Picking Our Twitter Account Name

March 6, 2012

Follow us on Twitter!Our chapter has just set up a Twitter account, and we’d encourage members to subscribe. It’s an easy, no-hassle way to be notified of new events, etc.

In our case, we had an issue that any of you will have, if you go on Twitter: how to set up that account? And how to pick that account handle?

Here’s how we did it…There are some general rules for picking a Twitter account handle….

  • It’s all about a decisive brand. In this short a space, it means stripping EVERYTHING extraneous away and re-configuring as necessary, in favor of maximum performance. Engineers should be down with that  🙂
  • We want to avoid underscores, it’s very hard to do those on a phone.
  • We have 15 characters, max.
  • Space matters given the 140 character limit on displayed status updates. If we can use less than 15, we should.
  • If you’re a person, it’s OK to use your name. You may want to enhance it a bit, as real estate branding consultant Wendy Forsythe did with @brandWendy.

In our specific case, we had a number of thoughts. @SME98 would have followed what most chapters do, and has the virtue of being short. SME HQ is @SocMfgEng. “SMEBayArea” was also considered, along with “SMESV”. In the end, however, we took a different tack. Why?

  • While SME98 is short, it doesn’t communicate much. SME can mean many things (“Small to Medium Enterprise” is common, see the Trackback comment in our social media primer). It’s our organization, but it doesn’t brand us decisively in this short a space. Plus, we already have “SME Chapter 98” as our Twitter account’s associated name.
  • “Bay Area” can apply to a number of places outside of our state. That made it an iffy choice.
  • There’s huge branding clout in “Silicon Valley”, but it’s too long. “SMESiliconValley” is 16 characters. Unfortunately “SMESV” isn’t crystal clear about the connection.
  • Building on SME National’s name doesn’t really work, it’s too long as a base. Plus, what we do goes beyond engineers. And who really cares if we’re a society? Which gave me an idea…


It’s longer, but communicates strongly. “Mfg” instantly communicates what we’re all about. “Chapter98” doesn’t say much to people outside the chapter, but “Silicon Valley” says everything. Which is good, because this is the positioning our chapter’s vision/mission statement wanted us to corner: leaders, educators, and advocates for manufacturing in the Silicon Valley area.

We can change this in future, if it’s required. But @MfgSilcnVly is where we’re at right now, and why. Maybe that thought process can help you, too.

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