How to change Twitter Usernames without losing Followers

twitter-bird-white-on-blueI recently decided to change Twitter usernames from “chownage” to “kylechowning.” As to why, my main motivation is because people will know me before they’ll know chownage. Moreover, there are SEO (search engine optimization) benefits and overall, it just makes it easier for people to recall and reference.

After making the change, I got a few questions asking me how I did it and if there were any negative ramifications from doing so. The short answer is, it was easy and there weren’t any problems. However, the challenge that I encountered was that I had already registered the “kylechowning” username a year or so ago and there were pre-existing friends on that account. Because I didn’t want to start from scratch on either accounts, I had to get creative on making the swap.

By the way, if your new username of choice is not already taken, here are simple instructions on how to change your username. These instructions focus on swapping usernames of two currently existing accounts.

The following steps use the example of changing my main account chownage to kylechowning.

  1. Log in to Twitter
  2. In the upper right hand navigation bar, click Settings
  3. Change Username from chownage to chownage2 – This will temporarily free up your current username
  4. Log out of Twitter
  5. Log in to your other Twitter account; in this case, kylechowning
  6. Click Settings
  7. Change Username from kylechowning to chownage – Now the username kylechowning is available
  8. Log out of Twitter
  9. Log in to Twitter using your chownage2 settings
  10. Click Settings
  11. Change Username from chownage2 to kylechowning

And your done! Due to the way that Twitter has setup the usernames, you don’t have to change anything within Twitter. All references to your name will change in non-cached Twitter feeds.

If you’ve integrated your Twitter account with any social networks or blogs, you’ll need to change your username so your updates are posted.

Finally, don’t forget to change your settings on your favorite Twitter app(s).

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  • http://www.dk-today.com Daniel

    Interesting…

    What are the SEO benefits? From what I can tell, Twitter adds "Name" to the title bar of each page as well as your username, so your name will be there every time anyways.

    Also, in a twitter environment, wouldn't a shorter username be better than having your full name? (Because you only get a certain amount of characters for followers to respond with.)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chownage Chownage

    Honestly, the main goal was to make it easier for people to remember my username. I know that I have a handful of friends that I can never remember their username because it's not their name and it's some funky spelling of a word or phrase that they made up. That is the equivalent to being in the same room, but always forgetting their name because you can't remember how to pronounce it…so you don't include them in the conversation.

    Regarding character count, Twitter limits usernames to 15 characters. My full name is 12, so I don't think it's an issue.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Lindsey_Nobles Lindsey_Nobles

    I am so struggling with this one…to be @lnobles or @lindseynobles…i am most concerned about adding precious characters

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/chownage Chownage

      If this helps, there are 160 available characters in a text message. In Twitter, you can never do more than 140. Twitter doesn't allow your username to be more than 15 characters. So somewhere, they're absorbing 5 characters for Twitter use. I think you're safe to make the change. I would. I did.

    • Jason Yarborough

      Yeah I'm in the same boat. Thinking of switching from yarby to jasonyarborough; which is the max 15 characters. Big jump going from a 5 character name to 15.

      • http://www.kylechowning.com Kyle

        that is a lot of characters. I think I would stick with Yarby. Way easier to remember.

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  • http://www.reelartsy.com Karen

    Thanks. That was helpful.

  • Ajmer

    I have a business and discovered my business name was already somebody’s twitter username. Long story short, This twitter user has agreed to change their twitter username slightly so I can register my business name. Is there anything we both need to do to ensure this is smooth as possible. I am in the UK and this user is in Japan and we are discussing this over email through an interpreter which a 12 hour time difference. :o|

  • http://inspiredrd.com InspiredRD

    I’ve been wanting to change everything over from InspiredRD to my name. But @AlysaBajenaru is long (and hard to spell) and @alysa is taken (but not being used).

    • http://www.kylechowning.com Kyle Chowning

      It’s not as long as you think. My twitter is only one letter less than yours: @kylechowning. Go for it!