LOTR wedding

I recently got married (in an awesomely nerdy LOTR* themed wedding) and changed my last name from Fifelski to my husband’s last name, Dalton. Legally changing your name and dealing with altering it on your driver’s license, passport, debit cards, online billing, etc. is quite a process. However, this process was equaled in tediousness when it came to changing my digital footprint on social media.

Most common names are taken

The nice part about being a Fifelski was the ease of obtaining social media profiles in my actual name. Changing to the more common ‘Dalton’ made it more difficult, coupled with the fact that 73% of online adults use social networks (and many have likely secured their actual name).

Name changes on Twitter

Twitter wound up being the easiest platform to figure out how to change my name. I just clicked on the Settings wheel, and in the Settings menu you can easily change your username (the part that is associated with your URL). I had to add a couple of digits after my name because my name was already taken. You can find me at https://twitter.com/kristydalton22. Note that you can edit your profile name separately, which can be anything you want and they don’t care if there are duplicates. Edit your profile name via ‘Edit Profile’ button on the ‘Me’ menu.

Name changes on Facebook

Facebook was pretty simple. Under ‘Settings’ I was able to change my Username (the part that is associated with your URL). Once again I had to settle for kristydalton22. You can also change your profile name, but beware that you can only change it 4 times total. Before, you could only change it once, but divorcees who changed their name back, then re-married and changed their name again had a big issue with that. Cool thing is that you are able to also identify an ‘alternate name’, such as a maiden name, so people who knew you before you got married can still find you.

Google name changes (Google+, YouTube, Gmail)

Google is known for offering a simple user interface on most of its products, which is why I was dumbfounded that the process for changing my name across the board was so confusing. Here’s why – you are allowed to change your name on Google+ and YouTube, but they are linked to your Google profile which is linked to your Gmail account. Problem is, you can change your Gmail display name – but not the actual email address. My email address was kristyfifelski@gmail.com! I really wanted to keep the email (and all the years of email exchanges and contacts in it), and just change it to something like kristydalton22@gmail.com. Unfortunately not. You can make it look like its coming from your name, but the actual email address remains the original. It can be a confusing to recipients to see that you are still using your old name.

Have you needed to change your name on social media? What was your experience? Please share in the comments.

*LOTR is an abbreviation for Lord of the Rings, if the photos didn’t give it away 🙂

Kristy Dalton is the creator of Government Social Media and host of the GovGirl.com online video series. Read her full bio.

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