Think About It: Your Twitter Username is Your New Email Address

Print Friendly

Think-About-It-Your-Twitter-Username-is-Your-New-Email-Address-V2 copy

Let’s face it: Since email as we know it today started developing from the 1960s, a lot has changed.  The way we use email, the way that businesses try to get our email addresses to opt-us-in to their newsletters, and the fact that we tend to use email less and less as we send more and more messages through social media websites means that it may be time to start looking for more convenient forms of representing our virtual mailboxes beyond email that might exist.  In fact, a recent report by Hubspot mentioned that Facebook is now our most popular way of sharing information, with Twitter coming in 3rd right behind emails.

Why Twitter?  Because it’s free, public, and open.  It’s easily accessible both on your computer and your cell phone. LinkedIn considers Twitter to be a standard part of any professional’s profile. And Twitter, with 145 million registered users, has almost twice as many users as LinkedIn!

Some people tend to be personal on Facebook and won’t welcome your message.  LinkedIn has an infrastructure of “invitations” and “connections” and has a legacy of being a network for trusted professionals who already know each other.  Twitter, however, is as open and free as any social media platform can be.  Want to send a message on Facebook or LinkedIn to Guy Kawasaki?  Good luck!  But on Twitter, he (or one of his assistants) is truly only one tweet away.

So here’s a few solid reasons why your Twitter username is your new email address:

1) It’s Shorter and Easier to Remember

Imagine the scenario: You’re putting on an event and you want to collect the names and addresses of those who attend for future reference.  So many companies and associations will ask for your email address because they probably use email software programs that help automate their messaging.  But have you seen these sign-up sheets after the event?  Most email addresses are incredibly unintelligble.  Twitter usernames, on the other hand, are generally shorter than email addresses, meaning a higher chance that you can actually read them afterwards.  And someone writing their Twitter username may write it more carefully knowing that they will never be spammed by you (unless, of course, you decide to follow them back, but that is 100% under your control).

2) Your Message Will Reach the Sender

You’ve probably heard, or used, the oldest excuse in the book as to why you didn’t read that person’s email message: “Your email must have gotten stuck in the spam filter.”  Twitter has no such filter, for better or for worse.  So you know that your @Reply, or if you are mutual followers, your Direct Message, will reach the sender.  No more excuses, everybody…unless you get dozens of @Replys a day like Chris Brogan … and even he will still find a way to reply to you!

3) I Can Also Check Out Your Other Tweets

An email address is a gateway to being able to communicate with someone electronically.  But it’s one-dimensional.  You can send whatever you want, but if that person never sends anything to you, all you’re stuck with is an email address.  Not so with a Twitter username.  Whether or not you follow them you can check out their profile and learn more about them through their bio, link, who they follow, who follows them, and most importantly their tweets.

What do you think?  Is it time to make our Twitter username our new email address?

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer


Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness & @socialtoolssmmt | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker
Man Poses as Target on Facebook, Trolls Haters of Its Gender-Neutral Move With Epic Replies via @Adweek - 9 hours ago
Neal Schaffer
LinkedIn Ebook


  1. Anonymous says

    Not sure I understand how this would work Neal. My twitter feed is quite active and sometimes I can’t really decipher what’s truly important.

  2. says

    Great point, unfortunatly for some, including myself, choose not so easy to remember names d_p_kelly, never thought it would have a negative impact but I guess it will. Too late to change or is it? Quirky post and a good one , liked it a lot!

    • says

      Hey Darragh, thanks for the quirky comment 😉 Well, it is easy to change your Twitter username just by going to your settings panel, so you may want to do so if you don’t like your current name! Send me an email if you want to know how to do it…I changed @WindmillNet to @Neal_Schaffer some time ago and it only took a second to do.

  3. says

    You are right, Twitter is the easiest way to communicate with someone. Celebrities may or may not reply, but they are just one tweet away. Sometimes is hard to believe the difference between communication now and a couple of years ago.

  4. Glen Loock says

    You may be onto something here Neal. I have a email and a twitter account that are similar, however more people contact me directly on twitter. Most of my email is RSS feeds, corporate news or advertising. Twitter is more personal. If I start receiving Spam type tweets I just unfollow that person and move on. great thought starter. But I noticed you need my email address to post.

    • says

      Hey, I didn’t need your email address to post, it was Disqus who did 😉 Seriously, email and email addresses will not go away, but there is something to be said for your Twitter username, right?

    • says

      Hey, I didn’t need your email address to post, it was Disqus who did 😉 Seriously, email and email addresses will not go away, but there is something to be said for your Twitter username, right?

  5. says

    Yes, it would be great if Twitter provided a migration service for those who change usernames. Hey, a new business model for Twtter! Forwarding tweets and direct messages to a new username! Is anyone @Twitter listening?

  6. Jesse Rowe says

    Neal, interesting thoughts. I just wonder about the following: how do I reach you via Twitter, without you being a follower of me? Also, I only follow 50 or so people, and just on those few there is just to much going on to follow – I miss the majority of tweets they post. How must it be for the people that follows thousands of people? Not sure if any specific message has a chance of reaching me.

    • says

      Hi Jesse, The answer to your question is the “@Reply”. If you monitor your tweets, you have the option of seeing your Timeline (everyone’s tweets), your @Replys (public messages where someone created a tweet using your username in it addressing it to you), your Direct Messages (private messages where you both have to be following each other to use), and, of course, Lists. If someone mentions your username in a tweet, it will show up in your @Replys.

      As for missing tweets with a lot of followers, do you read the newspaper every day, from cover to cover? Do you read all of the information on everyday? Do you read all of your network updates on LinkedIn and Facebook Wall Feeds? How about the Discussions boards on every LinkedIn Group that you join? There is just too much information out there, so it is not necessary to read every tweet. However, I do read all of my @Replys, and when I want to know how someone is doing, I can go over to their profile when I need to. In other words, I read other people’s tweets when I have time or an objective, just like we do with lots of other information sources that are out there.

      Hope this all made sense Jesse…please feel free to continue commenting!

  7. says

    Great point, Neal, and I think I was doing this already just instinctively. It’s a lot easier to tell people in a hurry, @carriewriter, then go into my Facebook fan page, personal page, or even Linked In profile URL, even with the vanity names. I just redid my biz card to add Facebook, (twitter already on there), and it felt more awkward. I also know some people are following me through my tweets (they told me) that come up in search, without even being on Twitter!

  8. says

    Sadly there is an underlying problem with this approach. Twitter can take away your account even by accident or make you pay for it like Ning in future. They can even go bankrupt after the money runs out.
    So don’t rely on Twitter as much as you do on email.

    • says

      Excellent points. This is true. But as far as going bankrupt, so can Google Mail, right? Or your Internet Service Provider? I believe that Twitter has reached a point, with 145 million users, that it simply will not fade away overnight nor start to ask users for $$$…Twitter had a chance to do that but instead decided to go to an advertising model.

      As for being reliable, my point was that your Twitter username as an identifier is much more powerful and convenient than an email address. Twitter may not replace email, but it should be thought of as being a convenient tool to use.

  9. says

     One of the best blogs I’ve read. I’ve recommended this blog
    to some of my colleagues. I’m sure they’ll find this useful as I found.Will
    definitely recommend to others. Good work.

Please Leave a Comment!