Twitter For Dummies
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On Twitter, your username, or handle, is your identity. If you can, sign up for Twitter by using your name or a variation of it as your username (assuming somebody else isn't already using it). For example, if your name is John Ira, you may want to pick a Twitter username such as @johnira or @john_ira.

Twitter usernames typically appear with an at sign (@) before the name, because that's how you refer to other users on Twitter. But when you're actually choosing a username, the @ isn't part of it. The only characters you can use are uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and the underscore character ( _ ).


Here are a more few tips to keep in mind when choosing a Twitter username:

  • A good username is the same, or similar to, your own name. If users have already claimed those names, try adding an adjective or descriptor, such as @handsomejohn or @johntheterrible. If you prefer for people not to know who you are, you can choose a name that's a bit more generic.

    You also can use a handle that you've established on other websites. For example, you may want your username to match your e-mail address; if your e-mail address is [email protected], you may decide to use @doglover1980 as your Twitter name.

  • If you choose to use only your last name as a username, you may find yourself without a first name in the eyes of other Twitterers.

  • You can use your company or business name as your username, and you can fill in that business name in the Name text box on the Settings page for your account. But if you do, be sure to include the names of anyone who handles the company Twitter account in the 160-character "Bio" text box on the Settings page for your Twitter profile.

    Your Twitter name has power and influence on search engine optimization (SEO), which translates to how close to the top of a search results list you appear in a search engine such as Yahoo! or Google. If you're a business, consider using a valuable keyword as your Twitter name.

  • If you'd prefer to use a nickname rather than your name, or your company or product name, be sure to choose a username that's friendly and accessible.

    On Twitter, you want people to respond to you, not be put off by a risqué or otherwise questionable username. And if you run into your Twitter pals at networking events or other real-life social situations, you want to make sure that you don't mind having your username written on your nametag or shouted out in greeting.

  • Use a short Twitter username. Tweets are only 140 characters, so when people are replying to you, if you have a longer name, you leave them less room for message content. Twitter limits your username to just 15 characters for this very reason.

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