers, an advantage of an @Name derived from function over personal name is the ease of identification (e.g., @accountant).

    On the flip side, celebrities using their personal names may have difficulty re-branding themselves in a new way. Of course, many know that Michael Jordan also played baseball because the change was novel enough to get a buzz going. And a movie you can watch with your kids.

    Often, there are pros and cons to the choice. What do you think?

  • April 23, 2009

    Okay, you make some decent points here, but — TWENSE? It makes TWENSE?

    Twat is the twupidest twurn of phrase I’ve twever twencountered. No offense: I admire the spirit of coining! But: see the light. Don’t ever type “twense” again. Please.

    Think of the children.

  • April 23, 2009

    I think that frace for this pots would be: youse you name and only your name.

    becuase for you brand its betther have you one `page and were to manege it but you name have to be realevent.

  • April 23, 2009

    When looking to make connections with people you don’t know in the physical world, their real name tells you little about them. However, a nickname can (and should) provide some insight into their personal brand. Plus, real names show when searching, allowing people who know you to find you.

  • April 23, 2009

    Line of the day!
    5. No one really understands your attemptedly cool names like: @mrbigshotguru @livingforchangetoday @johniscool @itweetabunch @MrsMrsexymama…

    Thanks @ScottWilliams great post. I do think that there are varying reasons to deploy either strategy depending on the users long term goals, brand strategy, previously established web persona’s, previously used pen names etc.

    That said, going to go secure my @ real name now just in case my attemptedly cool name falls from grace. ;)

  • April 23, 2009

    With the name Jack Smith, it was going to be impossible to secure. So for people who don’t have access to their, please spend some time to develop a name that is easy to say, easy to spell, and easy to remember – and then get a little feedback from friends/co-workers before getting too attached.

  • April 23, 2009

    i don’t use my real name as my ID, although my real name is on my profile.

    why not? there are too many “wayne lee”’s in the world, even too many “wayne a. lee”’s. but if you google “bunnyhero” you will pretty much get me and only me.

    some people even call me “bunnyhero” in real life :)

  • April 23, 2009

    1. my just is unfortunatly too long ;)
    2. it s quite difficult to spell
    3. cause i’m a winegrower and winelover ‘vinophil’ fits better


  • April 23, 2009

    This is a very interesting article AND discussion.

    When I joined Twitter, my real name was not available. And just like I dislike URLs with hyphens or underscores in them, I don’t like using my name with those. So I attempted to use my moniker “The Abundance Catalyst”. Unfortunately, that was too long. So I settled for @abundancecat.

    In this article, I made note that it says “use your real name, real business name or real brand name” but then goes on to talk only about real names.

    A moniker is a very valid business name. And I can’t tell you how many times people have given great comments about my twitter name.

    Now, the real question ios how many of my followers followed me because of my Twitter name or because of my profile or who I’m following. That stat I would love to see!

    ~ Greg

  • April 23, 2009

    Also if you named yourself after you company, career choice, or particular interest, what happens if those change at some point in the future? You may not want to have to start from scratch with a whole new handle.

    If you have an existing username/handle that you do want to change, it’s quite easy to do without losing your followers. Check out this article I wrote for the step by step:


  • April 23, 2009

    Great Quote @carlarose

    I switched from using my business name to my real name a few months ago and I haven’t regretted it.

    @willhiggins I agree on aplusk… but what do I know, he was the first to a million followers.
    @rampantheart I appreciate the candor in your comment:

    Just because a person uses his real name doesn’t mean anything.

  • April 23, 2009

    I have 10 Twitter accounts, some for businesses I own, and some for client’s businesses … I don’t get why anyone would recommend you use your own name, it completely depends on what you are doing on Twitter … that’s like saying your url should be your license plate number … what ?

  • April 23, 2009
    Chris David

    I built a handle out of my real name a few years ago for continuity on the web. It is just different enough to be generally available most sights I visit. I did this when I started my Gmail and switched from MySpace to Facebook. I found anonymity to be way to enabling for most people. Real names, like our identities, provide accountability and encourage social responsibility.

  • April 23, 2009

    I agree about the principle of a real name being used for a personal twitter account, but there are obviously reasons for someone to choose others – whether your alias is your brand, or it is slanted towards your business (It makes sense for Darren to go by @problogger for both of these reasons).

