Monthly Archives: November 2015

Changing your twitter handle / username / nickname

I seriously thought that once you have chosen a username on twitter, it cannot be changed at all. I was wrong. If you would like to change your username on twitter (often called your twitter handle or nickname) this is what you need to do.

Make sure you are logged in and go to the twitter homepage. In the top right you will see your user logo.

Twitter username

Hover your mouse over it and then click this logo. You will see the following dropdown menu appear.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.05.24 pm

Click on the settings menu here. It will take you to the following URL –
https://twitter.com/settings/account
(Alternately you can skip the above two steps and go directly to the URL above. You can click the above link to open the edit page in a new window.)

Your twitter handle will be seen. All you need to do is put in your new desired twitter handle here. When you finish typing it in this box you will get a small note on top stating if the username is available.

Twitter username

Keep trying till you get the message “Available!”.

Twitter handle change

Now scroll down and hit save. You will get a prompt for your password. Enter it and click OK. Your username and twitter handle and your twitter URL is now new!

Now go to your new twitter URL – https://twitter.com/newhandle

In the right you will see an edit profile option – click it.

twitter - edit profile

This is where you can change your twitter name (Full name as it is displayed) and your description. You can also change your header image and logo / profile picture to reflect your new handle. Hit save and you are good to go with your new handle.

All your tweets are preserved and your followers will still see your tweets.

However there are some downsides in changing your handle:
1. Your twitter URL will change to reflect your new handle. So all old weblinks, bookmarks, etc will not work. I assume that this means that your embedded tweets will also not work.

2. Your old handle will be available for other users to claim. Its a good idea to create a new twitter account and claim that username so that you can redirect users to your new account just in case. Click here to see how you can create another twitter ID with the same email ID!

Did you change your twitter ID? Let me know!

Get rid of those Google ads that know what you do online

Google Ads is probably the most popular ad options that websites use to monetise themselves. Almost everyone you know has a google account. One of the things that freak me out is that after I have surfed through a few related websites or hunted for hotels or searched for things to buy online, all the google ads on various other websites seem to know that I have done this and display ads that continue to throw suggestions of resorts to stay in, clothes to buy, coffee to drink, places to visit, etc. Some of these are the exact product I have been trying to buy. While at the outset this may seem useful, it feels as if someone is snooping on me and google seems to invade my life!

This is via a set of cookies that google uses to track your websites and searches which it may link to the google account you are logged in to. Using this google ads that are relevant to your surfing pattern are displayed.

I prefer turning this off to feel more secure and there is indeed a way to do this.

  1. Go to https://www.google.com/settings/ads
    You can login to your account if needed. You will see this note
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.14.51 pm
  2. To control y=the ads seen whenever you are logged into your google account, see the next section and turn it off. There is a clear explanation of what the “on” and “off” options are. This ensures that whenever google detects that you are logged into your account, it will serve fairly random ads and not based on your settings or browsing history. Once you turn it off in one device, it saves this preference throughout all devices and browsers ┬áthat use this account
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.15.03 pm
  3. If you want to turn off the relevant ads in the browser irrespective of whether you are on a google site or signed it, look at the next option and click on “Control signed out ads”
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.20.38 pm
  4. This will take you to the page which shows this explanation and gives you two options under that:
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.22.14 pm
  5. The first option is with respect to ads displayed on sites that are not related to google. Turn it off.
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.23.15 pm
  6. The next option underneath that is to turn off search ads. If it is on (like shown in this screenshot) turn it off:
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.24.21 pm
  7. Do this on every browser of every device you use.

Google now will not display ads based on the sites you visit and the searches you do. This will leave you feeling less stalked and more secure! Of course, if you love seeing relevant ads, you don’t need to change anything. Google will stalk you and claim that it does not store any information.

Did you find this useful? Or would you like to add some more information? Please do leave a comment!

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