Jan 28, 2020

A new Twitter handle

I have had a difficult relationship with Twitter. When it launched, I was in high school and still active on a number of forums and AOL instant messenger. Around the same time, Facebook opened up to non-collegiate users, so I and a lot of my friends signed up. Later I went all in on Google+.

Twitter always seemed different. Rather than connection-based interactions, Twitter was more simply a broadcast platform. This meant that the reach of your message was tied not the the number of individuals with whom you could connect, but instead the number that you could impress. It was a popularity platform.

As a teenage contrarian, that was intensely unappealing to me.

Fast forward a few years and I started doing freelance web design and development while in college. By then both Twitter and I had matured, and I saw it as an opportunity to promote my business. @seanmcp was taken, so I registered the handle @sean_mcp. After a largely unsuccessful go, I shuttered the business and deleted the account.

The decision to delete that account is one that I have regretted for the past eight years.

By the mid 2010s, I was interested in getting on the platform for some soccer journalism I was doing. Most iterations of my name were taken, so I settled on @mcpsoccer. That served me well and still exists today.

I was teaching at the time too, so I created a professional account for my classroom: @mrseanmcp. When that era ended, I changed the handle first to @seanthemcp and then @mcpmakes and then @mcpcodes.

By this time I had settled on a new career path and saw the value of Twitter as a developer. In an effort to consolidate my online brand™, I changed the handle to @_seanmcp. But while some folks are able to own the underscore, it left me with a sense of insecurity. Why had I given up @sean_mcp all those years ago?

In 2020, I sat down with my wife and brainstormed some ideas for a new handle. Here is a short list of the options we enumerated in alphabetical order:

  • @askseanmcp
  • @biseanfrise
  • @nabasson[1]
  • @seanaroll
  • @seancloudnine
  • @seanmcpdotcom
  • @seantheupandup
  • @snmcp
  • @thierryseanry

As you can probably guess, we had a good time coming up with the punnier options.

After much internal deliberation, I settled on @snmcp. First, it’s as close to my brand as possible. Second, it doesn’t add additional words, letters, or symbols. And third, it’s short and quick to type.

At first I didn’t like the look of the new handle, but after a few weeks it’s starting to grow on me. I’m hoping that, starting this new decade, I will finally be content on Twitter (LW).

Footnotes
  1. Like Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement” ↩︎

1 Timothy 6:6 (SDG)

An illustration of Sean McPherson's face

My name is Sean McPherson, and I'm a software engineer and educator living in Pittsburgh, PA.

I write about React, JavaScript, accessibility, user experience, and occasionally some other topics.