    Your twitter name should identify you as you (or your company) are known to others. I use my real name as I do not have a well known presence on the web, and tweet from a personal point of you. @problogger makes sense, @hotdude49 doesn’t. (sorry hotdude49, if there is one!)

    As far as this list goes “You should get your name before someone else does” covers about 4 of the points and “Because you should” covers 1 or 2 and isn’t a reason. It’s a good list, but perhaps it would send a stronger message if it was condensed into a top 5 reasons.

  • April 23, 2009

    I’d agree that using the Real Name for Twitter specially when doing business is better – if…
    One has not been much around on the Web2.0 before Twitter
    There are not 5 (whom I found so far) name-siblings around ( and how lucky we are, non of us is a pr0n star, lol)
    So I use a combination of both, even when I plan to join a very serious German business community Xing. Otherwise someone searching for me would not know which one I am.
    Giving up my Web-Identity would let me lose any contacts I have so far.
    So I was very happy to find my nickname not taken already and grabbed it.
    What would make no sense, would be inventing a nick for twitter, and a nick should indeed not look like the examples you showed.
    A nickname that is readable and comprehendable can go anywhere – and should everywhere be the same. Then it can serve as a distinction between all the unlucky people who have such common names as I.
    The good thing on Twitter is, you can as many names as you want for the search, and it seems safe enough, even for a woman, to finally write the complete combination of virtual and real names.

  • April 23, 2009

    The reason I chose JustRenee1 is because when I went through a life changing experience and my stronger personality emerged I go by middle name now Renee. Meaning I just want to be Renee. Just wanted to add my 2 cents even though my 2 cents only makes sense 2 me.

  • April 23, 2009

    Not only should people use their own name on Twitter, FaceBook and other social networks they should also use a picture that people can recognize. (Just my two cents)


  • April 23, 2009

    Like many other comments, I agree the value behind using real name to some extent but there are many factors why you shouldn’t be using your real name. For me, my name was already taken and I wanted to be consistent with my blog name.

    Unless you are a celebrity like Oprah where the name is a brand too, I don’t think there is much value in running after using real names. Use what works best for you and that will be a KISS call. People who will follow you, will follow you & what you share and not what your name says.

    Finally, the news about a Pornstar using a friends name, I can relate to that as we have common friend in this case. That is unfortunate but again it is not so shocking to see people with same names or names spelled a bit differently. There are other ways to avoid and fight such situations.

  • April 23, 2009

    Normally, I felt that it’s easier to remember people name compared to brand name unless the name of the brand is very famous like Nike or Adidas as you know they have spent a lot of time and money every year to make everyone remember their brand. Therefore, to make other remember us easily, use your real name instead and tweet more so people will see more of your faces and know you better.

    We all have our own names since the day of our birth so I think we should take pride of it and make it shine by letting others from all over the world know about us since twitter is a micro-blogging site.

    (haha. Lucky, I do not need to write my comments on twitter or else I will only have 140 characters and it may looks like tis ~ @JavierChua prefer 2 use his Real Name on Twitter and Take Pride of it 2 Make it Shine on the Internet. Real Name or Brand Name 4 U? Pls Share ur View)

    @JavierChua from Singapore Say Hi to Everyone =D

  • April 23, 2009
    Carla Schlemminger

    Totally agree with you for multiple reasons (especially transparency), however, Twitter doesn’t allow you to use your full name…when it’s too long. In my case, I was 2 letters short once you add first+last name together. I even checked with Twitter since I didn’t want to accept the truncated name and their rationale was that it took up the 140 characters when you get direct messages and are retweeted so it wasn’t to your advantage anyway. My take was, hey, let me decide that! Anyway, I can be found waxing about integrated marketing + social media @carlainsf .

  • April 24, 2009

    I totally agree with Darin Carter, “it all depends on what your doing with your twitter accounts…”

    Ideally I’d have my real name and not just my surname with ‘24′ on the end. Unfortunately if your real full name is not be available you just have to compromise.

    Either that or see which names are available on Twitter and the change your real name to whatever you register with Twitter.

    Incidentally I use marshall24 for other sites too, Flickr, Blip.fm and FriendFeed for example. I think it makes sense to use the same username when possible.

  • April 24, 2009

    I use my real name on most sites because I want people to be able to find me. I like my Twitter Id, it’s short and easy to remember. My real name is on my Twitter profile.

