How To Change Your Twitter Name Without Losing Followers

I joined Twitter in October of 07 not really knowing what it had in store for me. Well one thing led to another and as I reached my 1000 follower milestone I began to regret my original naming decision. Then I received a tweet from Ari Herzog concerning my Twitter name and that was it, I had to change.

Here is how I changed my Twitter name without losing any followers.

First, make the name change. You can change your Twitter name at any time on the ‘settings’ page at Twitter.com.

Second, create a new account with your old Twitter name. You don’t have to do much with this account. Maybe add a URL to your new twitter account and post a single tweet notifying people that your name has changed.

Tweet about new account name

You won’t lose any of your followers and they’ll all see the name change as their Twitter clients refresh.

Notes

I seem to have missed a few @replys right after the switch. Most Twitter apps won’t update your existing tweets with your new name until they are restarted. As a result you are at risk of getting some @replys sent to your old account. This could also happen with people you talk to regularly. Be sure to continue to monitor your old account so you can catch missed replies and update your follower of the name change.

I also made it a point to run across all of the social networks that list my Twitter handle and update them. This included sites like MyBlogLog, FriendFeed assorted ning sites, etc. It may be awhile before my new Twitter account shows up on Google for Jon Bishop.

Don’t forget to update your Twitter link on your blog if you have one.

My TwitterGrade went down .9 points … oh well. I also had duplicate listings for awhile but this was solved by retrieving an updated grade for the old account. Other Twitter stats sites are showing decreased numbers but I’m sure this will even out over time.

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  • Kenny

    Thanks for this. Question for you. I have been caught with a 3rd party application that is acting like a virus. It is a mafia mob game like thing that continues to try to send out DMs from my account even though I have revoke access. I had to change the password. The problem is that it continues to try to log in, and I am always locked out.

    If I change my username as you suggested, is that tantamount to having a new account free–and thus free me from this mess?

    Thanks
    Kenny

    • http://www.jonbishop.com Jon Bishop

      First I would check http://twitter.com/account/connections to be sure they weren’t connected via OAuth first. Then I would contact Twitter and let them know about the abuse.

      Changing your Twitter name should be a last resort. In theory, it should work because the API calls would no longer be associated with your username. But once again, I would try and contact Twitter first and post your problem here http://getsatisfaction.com/twitter/topics/what_to_do-jio8

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  • http://www.mydailyapp.com/ Bill

    Thanks, Jon! Very helpful stuff.

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  • http://www.foodwithlegs.com David

    Thanks for this. I have been thinking of going the other way with a twitter name change–from my real name to the name of my food blog. What is the rationale for going the real name route?

  • Don Miller

    Thanks for the practical advice, I had been wondering how to do this!

  • http://www.jackleblond.com/twitter Jack Leblond

    Good info – I did the same thing, signed up with a generic nick-name then had to go back and change it. Thankfully my desired name was still available.

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    Definitely a smart idea – thank you for sharing. One warning: I’ve been using TweetDeck and when I made the switch, I had to logout/log back in. When I did that, the new profile name did not carry over my TweetDeck settings, so I needed to re-classify my groups.

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