Notes From a Hired Pen

How to change your twitter name (and keep the old one, too)

When I signed up for Twitter, I didn’t think it’d amount to anything, so I didn’t put much thought into my handle. A friend told me it’d be a nice way to promote my book, which was about the Jersey Shore, so I picked @jerseyshorejen.

That was fine then, but as Twitter become more popular and my follower account grew, the name didn’t quite fit. @jerseyshorejen didn’t look like someone who also wrote about running, basic science and financial news. It looked like someone who liked the Jersey Shore.

I’m also starting a new venture in late November, which I’ll be promoting through Twitter. So¬†yesterday afternoon, I pulled the trigger and changed my handle. I’m now @byJenAMiller. I did so with care, though, but I didn’t want someone else to scoop up @jerseyshorejen and set up a parody account to spam my former followers and/or trick people into thinking that is me.

Making the change was relatively easy, and I thank Michael Streko from Knowem for helping me out. Here’s what I did.

1. Set up a second Twitter account with a nonsense name. This account is linked to an email address that forwards to my main email.

2. Changed @jerseyshorejen to @byJenAMiller. This was easy – I just went into Twitter settings and changed the name. It was as simple as changing my Twitter bio.

3. Immediately logged off and logged into the second Twitter account.

4. Changed second Twitter account name to @jerseyshorejen.

5. Made bio of that account “My twitter name has changed! Follow me @byJenAMiller.” I also made that the account’s first – and for now – only tweet.

6. Logged out of @jerseyshorejen and back into @byJenAMiller.

7. Tweeted the name change. Responded to questions about the change, and moved forward.

8. Anytime someone still tweets to @jerseyshorejen, I get an email, so I can respond and let him or her know about the change.

I had a bit of angst about the change. I’ve had strangers walk up to me and ask “are you Jersey Shore Jen?” so it had become a brand, but a brand that didn’t fit me anymore. As soon as I made the switch, I felt like a weight had been taken off my shoulders.

Have you ever changed your Twitter name? If so, what did you learn from the experience?

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One Response to “How to change your twitter name (and keep the old one, too)”

  1. Ben Garvey says:

    I changed my twitter name early on. I originally registered using an Internet handle, but quickly saw that people were using their own names instead.

    Twitter is one of the only services I know of that allows you to easily change your username and I appreciated that.

    Hopefully people don’t start calling you Jenna.

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