    I think you should use your real name or something creative about your business. I agree with others about using your own picture as well.

  • April 24, 2009

    Got a point with the name and personal branding, but if you dont use your twitter account it gets deleted after 6 months. Check out http://help.twitter.com/forums/26257/entries/18370
    Seams to me that by including keywords in your twitter user name you are more likely to be found & followed by people who share the same interestes. ie – music, gardening, food, jobs etc… Depends what you want to get out of it though.

  • April 24, 2009

    This is hilarious considering it’s on “ProBlogger’s” blog
    I’m guessing “pro” isn’t his real 1st name, even if “blogger” is his real last name :)

    I can come up w/ 10 reasons NOT to use your real name as your Twitter ID, but many of you have done just that above – esp those who have long names that don’t fit, or complex spelling that people won’t bother using from their iPhone when tweeting.

    But the Main reason I recommend you blend your Brand with your name, is quite simply – for name / brand recognition. Afterall, when they are in need of your services, it’s not your name you care about them remembering – it’s that you provide the service or product that they need WHEN They need it.

    Bottom line – everyone has a different strategy on TWitter. For some, they want their name branded, b/c they’re new media consultants, and they’re trying to get google listings.

    For me, I’d prefer my real name show up in Google searches by companies and have them find my intelligently written articles published in the NY Times or WAll ST Journal, over my tweets that say, “Aloha Tweeples, today’s going to be a great day” or any other 140 word sentence that’s irrelevant to a company wanting to hire me for my social media prowess.


  • April 24, 2009

    Great article!

    The only thing that inhibits me from using my real (or full) name on twitter is that it’s so long! For people wanting to retweet me or reply to me, my name would waste 13 of their allowed 140 characters.

    Still, loved this post and tweeted it!


  • April 24, 2009

    Luckily I got the usernames that I wanted, including my real name. Sometimes I wish that Twitter was a bit more like Facebook with names. That is my favorite things about Facebook, you don’t have to make a username, just your real name will do. It is really important for people and businesses to have their Twitter names to themselves, otherwise it’s a big loss for them.

  • April 25, 2009

    I’ll pass, thank you! This was still a nice post with some very good points that were made.

  • April 25, 2009

    The bottom line is… and I just shared this sentiment in a comment on the blogopolis blueprint… is that if you have a blog, people’s instincts if they are searching for you on twitter are going to be to search for your blog name and *not* your personal name.

    Moreover, some people new to your blog may not even be well acquainted with your name but know your domain name and thus if they go seeking you out on twitter you know what they are going to type in and it won’t be your name.

    Considering all this, I think using your blog name is advantageous to using your personal name.

  • April 25, 2009

    Everybody knows me as Richcroc since years on the internet – my real name is just so long – Claudia Apfelthaler. But makes sense.

  • April 25, 2009

    I prefer to use my own name because it’s one of the things that belongs to me :) and it’s rather unique and usually remembered. By the way, it’s pronounced rah-in-duh

  • April 29, 2009

    Personally, I like that I can be anonymous on Twitter. My thoughts are my own and Im not trying to sell/advertise/be anything. I agree with using your real name if it applies but for someone using Twitter more like a blog, I don’t feel it is that important whether its a real name or a nick.

  • May 1, 2009

    I totally disagree. I’ve used the same moniker online since 1996 and find it to be far more memorable than using a real name. We don’t all need to be sheep, a little individuality goes a LONG way. IMO.

  • May 5, 2009

    I don’t use my real name because it’s pretty long and people have misspelled it my whole life. I save my real name for people who I’d like to connect with in real life.

  • May 12, 2009

    I absolutely love my name, don’t care if you can’t pronounce it and use it ALWAYS!
    My name is unique and is my brand.
    Love me for my name!
    Adiaha Rocks, Kicks Butt, Is Awesome and yada yada yada
    Best damn blog on the block simpy because of my name!

  • May 19, 2009

    I think it depends on the purpose of your Twitter account and how much effort you want to pour into building your brand. Using your name for personal twit would be logical if you just want to twit personal stuff among friends. After all, you have been using/building that name as long as you’ve lived.

  • May 28, 2009

    My first and last name were already taken so I used my first initial and last name, plus birth year. Just my first initial and last name were already being used, too. Darn that having a common name!

