Swapping names between two twitter accounts

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:

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Twidge: a command-line microblogging client

After a friend recommended it, I gave Twidge a whirl. Twidge is a command-line microblogging client written in Haskell. It works with twitter and identi.ca.

Installing it on my mac was tricky at first, because I didn’t have instructions for installing it on Mac OS X, but once I figured out how to do it, it turned out to be really easy. I posted the installation instructions for OS X on the Twidge wiki.

So, how does it work? If you put twidge in your path, you can type twidge and it will provide a help screen. You can type twidge lscommands to get a list of commands. Of particular interest to someone who’s starting out is twidge setup, which asks for your username and password and puts them in ~/.twidgerc for later retrieval. Once it has your username and password, you can type twidge lsrecent for a list of recent updates by people you’re following, twidge lsreplies for a list of replies, and twidge update to post an update.

If -asu is specified on the command line to lsrecent, twidge will show all the updates since lsrecent was run. The -asu option has the same effect on lsreplies. In the Twidge HOWTO it shoes how to pipe lsrecent and lsreplies to less to enable checking all tweets with one command. I reversed the order so the replies would show up first, so I’ll see the replies even when I decide not to read all of the tweets. The command I put in ~/.bash_profile is here:

alias twidgecheck='(twidge lsreplies -asu; twidge lsrecent -asu) | less'

Now if I run twidgecheck, I can see all my updates. Nice! And once I’m done with them, I don’t have them showing up next time I turn to twidge. Update zero, if you will!

My main dislike with this system is that links are harder to visit with my terminal. If I was using the gnome terminal, I could just click them. Maybe I can find a way to make iTerm do that.