Consolidating Twitter Accounts

by Bill Swallow on May 3, 2012 · 14 comments

in Odds & Ends

This is a call for thoughts/opinions.

Over the years I’ve come to use 3 different Twitter accounts for my own needs.

  • techcommdood started as a catch-all but over time was limited to techcomm and other professional content. It’s since become more conversational though still leans professional.
  • billswallow started as a private account for close friends, but I soon came to think there was no point in using Twitter in a private manner, so I made it public. It’s mainly used for banter but many professional people follow me here (some primarily over techcommdood).
  • beercommdood was an amusing play on my long-held personal brand designed to be hobby focused (craft beer and homebrewing). It’s followed by beer nuts, friends, and professional contacts.

Now, managing 3 personal accounts is not easy. It can be dizzying at times, and even with the best Twitter applications I tend to send from the wrong account on occasion. Since all 3 of these accounts are me, and since I no longer think it’s necessary to hide the fact that I’m a beer-loving techcomm professional with a snarky demeanor, I want to merge them. Plus, it would avoid amusing things like this happening:

Klout screenshot showing one of my accounts being rated against another.

The question is, which Twitter name do I use (I will keep all of them but render 2 inactive)? I asked this on Twitter and received some feedback, but I’d like to show where I’m stuck, by account name:

  • beercommdood – This was more created out of amusement than anything else. While I have many followers at this account, I don’t think it’d matter what I tweet beer stuff as so long as they continue to get the content. I think. Correct me if I’m wrong.
  • techcommdood – I’ve been using this personal brand since 1998. Almost everyone in my pro circle knows me as “techcommdood“, and even refer to me as “the dood” in person. It’s a brand I’m actually happy with. While many do follow for pro info, I get beer followers here and friends as well.
  • billswallow – Yes, it’s me by name. This option would be a no-brainer if techcommdood wasn’t so established.



So which do I go with? What would you do? Throw away an established brand for a real world name? Lump everything under the established brand and let things fall where they may? Other?

I really need some thoughts here. I’m torn between techcommdood and billswallow, and can’t decide which is the right one to use. I do want to get down to 1 account, make no mistake about it. But which?


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Doug Bartow on Facebook May 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Do the exact opposite of whatever Klout says to do…

Sean Brierley on Facebook May 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I keep my groups of people separate, so multiple accounts work well for me. If you have a lot of overlap, why not consolidate?

Bill Swallow on Facebook May 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm

The question isn’t “why not consolidate”, rather “which account”…

Sean Brierley on Facebook May 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm


Jeff Hillebrandt on Facebook May 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I have two accounts, but only updated the second one for a few weeks before forgetting about it. Too much overlap. Meh.

millie May 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I say switch the handle on the Techcomm acct to BillSwallow (make the current BillSwallow bill_swallow or something).

Sean May 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I say let beercommdood go, migrate techcommdood to billswallow over 6 months (by the fall) and make your name your brand.


Bill Swallow May 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm

The migration idea is a good one… Any tools that can help me merge/manage followers? This is going to be a big task…

Sarah O'keefe May 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm

For now, techcommdood is clearly a stronger brand. But what if you change direction and do something not-so-techcomm? What if you want to be UXdood or L10Ndood or yes, fulltimebrewerdood? Invest in the name that you are not going to outgrow.

I say, with regret, that you should probably use billswallow as your official Twitter handle. Keep techcommdood as the web site name.

rick May 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm

For me, it doesn’t really matter. I use keyword searches and hashtags for creating my Twitter dashboard. As long as you keep tweeting useful items, I’ll find them…. regardless of which handle you use!

millie May 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I don’t think you can merge followers but I could be wrong. But Techcomm has the most followers and you’ve already been doing a pretty good job of letting your billswallow (which is how I met you) and beercomm people know to follow you at techcomm.

I agree with Sarah: Invest in the name that you are not going to outgrow.

The only issue I have not seen addressed is whether or not prof follows will get annoyed with personal chit chat or beer talk. I think generally speaking most people like to see a personal side; I do.

But sometimes I even worry my account is too full of kid chat or friendly banter.

Bottom line: you’re never going to make everyone happy all the time.

millie May 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Switch techcomm to the billswallow pic though. That LL brick has got to go! :)

Anne Gentle May 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Keep your followers at techcommdood, if your goals have to do with brand-building.

If you just want to talk to folks as your real self, without overarching goals they’ll follow you at billswallow, but you won’t have as many followers, for a while anyway. You could possibly abandon billswallow and rename techcommdood to billswallow by asking Twitter support for help. Maybe.

Oddly, I only found this blog post by following you on Google +. :)

Karen Mardahl May 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I’d say stick with techcommdood. It is definitely a brand. It doesn’t matter that it is not your real name. Many well-respected people on Twitter use handles that are not their name: @Beep, @adactio, @fraying. These are names that have a long history. In my circle of Danish friends, some people are flattered when you call them by their handle and not their real name. These handles are used for all their online accounts, of course.

I think it is a matter of what YOU are most comfortable with. You are Bill Swallow, but you are also Techcommdood. Maybe just drop the Beercommdood and move the beer stuff to Bill Swallow over a few months (like you already have done)? Drop reminders now and then to those followers to move. Delete them from Beercommdood as they move. I think two is probably much more manageable than three, and that might be all you need.

I believe in people acting naturally or what is natural for that account. If a follower doesn’t like it, they can filter or unfollow. Rick Sapir will find you wherever you are! :)

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