Saturday, September 10, 2011

Twitter Handle: Your Virtual Signature

Tips for appropriate and effective naming of Twitter handles

First impression is the last impression. Be it real world or the virtual world.

It is seen that the decision to follow any handle is taken within first 4 to 5 seconds. Although there are many other factors influencing that decision (like the bio, the interests, the no of followers, the DP etc) but the most important function of getting a person on your profile page is done by your handle. It is your brand ambassador.


People conclude a lot of thing about you, just by looking at your handle. Like -

  • Your Personality and style
  • Your Originality
  • Your Creativity
  • And the most important, your brand

The most common format of any personal handle is “First name – Last name” and any corporate handle is “Company Name”. But sometimes, it makes the handle look bland.

Here are a few tips that will help make your handle appropriate and effective.


Tips: The following points may be considered while deciding your handle.

  • The attitude

    Your handle is your attitude. The twitter protocol gives us the flexibility to choose any name as a handle. (And not necessarily the email protocol, which is first name – last name). Hence, you can choose and pick from the available list of names. But like your tattoo, it should define your attitude. It may be simple, responsible, mature, arrogant or angry. Like the handle @BeingSalmanKhan highlights the aura of the well known actor.
  • The Handle Name – Dos and Donts

    1. Under scores – They are a total no-no. You may use it to differentiate first name and last name, but anything beyond that is a total turn off. And yes, not more than one underscore. (unless creatively used)
    2. Numbers – Adding a number beyond your handle gives an impression that you are not creative enough and a novice on twitter. Like @Ralphsmith07
    3. Repetitions – To get somewhere near to the particular handle, many tweeps repeat some alphabets. (just to sound like the handle). Eg - @TechnoGuyyy. Totally Avoid as it gives an impressions of a wannabe.
    4. Capitalise – Although twitter is generally not bothered about capital letters in a handle, but i personally recommend that in case the handle contains two words, we should capitalise the first alphabets of both the words for better making the handle simple. Like instead of @barackobama it is aptly named as @BarackObama
  • The length

    The length of the handle should ideally be within 10 characters. This is because the limit of any tweet is 140 characters. In case anyone wants to retweet you, you eat up their much needed space. Also, ideally, ever tweet needs to be well within 120 characters for the ease of ReTweeting.
  • Creativity

    Finally, you may not get the handle you plan for. But that shouldn’t drive you to resort to using any of the easier ways (mentioned in point 2). Be creative. Think of some handle that explains your purpose and attitude. There are many, we just need to think out of the box. As mine is a casual handle, i ve named it a pure waste! (which also rhymes with my name). and the casual @MischievousMonk shows how the handle is a white mischief (Vodka) and old monk (Rum) lover!
  • Conclusion

    Twitter has a casual way of being. And the handle acts as your signature on this virtual world. It defines you. Be it official, informal or purely casual. And dont worry if you already have a handle. You can change it at any point in time, to suit your style. After all, It is the virtual world’s first point of contact with you.

    As they say, “Well begun, is half done