Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Twitter - Startup #1 - picking a name

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

I was asked to put together a presentation about getting started on twitter. So after culling it all together, it was suggested I might blog it as well. Here goes ...

First things first. Getting started on twitter you need to pick an appropriate name. I don't say this lightly. Depending on why you are tweeting and for who, depends on how you handle this. If you are tweeting for your company this may be handled in one of two ways. Either your name will reflect the company - it will be a company account, or it will be a persaonal account that tweets for the company. sometimes there is a combination thereof. A classic example is how Dell decided to handle twitter names.

If your first name is Charles and you work at Dell, then your twitter name is @CharlesAtDell.

What has to be kept in mind is that one's following / reputation stays with the name. Hence if some establishes a good rapport with your customers but then moves to another company - their followers (your customers) go with them. So many companies will go for the company name accompanied by an appropriate logo.

Next, when choosing / crafting a name, keep length in mind. On twitter you only have 140 characters to say what you want and add a link. One of the ways you are recognized on twitter is by the amount you are retweeted (your content is shared by others to their followers). You will be retweeted more if your name is shorter. Retweeting adds 4 (RT @) + the length of your name - known as the "My number" rule. If your name is 8 characters long, when someone retweets you they are adding at least 12 characters to your original tweet (8+4). That means if you want to get retweeted you should leave AT LEAST that amount of characters available (140-mynumber), preferably leave double your number.

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