Daniele Virgillito

Daniele is the creator of Linguick, spreading news, tips and curiosities about language. Tweet him, and he will make up a name for you!

5 Naming Tips For Your New Twitter Account

The web is full of “naming gurus” selling names to big companies for thousands of dollars. They claim they’ve got the solution to every naming issue. The truth is that the only one who can really make up your name is… you. You can save time and money by simply understanding what is important in order to make your username effective. If you’re new in social media and want to create a Twitter account, a Facebook fan page or whatever, you can consider these very basic tips in order to create a good name, be you a personal user or a new brand. Your name should reflect your identity and your “tone”.

How To Get Ideas
Good names don’t just appear magically! You have to evaluate different candidates and to do this you can combine different words and/or expressions which are related to either you or your product. If you need some help to explore naming possibilities, go and try Visual Thesaurus, an interactive tool that allows you to discover the connections between words and concepts you’re thinking about. You can get inspiration by adding something to an already established keyword (you can add other roots, affixes or find rhymes with this tool) or by “looking” at your words with a visual dictionary.

Be Unique
You must distinguish yourself somehow, and a unique name is one of the things that can help you. Would Starbucks have been so successful if its name was “Coffee Lovers”? Go and take a zero Google match, one or two words nobody has ever thought about. It would be great to have the same name across different social platforms: a good way to ensure that your dream name is available in major websites is Namechk, which allows you check the availability of your desired username in a few seconds.

To Understand or not to Understand?
Many people think that a good name should be a plain description of what you or your product are: fashiongeek, elearninguru, learnkanji, sellmore etc. Others think your priority must be a catchy name with exotic orthography and strange spelling, like Zymbraa, Goyoyix, Japnya or something like that. I think there is no rigid rule: probably if you are an independent user it is better to be unique, but one should seek a balance between catchiness and understandability according to the aim of your online activity. Your name should be appealing to your intended audience, so don’t call your dental plate firm “Teeth”.

People Must Remember
Many web names are great, but they are not successful. Why? You have to make sure your name will be remembered, otherwise the girl you met at the airport won’t find you on Twitter, and you will not sell a copy of your new ebook! According to my personal experience as a web user, these are good name patterns for a web name:

1. [NOUN] [NOUN] – where there is a unusual combination of terms; example: Rocket Ranch.
2. BLEND – again, the combination must be unusual and unattested! example: Listorious
3. [NOUN or clipped noun]+[verbal suffix] – These names are excellent “calls to action”; example: Domize

Think About Other Languages
One common mistake in naming is not considering how your candidate name sounds in other languages. The name of a famous medicinal tea company means “(s)he uses drugs” in Italian: needless to say, no market in Italy! Especially if you are going international, take the time to ask around some non-English speaker what they think about your name. Sometimes, the finest word in one language can be the worst swearword in another.

Happy Naming!

Comments

  • January 21, 2010

    Great post! I’ve read dozens of posts on naming lately and this one reaffirmed a lot of what I have read. I wanted to add two tools I have been using to the list:

    https://domize.com/ – it checks .com names very fast, good for brainstorming and typing a lot of names

    http://suggest.name/ – helps to generate web 2.0-ish names. This was useful because it generates, and then checks the .com names in bulk.

    My main struggle with this is overthinking the name. :)

  • January 21, 2010

    Here’s the deal: @tweet me your “naming issue” and I will make up a name for you!

  • January 21, 2010

    Nice Tips.. I did not have to lot of exercise to select my twitter id @denentech. How is it ? :)

  • January 21, 2010

    Not sure about the notion that “…the only one who can really make up your name is… you.” The Internet is plastered with
    “creative” names gone wrong – and in most cases is the result of not enlisting the use of an experienced resource to help develop the name. Point in case: http://www.penisland.net. If you don’t believe me just run a quick search in Google.

  • January 21, 2010

    I try to read this post and imagining myself as the customer/user’s point of view. Very true, I’ll find a brand that’s short, memorizable but unique in representing itself an ideal account to have. You’ve given some good advise and examples that proved your point, I agree on those too. Foreign language is something that I didn’t expect so thumbs up for alerting that.

    Just an extra tip aside from naming: Profile image is important too as first impression remains. If combining with a smart-picked name, perfect. :)

    @wchingya
    Social/Blogging Tracker

  • January 21, 2010

    Also worth bearing in mind you can’t have more than 15 characters in your user name. Should be enough for most though

  • January 21, 2010

    Old twitter names can also be snatched up for accounts that have been inactive for over 6 months. They are currently working on bulk releasing all inactive usernames. But then again, who knows when that will be?

    For more social media news and twitter tips, check out our blog: http://flashtweet.com/blog/

  • January 21, 2010

    Some good points here.

