Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why you should use your full name and nothing but your full name

Laura Kuenssberg is leaving the BBC to become the Business Editor of ITV, leading to speculation that her Twitter handle @BBCLauraK (with its 58,832 followers) may have to be changed to @ITVLauraK. I even wonder whether some enterprising soul at the independent broadcaster might have already asked the BBC how much they want for that list or whether some coding genius is working on a way that old Twitter names could be subsumed into new ones.

In the course of a long and no doubt distinguished career somebody like Kuenssberg can expect to work for many different organisations (as well quite a few that remain the same and yet change their names) so it doesn't make any sense for her to sell or lease her identity to them. It's enough to sell or lease her services.

On a less exalted level I've always told my kids that when they start work they should use their full name in every interaction. There's no use developing strong recognition as "Jane from Acme Magazines" because it's obvious that one day you won't be that any more and you'll have to start all over again, identifying yourself with some other organisation. Build your own brand. It'll last longer than theirs.


  1. You can change a Twitter account's name very easily, keeping all the followers and connections. I'd be surprised if @ITVLauraK isn't just a placeholder to stop others grabbing that one, which can be deleted when the change is about to happen.

    Real question is whether the Beeb have any ownership over the account. They may well have under the "things created while working for…" clause, but it's not really been tested I don't think.

  2. Heh, so it's David "The Brand" Hepworth now?

  3. That's a good point. I am a freelance translator but have to have a registered company name. I always announce myself simply as "Andrew, the translator." In Brazil, not many people are called Andrew, so that helps. My wife, and business partner, always uses our company name, and says I should do the same. I ignore that, on the grounds that companies mean nothing (brands, of course, do) and that people - you know? - like people.

  4. The BBC will possess double standards if they do declare some hold over the account, as they are quick to tell their radio presenters that they should refer to Twitter accounts as their "personal" account. Either BBC employees Twitter feeds are affiliated to the BBC or they're not.