Can You Combine Twitter Accounts?

by John Lister
When it comes to Twitter, two into one doesn't automatically go.

When it comes to Twitter, two into one doesn't automatically go.

If you run multiple accounts on Twitter, for example one professional and one personal, or for two different brands, it could be more fruitful to reduce your efforts by combining the accounts so you can reach all your followers with one tweet. As of January 2013, Twitter's system treats each account completely separately, meaning it offers no way to merge multiple accounts into one. It's also impossible to copy across data from one account to another. The only solution is to manually request that your followers on one account follow you on the other account.

Multiple Accounts

You're allowed multiple accounts as long as you follow the terms and conditions on every account. A key point to watch out for is that you don't mislead followers about who's operating the account. For example, you can't have a personal account and then a second account that falsely appears to be for another person. You can log in to only one account at a time in the same Web browser, but you can operate multiple accounts simultaneously using two different Web browsers or some third-party applications. You must link each account to a separate email address.

Data Migration

Twitter doesn't allow any automated data migration from one account to another. Understandably you can't automatically force people following one account to follow another account. However, you're also unable to copy across the list of people you follow on one account and automatically follow them on another account. Similarly, you cannot automatically take tweets you've made on one account and add them as tweets, new or old, on the other account.

Merging Alternative

To replicate the effects of merging two accounts, encourage users on one account to follow you on the other account. You can do this simply by posting tweets with the details of your other account; you can give a deadline for when you'll stop using the first account. Think carefully when deciding when and how often to post such tweets. You need to post the request enough times that people who don't check Twitter constantly have a good chance of seeing it, and take into account that people in different time zones or with different daily schedules tend to check Twitter at different times. However, avoid posting the request too many times as you could annoy some users who see the message repeatedly.

Inactive or Deactivated

Once you're happy you have gotten as many followers as possible to follow you on the new account, you must decide whether to leave the old account inactive or deactivate it. Inactive simply means you don't post to it any more. If you choose this option, consider checking the account occasionally to see if you have any direct messages or replies from people who aren't aware you've stopped using the account. Deactivated means you've formally closed the account. You do this by signing in to the Twitter site and clicking on "Account settings" and then "Deactivate my account." You'll then have to confirm you really want to close the account and give your password. After this you have 30 days to change your mind before the account is permanently deleted. At this point Twitter will treat the account as if it never existed, although some old tweets may still show up in search engines.

About the Author

A professional writer since 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, John Lister ran the press department for the Plain English Campaign until 2005. He then worked as a freelance writer with credits including national newspapers, magazines and online work. He specializes in technology and communications.

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