Why @Twitter_Tips has become @TweetSmarter

UPDATE 1: Wow!!! Your outpouring of love through tweets, DMs, emails and comments has been deeply touching *wipes tear from eye* Thanks to everyone for being so supportive! (The change has had a few stressful twists and turns, but everything important has gone smoothly.)

UPDATE 2: OMG, even more messages than we realized! We partially misconfigured after the name change and missed a TON of tweets. Apologies to not getting back to everyone personally—it’s just too much for us right now.

UPDATE 3: Our old account, even though the only thing there is a message telling people to follow our new account, has been getting thousands and thousands of followers. Here’s more of the story on that.

In a time long, long ago, Twitter changed their policy to not allow the word “Twitter” in usernames. And then…

A few months after the policy change, a newish account came to the attention of a Twitter employee. It was our just a few months-old account, @Twitter_Tips! It seems having “Twitter” in the username was causing minor technical (engineering) problems on the account. It had to do with how they engineered the interface to prevent accounts from having “Twitter” in their name.

We offered to change our username

At that time we offered to change our username (we figured Twitter would ask us eventually). There was no response to our offer. We created the @TweetSmarter account as a placeholder so no one else could take the name and contemplated what to do. Since Twitter had not taken us up on our offer to change our name, nor asked us to, we decided to keep it, willing to change at any time Twitter should ask.

Of course, the longer we waited, the more people became familiar with us as @Twitter_Tips. But there was always the hope we could keep the name. All we ever did from @Twitter_Tips was send out news, tips and status about Twitter, and answer questions for users. We didn’t even have a blog for a very long time. We still don’t have anything to sell :)

The dreaded password reset

Then one day Twitter reset our password, along with those of several other large users. (Because of some hackers attacking Twitter.) We were unable to reset the password because of the old problem with having “Twitter” in the username. In fact, Twitter told us, not even they could reset our password (it would have taken some custom engineering that had never been done for anyone before). We were locked out of our account from the web interface. Fortunately, we were able to remain logged in via the wonderful HootSuite and keep tweeting and answering questions for people.

Twitter decides it is time: Our username must change

All the changes happened automatically. (We kept the Avatar the same to minimize confusion.)

What happened was, having come back to the attention of Twitter, they decided it was time for us to change our username. They told us how much they loved what we did, and offered all kinds of help. They even offered to set up a temporary @Twitter_Tips web page to direct people to the new @TweetSmarter account. (We said yes.)

What happens when your username changes?

It used to cause a variety of problems, but no longer. The name simply changes. All your followers find themselves following someone by a new name (which can admittedly be confusing!) You remain on all the same lists, and your old tweet URLs stay the same. We have decided to take advantage of the name change by creating a Twitter educational site at TweetSmarter.com. We have a cool infographic there to give you a taste of things to come :)

Please help us by letting people know!

Because of the confusion, we would really appreciate if you get the word out by tweeting this blog post so people can know what happened. Here’s a picture of the two of us (although actually, Dave has a beard now, lol):

Dave and Sarah Larson

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