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What’s in a Twitter Name?




Afro-Cheez and Neko-do had their fifteen minutes of fame last week when the Miami Herald ran their Twitter “quotes” as part of their newspaper’s coverage of the anniversary of 9/11.

Understandably, some of the Herald’s actual reporters (Remember reporters? Like Clark Kent, only without the bulky camera) objected and said so in a letter they posted in the newsroom. Their objection was two fold, partly they objected to the idea of displacing actual reporting with inane comments from Twitter. Second, they brought up the fact that the Twitter attributes made the relevancy and quality of the “quotes” even worse because they aren’t real names.

I gotta say that I’m with them on this. Having made my living as a reporter in a variety of mediums over the last nineteen years, I cringe at the way social media has crept in as acceptable journalism.

But, bringing this back to marketing (look at the masthead), let’s overlook the question of journalistic integrity and focus on the name. What’s in a name? A lot. I don’t care if Afro-Cheez makes the most profound statement I’ve ever read, I’m not buying it. The trouble is that many of us settled into social media as a lark some time ago and now find that we’re doing business on these same channels. That works for those who used their real name or a variation but for those who went with a cute, slightly suggestive, handle – not so much.

Beyond the embarrassment of a silly name, there’s the confusion factor. I know of several people I do business with whose Twitter names always leave me lost for a moment wondering if I’ve got the right person.

If you’re using Twitter to conduct business and your handle doesn’t include any part of yours or your company’s name, bite the bullet now and change it. Maybe someone has already claimed your name, fine, then come close but neither you nor the Miami Herald should be associated with Twitter names that sound like a stripper or new snack food.

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk Victoria Blount

    I agree with this article, if you have a twitter account for a business or journalistic purposes then you should have a respectable twitter account name to represent yourself and your business in a professional manner.

  • http://www.purplecar.net/ Christine Cavalier

    Yes! Thank you for posting this. I often wonder why major news outlets are opting to use Twitter as a quote source, especially when no names are attached. I write commentary and have never been a newsroom journalist. Can I ask you: Is this laziness? Is it a result of budget cuts and the need for immediate results? I’m so confused about what the journalism world is going through and what has happened to accountability. I don’t think all journalists are bad, lazy slobs, so some other pressure must be causing them, as a whole, to sink to these kinds of depths. Your post lends me a little insight. Thanks.