For nearly as long as I've fought to regain access to the handle I am currently using on Twitter, I have been attempting to get @tender—the short and sweet one-word jackpot of a handle currently being used up by a mostly inactive account which doubles as my surname—as well.
Turns out Haje Jan Kamps at TechCrunch has been trying to do the same for his first name. He actually succeeded!
I had a plan, which had taken shape when I was emailing the Keeper of the Handle (as I had mentally started referring to this mythical, unreachable creature). If they’d gotten in touch, I’d have been happy to pay anything up to $500 for my first name as a Twitter handle. Yeah, it’s a lot of money, but I rationalized that people spend similar amounts on fancy vanity plates on their cars. “I don’t have a car,” I thought. “I totally deserve a vanity handle.”
Yeah. I know.
Crazy? I don't think so. I had similar offers in mind. The owner of the account I want recently got back to me after a few years of DMs and refused to give it up.
I’ll forgive you for thinking, “What the hell is wrong with this guy? Who pays $250 to register a trademark to get a name on a website?” I’ll even agree with you: It’s a spectacularly vain and dumb thing to be doing.
No, what Haje did isn't dumb, nor is it vain. In the digital age, a person's personal brand (as cringeworthy as that sometimes sounds) is incredibly valuable. Bucking up $250 for a killer handle like that is worth it. @Haje (or any one-word Twitter handle) is both easy to remember and stands as an indication of several important qualities. Most importantly, a handle such as this shows that you're an early adopter OR that you are savvy enough to appear to be. The difference doesn't even matter.