Not on Twitter yet? Great! I’ll get you before you make a huge mistake. Okay, you can’t really make a huge mistake. I just want to give you some tips for coming up with your Twitter handle (or username). Then you can sign up (it’s free!) and join us as we read de Kooning: An American Master in our summer Twitter book club for artists.
I got to thinking about this subject when I was helping a friend get on Twitter last week for the first time. As might be expected, the names she thought she wanted to use on Twitter had already been taken. So, we started from scratch. Here’s how the process should go.
Your first choice should be your real name. If you use your real name for your art business (as I think you should), start with it. First name, last name. Add a middle initial if you need to. Always keep in mind: How do you want to be known and remembered?
Of course we can’t all be as lucky as @lisacall and have only 8 letters in our full name. That would be a dream! Why? Because Twitter is a microblog. It only allows you 140 characters per tweet. If you have to use someone’s Twitter handle within the tweet, it takes up those precious characters.
Shorter is better, but it should also make sense. I get frustrated on Twitter when I think I should know someone, but their Twitter handle doesn’t give me a clue to their real name. It’s not an egregious error, but I’d like to personalize my social networking as much as possible. Real names are easier to keep straight.
If versions of your real name are taken, don’t spend too long crying about it. Go with something else that’s memorable. Something about your art or perhaps your location. For instance, there is @emilyoftexas. Her Twitter handle doesn’t say “art,” but it is memorable and helps place her. Emily of Texas is also the name of her blog. Great branding, right! Here’s another example: @annesart is the same name of Anne Leuck Feldhaus‘s website.
Specialize in portraits? Use the word “portraits” with your name.
See how this works?
One last note: It’s kind of nice to use the capital letters with your name (like @WilliamRMoore) so that people can tell where one word ends and the next one begins.
Wanna hear the story of my friend and how we decided on her Twitter name?
The friend that I was helping with Twitter was Kelly Krueger, who is an animal communicator and owns Articulate Animals.
We decided that @ArticulateAnimals was too long and could have belonged to any animal communicator.
@KellyCommunicates or @KellyArticulates were OKAY, but with those names she could have been a professional speaker. “What,” exactly does she articulate? We decided “animals” was more important than “articulates.”
We talked about KKAnimals, using her two initials, but it didn’t seem personal enough. Kelly’s line of work is very personal. People need to trust her with their beloved pets. She needed to have “Kelly” in her Twitter name.
Final result: @KellyAnimals