Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Philosophy of Twitter Handles

What's in a name? Apparently quite a bit.

I informally polled tweeps following my @airport_girl Twitter account and received a plethora of answers. Firstly, I'll dissect my handle for those not formally acquainted with me. I work for an airport, and possess a profound interest, boarding on obsession; alright, I'll admit, I am a downright aviation geek. The second half of my handle, is obvious, at least I think it is, since I am of the female persuasion.

The folks responding to my polling seemed to be equally split down the middle on what is the best practice for choosing a Twitter handle (screen name). My interpretation of the split is this: if you're looking to make a name for yourself, build your personal brand, or be completely transparent; the rule of thumb recommended is that your handle ought to be your name. On the other side of the coin, is this: if you're attempting to build a name for your company or enterprise, you're not necessarily wanting people to remember your name, or in my case, you like "kitschy" handles; picking adverbs, adjectives, company/organization/enterprise names, descriptors; basically anything else that isn't your birth given nomenclature is a-okay.

I actually tweet for two Twitter accounts. I began professionally tweeting for my employer in later 2008, @HIAairport, in order to build an online voice for the company. The resultant relationships and tweeting communities I was building and discovering through the professional account led me to create my personal account. And, it is strictly that, a personal tweet feed, admittedly at times it's my stream of consciousness feed. Depends on the day and how little caffeine I've consumed!

So, what are your thoughts on the matter. What was the impetus behind the Twitter handle you've elected? Did it have a grand overarching philosophy, or did you simply just want to go where everyone knows your name?


  1. Hi Stephanie ... just discovered your blog ... great stuff ... will be following.

    My handle comes from a game I played with my daughters where we were swapping the first syllable of pairs of words around ... don't ask me why we started this ... it just happened.

    So Jonny Norris (not that anyone actually calls me Jonny ... and lives to tell the tale) became @nonnyjorris ... et voila !


  2. Hey, Stephanie.

    Somehow I missed your informal poll, but I get asked all the time, so I'll share.

    I'm @jacksvalentine. It's a song title from my favorite band. I like the song (the overall feel of it), and felt like it had a nice ring to it to use as a "brand" so to speak.

    I've since decided that my muse (I'm a writer) must be named Jack and he's about as fickle as a bottle of whiskey. :)


  3. Great article!

    I chose @airportbars for reasons similar to what you mention above... I wanted people to remember my website more than my own name.

    I will probably sign up for a personal twitter account as well so that I can tweet about anything and not be concerned that it isn't related to airport bars.

    BTW, I like the blog... looking forward to future blog entries!


  4. Thanks to everyone for weaving the tales of how you arrived at your tweeting moniker! Those stories give more dimension to your online persona & voice.

  5. It was fun having that discussion with you on twitter. I received interesting feedback advising me against putting my favorite airline in my name, for the sake of not confusing people. Way to go on the blog post, it was well written!