Online Innovation June 15th, 2009
If you are a social media freak like many of us, then you may already know that Facebook made it possible to rename your Facebook so that the URL is customized to what you want. This means you can use your name, company or whatever you want really – as long as someone hasn’t claimed it already.
The announcement was made and June 9th 2009 and the username grab bag started Saturday June 13.
In many ways the rapid growth of Twitter has taught Facebook a lesson. Get innovative or lose market share. If Facebook had gotten to this entire issue years ago then there very well may not have even been a Twitter.
In emails, blogs and web pages around the world it has become common place for people to list their Twitter URL. This is a way for each person to show the world who they are and what interests them. Isn’t that what Facebook is for too? Yes it is, however, what person would want to promote a URL with numbers and letters in it rather than their proper name? Makes sense doesn’t it?
Now that Facebook has finally caught on and began scrambling to develop ways to make their website property more like Twitter, you can now change your user name to be appropriate to who you are.
Here is how your listing would now appear in a search engine.
As explained on the Facebook blog, choosing your name is pretty easy right now. But we should stress the ‘right now’. At present, as long as you have had a profile for 6 months you are deemed credible by Facebook and can go and associate your name. At the present time, once associated you cannot change your name again. Many names are already taken and as time goes by and the ‘Facebook username hoarding’ continues you may feel much like you did when you tried to obtain a reasonable username with Hotmail and/or GMail.
After ensuring you are logged into Facebook, simply go to the following URL: http://www.facebook.com/username/ . You are then given some options that match closest with your username. You may notice that your name is gone already! If this is the case then you will need to use the “choose your name” option.
Unless you have 1000 fans you can forget it. Why do we especially hate this? Well if you run a business you are then left with making one of two choices:
1. Associate your company name with your own personal profile to protect it against a cyber squatter stealing it on you. The benefit to this is that you get to keep you business name. The drawback is that Facebook is telling us that once you choose your name it’s chosen for good and cannot be transferred. What is the alternative?
2. You can wait it out until the capability is added for all business fan pages. The risk is that someone will take your name from you. The benefit of waiting is that you can then associate your profile to the proper page and not just a personal profile of someone that belongs to your company.
Both cases are not ideal. We are hoping that Facebook addresses this.
Good for you Facebook for finally adding what should have been a simple capability.
Sorry that you sat on your hands and took so long.
We are not very impressed with how this is being rolled out. Companies like ours (and everyone else’s) are now being forced to decide between associating a company username with a personal one or risk losing the ability to post from it altogether.
This could have been done much better.