    And I agree with wchingya tip here to combine your Twitter name with a good image.

    First thing to check is your name available on Twitter. If so lock it! Of course some name is harder to lock like if you have a very common first and last name. But then try different variation use _ or – between first and last name. Shorten it down etc. Be creative.

    Of course as Twitter grows it is hard to find unique catchy names. Just like after the first wave of the dot com boom had settled.

    And also now you have to be cautious that there is no conflict of interest using the name. There was some issues last year with Leo Laporte and people using Twit in their domains, but this was primarily and issue with urls as far as I know. But if you get a unique domain you also want an Twitter account reflecting this domain.

    As I understand soon Twitter will release some of the account names that has been inactive for a while. So will be interesting to see what effect that will have.

    Cheers.. Are

  • January 21, 2010

    I use a couple id’s. The one that works best is the one that is similar to my website

  • January 21, 2010

    Oh please, we’re talking about Twitter not naming an international conglomerate. Yes, have a very unique name for when you Tweet about your love of Graham Norton and the fact you had a delicious scone to your three friends and 400 spam followers. And as usual, social media ‘experts’ have shown their mastery of the English language. Rocket Ranch is not two nouns. It is an adjective and a noun, as in rocket fuel, rocket launcher…

  • January 21, 2010

    great post, ill be sure to keep them in mind for my twitter account.

  • January 22, 2010

    Hey Nate?

    noun n. ( Abbr. n. ) The part of speech that is used to name a person, place, thing, quality, or action and can function as the subject or object of.

    What’s a rocket? It’s a thing. It’s a noun. Since when is a rocket an adjective? When you say “It shot like a rocket…” you’re speaking of a thing (noun) behaving like a rocket (another thing/noun).
    What’s a ranch? Again, a thing. A noun.

    One more question: Why are you so angry? I mean, you’re clearly not using Twitter to promote your blog or business, like the vast majority do. Afterall, you have less than 50 followers and are following less than 50. That’s perfectly okay, if that’s what you want to do – it’s whatever. But why bash people who have successfully reached more than that, and are sharing their ideas on how others can do the same, if that’s what they want to do?

    I’ll make a deal with you – YOU write up a high-quality post about why 50 followers on Twitter is just perfect, and why your username means nothing, and I’ll publish it here on TwiTip. My only rule is that it has to be a high-quality post like this one, and the others we publish here. Go ahead and submit it whenever you’re ready, right here.

  • January 22, 2010

    These are good tips.After reading it i just checked visual thesarus & the results are pretty good.Thanx for the tool….

  • January 25, 2010

    Funny, I’ve been thinking about a name to site about learning kanji. I think I chose a decent one, but won’t disclose it because haven’t got that domain yet.

  • January 25, 2010

    Daniele–I agree that some Twitter names should be clever/interesting/unusual etc. I often click on names for that very reason, to see who they are, because my curiosity has been piqued. However, in my own case, I have remained as myself, Lucy Coats, simply because I am a writer and Twitter/FB fan page etc are all part of my author platform to promote my books and my profile. I think that’s true of most people with any kind of public persona. The one place I have diverged from this is on my blog http://www.scribblecitycentral.blogspot.com which is where I have started my (fairly eccentric, but I hope useful) Writing 101 Productions. I wanted a different name for that, which more closely described what the blog does and is.

  • February 2, 2010
    Joris Peucheret
    @therightjob

    Great post and useful comments indeed-
    I would like to take such an interactive post to ask some insight here while it is relevant:
    what do you think I am doing with the twitter name @ therightjob?

  • February 2, 2010

    @therightjob: nice username, just one thing: I’d type TheRightJob.

  • February 11, 2010

    @Linguick-Thanks for your suggestion- I have slighly modify my username -as per your comment on 02/02/2010:)
    I actually prefer it, hoping current and new followers will also like it.

  • February 21, 2010

    Great article, ty! i too have decided to quit bucking twitter and get it so thank you for your websites and blogging – i am newly inspired

  • February 26, 2010

    My name was a no brainer as I illustrate Scottish words for fun and already use stooryduster for the web address. It means a duster covered in dust and I already use it for my web illustrations.

    Only thing though is I should have checked its spelling first. It should be stoorieduster.

    However even though it is wrong I prefer my spelling for what I use it for.

    Thanks for all the good tips. I’m just starting out.

  • November 29, 2010

    yeah nice tips, i came up with @9t2, ”92” being country code of Pakistan, n ”t” is first lettr of my name. So if put in bw 92 i.e 9t2 the pronounciation remains the same NinetyTwo. I m Tanvir from Pakistan. N thr is no shortage of short twtr ids, i made this one yestrday.

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