Yesterday I made a pretty big decision in the world of social media. I changed my Twitter handle (i.e. my Twitter username) from @RonDawson to @DareDreamerMag. I’ve been thinking about it for a bit of time now. But over the past few years, I’ve built a pretty decent Twitter following, so why in the world would I change my handle? Did I lose my followers? Will people be confused? What about all the people who have @rondawson in their contact info? These are all excellent questions. Let’s address them.
As I write in my Top 7 Twitter Tips, a key strategy for anyone who wants to build a decent following is to know your audience and tweet content that audience finds useful. I use my Twitter account predominantly as a platform to provide useful links and resources for professional creatives. It is perhaps first and foremost the “megaphone” for this blog. Much of the traffic to this blog stem from my tweets or retweets of my tweets. So the majority of people who follow me on Twitter do so because they are interested in topics related to being a professional creative.
But there are a growing number of topics I’d love to tweet and write about that wouldn’t necessarily appeal to a large section of my audience. Personal tweets about life, faith, science, philosophy, etc. I want to honor the 4,000+ people who follow me because they want useful resources related to their craft. I also want to grow the team of contributors to this blog. As its audience and popularity grows, it becomes less and less about me personally, and more about building a community of creatives. So it made sense to make the Twitter account reflect Dare Dreamer Magazine rather than Ron Dawson. This gives me the freedom to make my personal Twitter account more about all topics I am interested in sharing. I’ll foresee using it to share film projects I work on (I’ll naturally share those on the DDMag Twitter stream too). But I also foresee using my personal account to share links to articles on the aforementioned non-creative related topics, most likely faith and philosophy in addition to filmmaking. (Hmmm? Nice alliteration. I think I have a new Twitter tag line brewing. 🙂 ). Many of you who currently follow me may also be interested in those topics. If so, then follow @RonDawson. You may be one of the first!
Keeping Your Followers
Naturally, I was concerned that changing my Twitter username would result in losing all the followers I’ve built up. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen. It’s easy to change your username without losing followers. Just log into your Twitter account, access your profile, click the “Edit Profile” button, click on “Account”, then select a new username.
If the new username is available, you’ll get a green check mark. If not, you’ll get red. Once that’s done, hit save changes. All the tweets you’ve done will remain the same. Everyone who follows you will now see your new Twitter handle in their stream instead of the old.
For most people changing Twitter handles, especially if your original one was your name, you may want to keep it. In fact, you SHOULD keep it regardless so that you can re-direct everyone who still has the old address. That means that as soon as you change the username, you should log out, then create a new account with the old username. Don’t wait too long to do this because if by some chance you had a popular old Twitter name, you want to ensure you can still get it before someone else does. You’ll have to enter a new email address . If you want to keep the same email address, make sure you change the email address of your original account too. Once you’ve created the new account, update the profile description with a link to your re-named account. Just add the “@” symbol and when the profile is viewed, it will automagically become a link to the renamed Twitter stream.
You should keep it like this for a while to give people who still find you via your old account the opportunity to follow the account they were most likely trying to follow in the first place. And if you’re going to just use it as a placeholder, it’s a good idea to also add a tweet forwarding people to the correct Twitter account. Like this:
If you're a professional creative you should follow me @DareDreamerMag. Gonna use this account for other "fun" stuff. Not sure what yet. 🙂
— Ron Dawson (@RonDawson) March 22, 2012
Dealing with Confusion
Will some people be confused about the change? Probably. But if you follow the steps I outlined above, it should limit the amount of confusion. Make sure the branding and profile description in the original account (the one for which you’re changing the username) will be descriptive enough to make it obvious that the content they expected to see when they came to your profile matches their expectations. I still want my DDMag Twitter account to be associated with me, so I added my credit and Twitter link in my revised DDMag Twitter profile.
You’ll notice that I also updated the profile image for the DDMag Twitter account to match DDMag branding. As of this writing, I still need to update my Twitter background image, but at least the branding for that is related to DDMag.
Notify Your Readers and Followers
If you do have a significant social media following, it’s a good idea to notify them of the change. Tweet it for sure:
— Ron Dawson @ #DDfm (@DareDreamerFM) March 22, 2012
Mention it in your next email newsletter. Post it of Facebook. If you have a blog, blog about it. But get the word out.
Follow Friday Etiquette
Just a side note: it’s tacky to make #FollowFriday recommendations to your own accounts. So I would not advise having the original Twitter account give a #FollowFriday reco to your new account. Especially if the reason you’re changing it is because the new account is going to be used for content that wildly differs from the original.
What’s In Store for the Future
If you’re insightful you may deduce that all of these changes are heralding something coming on the horizon. I will neither confirm nor deny any such speculation. But, if you want to know for sure, well, I guess you’ll just have to follow both @DareDreamerMag and @RonDawson. 😉