It’s been a while since the COMMS coroner, our special investigative reporter here at the COMMS corner, has served up one of his trademark posts that gets under the skin of one of social media’s most burning issues.
Sadly, we couldn’t keep him and his ‘unique’ research findings from the public any longer.
So, without further ado, here is a special report into what Twitter @handles really say about you…
(Note: thoughts expressed in this post do not reflect those of blog author Adam Vincenzini…unless you agree…or laugh…then he will claim them…)
Does your Twitter name really matter?
By the COMMS coroner
Apart from the name listed on your birth certificate, is there a more important place your name ‘lives’ in 2010 than on Twitter?
For the non-addicted, the answer is obvious, but for those afflicted by this condition, your @Twitter handle is your online identity…and offline identity in some cases as well.
But what does your Twitter name say about you? Does it say anything? Does it say everything?
Here’s what my special report revealed on this subject…using the fictional Jerry Fendaway as our example…
@Jerry – if he could be so lucky! People with a first name only Twitter handle are a rare bunch, having snapped up names early on (or have been blessed by a unique first name).
Analysis: These people could be considered as the earliest of early adopters…or the geekiest of geeky – either way you have to respect their pioneering spirit. This lot is also prone to experiencing feelings of resentment and jealousy from the mere mortals we’ll talk about throughout this post.
@JerryFendaway – setting the standard? Depending on when you joined Twitter, the first name / surname handle has always been held in high regard.
Analysis: A few schools of thought on this one. This classic format is often viewed as the most ‘professional’ of Twitter handles but perhaps also the most unimaginative.
Issues also stem from the use (or misuse) of capital letters with this option – @jerryfendaway could be confusing to the uninitiated eye but @JerryFendaway adds an element of punctuation that isn’t really necessary.
The jury is out on this one.
@jerry_fendaway – to underscore or not to underscore that is the question! I know people who LOVE the underscore, while others consider it amateurish.
Analysis: What my special investigation showed was that ‘underscorers’ were often late-ish to the Twitter game but very attached to their personal brands…either that, or they just had very common names and the name / first name option had already been taken.
Multiple uses of ‘_’ creates even more debate. @_Jerry_Fendaway_ isn’t a name…is it?!?!?
@jerryfendaway23 – the numerical curse. As soon as numbers enter the name equation it can be argued that a level of prestige is removed, creating a handle that is verging on ‘ho hum-ness’.
Analysis: “Name number’ers” are trying to do so many things – unique yet uniform, easy to find but just as easy to forget…I could go on. It’s dangerous territory but quickly becoming one of the few remaining ways to feature a full name on Twitter.
Or, are the days of numbered names, numbered???
@FiremanFendaway – I am what I my name says I am. The occupation plus name remix is another popular choice, especially by those who passionately tout their occupation via Twitter.
Analysis: This is a great choice if you can guarantee you’ll be a fireman for life or want to create a quick niche on Twitter, but if decide to become a dentist in a few years time you could face a Twitter identity crisis…heavy stuff.
@JFendaway – this one is a favourite of those with longer than usual surnames and often adopted by people who want to have a professional presence on Twitter.
Analysis: It is tough for the long surname afflicted. First name plus initial i.e. @JerryF is often out of the question yet ‘initial plus surname’ takes the personal touch away from what is supposed to be a very personal medium.
It is, however, decidedly better than @FendawayJ which is the poor cousin of @JFendaway (and we haven’t even looked at ‘two initials plus surname’ format i.e. @JCFendaway which sounds like a department store.
@RealJerryFendaway – really?!? Names beginning with @Real have traditionally been the domain of celebrities aiming to distinguish themselves from parody accounts which I can live with…kind of.
Analysis: However, add @TheReal to a name and patience begins to be tested. Even just @The is a tough one to get your head around. Often it is used in order to get a full name reference in i.e. @TheJerryFendaway but is it a bit much for a civilian? I just don’t know *sigh*…
There are a bunch of other variations Jerry Fendaway could consider, including:
I could go on, and on, and on…but I wanted to (attempt) to get to the (somewhat) serious part of this post.
- What impact does a Twitter name / handle have on your willingness to engage?
- Is it more about the content the person provides?
- Can you take a fun name seriously?
- Does a creative name imply creative tweeting / thinking?
- What will be the ideal format going forward as names are snapped up more and more?
- What influenced your name choice?
So many questions…love to hear your answers…
Submitted by the COMMS coroner
On behalf of @AdamVincenzini (the only Adam Vincenzini in the world…making that choice somewhat easier!)
* The asterix denotes that the findings of this research are officially unofficial