So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu To The @TheRealPRMan…Kinda

Posted on October 14, 2009


So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu To The @TheRealPRMan…Kinda

The @TheRealPRMan in Retirement, Not

The @TheRealPRMan in Retirement, Not

Times have changed for @TheRealPRMan, and so has my Twitter handle. Same guy, same content, new name: @Steveology. Find me at http://twitter.com/Steveology.

I can hear some people saying, “Really? Why would you change it, and why @Steveology?” …Let me explain.

When I started my first Twitter account I was unable to claim my name or a reasonable alternative. So, I picked a random name. I changed my name several times over the months, or abandoned the account and started a  new Twitter account. However, as I began to twitter more seriously I decided to pick a better and more permanent name. Unfortunately, the several dozen new names I came up with were taken.

Exhausted at the repetitive “Username has already been taken” I let out a growl of frustration one rainy afternoon. My sweet girl, Kelly, ensconced on our sofa, looked up from her book and half jokingly suggested the @TheRealPRMan. It was silly, irreverently self-important, a nice nod to my years as a PR professional, and best of all, available! I had 37 followers. So, it would do just fine.

I loved my years working in public relations, both agency and client-side. However, I had been working in a much broader scope with corporate communications over the last decade. PR was just one arrow in my quiver. At the time social media was only a part of the client work I had. The @TheRealPRMan was not a problem.

When my clients all became social media marketing clients, I created a new agency, Jolt Social Media, to address this shift in focus and services. Now, @TheRealPRMan was a liability.

The branding confusion that the @TheRealPRMan caused had been a growing concern of mine over this last year. So, when blogger and marketing consigliere Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) and I talked for the first time he hit me between the eyes with it. He stopped our conversation in mid-stream and said, “Steve, I don’t mean to offend you, but we’ve been talking about social media for the last hour. However, I keep thinking, ‘But he’s a PR guy.’ I think your twitter name might be a problem for you.”

Mark was not the first to bring this to my attention, but he would be the last. He was right. I had been avoiding my own branding problem for too long. A behavior that I chide my clients for often. Mark, I owe you a debt of gratitude.

While the ideal Twitter handle would be a variation on my birth name (@stevef, @sfarnsworth), it was still not available to me. So, I went through a long name search and selection process, e.g., brainstorming, naming software, hours of computer time, and lots of phone calls to friends asking them for their input on my list of choices. Mostly, they gently encouraged me to generate another list. And I thank them for that.

Is @Steveology perfect? No. While I have helped develop a gazillion new company and product names, I never totally feel satisfied when choosing one. You have to live in it for a while to see if it fits, and that’s I will do that with my new Twitter handle. Why did I pick @Steveology? It was unique, recognizable, suggested that I had something to say, ownable, and even had my name in it.

The deed is done, but I would still like to hear what you have to say. What would you have done differently? Please, leave a comment.