I had two twitter accounts that I wanted swapped. One had my real name on it. The other had a made-up-name and was the one I’d been using on a regular basis. It was also where all of my followers were.

Since I’m getting a start in freelancing, I decided to make my main account the one with my real name on it, and try not to ramble quite so much on it.

I first tried to do this a couple of weeks ago. I deleted the account with my name, and tried renaming the account with the made-up name to my name. Unfortunately, twitter told me the account was unavailable. I quickly re-created the account to avoid losing @benatkin, which is the same as my domain name.

Today, while I was filling out a request to twitter to change the names for me so I don’t lose them, an idea popped into my head. I tried it and it worked! Here’s what I did:

  • I went to the account settings on the benatkin account and changed the username to benjamin_atkin. I figured that if worse came to worse I’d still have some representation of my name.
  • I went to the account settings on the account with my made-up name (lowerCamelCase) and changed the user name to benatkin
  • I went to the account settings on benjamin_atkin (which used to be benatkin) and changed the username to lowerCamelCase.

Now, I don’t know if twitter thought this through, so I am calling this a “hack”. It may be that twitter just hasn’t implemented locking of old names after a rename, and would prefer that people like me go through customer service.

After it was done, I left a tweet to fill my followers in on the situation: