temporarily making my twitter account private

I’ve talked a lot about it, but I still haven’t taken a proper twitter break. I took a break for about a week. Toward the end of the break, I didn’t think about twitter a whole lot, but I still thought about it. It’s quite a habit.

Making it take a couple of steps to check my twitter account wasn’t enough, so I’m going to try something else—making my twitter account private. One reason for logging back into my twitter account after such a short amount of time was to replace the current tweets on my twitter profile with fresh ones. Now my twitter profile can only be seen by those whom I follow, so that won’t be such a concern this time.

I made it clear in my twitter profile that I’m taking a break from twitter and will still be reading my DM’s. Hopefully people won’t worry about me this time like a few did when I abruptly deleted my twitter account last October.

So, why has twitter been such a problem for me? I think a big part of it is that I’m not in control of my experience. If I was in charge, I would make my twitter account purely a microblog. People couldn’t see who I was subscribed to. I would also change how I manage users and filter and aggregate my feeds. This latter part I can change by writing my own twitter account, which is something I might do at some point.

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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