  • June 16, 2009

    I agree that where you can it’s best to grab your own real name on all platforms. The practical issue comes when you share your name with loads of other people. Mine is very common/popular!

    My solution was to choose a consistent personal brand: Book Mark Lee –>BookMarkLee
    And that’s the name I have on twitter and facebook etc

    If someone had beaten you to ScottWilliams on twitter or facebook what would have been your solution?

  • June 20, 2009

    @BookMarkLee I agree… Someone did beat me for the facebook vanity name so I got scottwilliams.tv which is consistent with the brand!

  • June 27, 2009

    Man that’s gay, my full name twitter name is taken :( SheldonKirk But he hardly ever uses it!! How could I get it off him :)

  • July 22, 2009

    Great advice here!

    I had originally signed up with a generic name, then had to go back and change it.

    I want to add #11 When you meat people at confs/shows they might recognize your real name and realize the already “know” you.

  • July 22, 2009

    Two months ago I said: I don’t use my real name because it’s pretty long and people have misspelled it my whole life. I save my real name for people who I’d like to connect with in real life. Since then I’ve had a change of heart, and created a new account with my name. My blog explains why…

  • July 27, 2009

    im scared to use my real name for safety reasons. its like i dont know whos gonna read my tweets or whatnot. what if some freak or someone from work decides to lurk around ?? people who know me can find me by my real name tho.

    anyways, i feel more comfortable like this. ive used this nick online before (without _ ), so im used to it. once i get more personal with someone i’ll give out more personal info. but for now i will keep it as it is. its like with phone numbers, you dont give it to anyone.

  • October 18, 2009

    I use my real name because I’ve been using it on Facebook and, even earlier, at NaNoWriMo. I’m an aspiring novelist, and my name is the brand I’m selling. I may set up a second Twitter account for my blogs and other feeds (under the name of one of the blogs), but this is my main one. (It has an underscore because I share my name with a Swedish rock journalist…)

    Even so, I don’t use my face in my avatar. Instead, I use my drawing hand like a logo (currently overlaid with a NaNoWriMo Twibbon, but that’s temporary).

  • February 28, 2010

    At first I wasn’t sure about using my real name but then I notice that people will take you seriously if you use your name than a nickname.

  • March 9, 2010

    I think it is a great for personal branding for your name. If your online for business I think it is the best way to go. Using a brand as your ID has its benefits as well but people respond best to real people (including real names)

    Twitter has grown so quickly over the last year that is going to be very hard for the late starters to get their preferred name.

    This also makes it easier to share your memorable name with others wanting to find you on Twitter.

  • March 15, 2010

    Very true. It’s much better when people use their real name as twitter username, that way you know right away whom that account belongs too.

  • July 7, 2010
    Tanyaporn Singchalee

    I’ve been using T_ instead of Tanyaporn (Thai name) because the word ‘porn’ in English is not allowed (sometimes). Tanya (means a woman) and ‘porn’ (means blessed or lucky).

  • September 1, 2010

    I’m setting up a Twitter acct for a school district. I was wondering what I should put for the box Full name. Should I put the name of the school district in that box or my name? I might not always be with district so is it better to use an alias?

  • September 2, 2010

    When I registered at Twitter I never even thought about using a different name. I am known by name on a number of websites, in several social networks and on my own blogs, and as a writer, so it would make no sense to have a different id at Twitter.

  • September 2, 2010

    You can have a funky user name, just put your real name in you profile settings.
    anyone not liking their current user name can change it in their profile where they see their user name, just type over their new username and save it. Remember though that anyone who tweets you will be using the old name so you must update everyone else you won’t get their tweets.
    Twitter Tip: make friends :)

  • September 8, 2010

    Hot topic with lots of reasons why using our real name works for some and not for others. Great blog, which attracts a lot of attention, because peeps need to know how using your real name [or brand name] adds authenticity to your tweets. Remember what you say follows you everywhere. When linked to your name, these comments define you. ♥

  • September 10, 2010

    I use my website as my user id. My website is niansahc | Chastain. “niansahc” is my name backwards with a typo. It’s worked out so far.

  • October 1, 2010

    I once had an account using my real name but was disabled. So now I don’t have any choice but to use other names

  • January 17, 2011

    Mine is already taken, plus my name is too long anyway! Twitter doesn’t allow that many characters for a username. Even if they did, that’s a lot of characters to make people type! There’s 9 letters in my first name alone!

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