Your Twitter followers chose to follow you because something about your account attracted their attention, at least long enough to click on the "Follow" button. They may sign on because they like something you said to someone they know or because they know you outside the social-media world. If you switch from one Twitter account to another, you want to retain your followers rather than start from scratch. The process of accomplishing that objective lacks one-click solutions and easy procedures.

Rename Your Account

Rather than trying to attract your existing followers to a new account, you can rename the account you already have to reflect the way you want to present yourself. Access the Settings screen from the gear-shaped icon at the top of your timeline or profile page. Change the "Username" value at the top of the page and click on the "Save Changes" button to finalize the new name. If someone else already registered the name you choose, you'll have to select an alternative. Don't confuse your username with your name, which appears in the Profile tab of the Settings screen.

Create a New Account

You can create additional Twitter accounts to accommodate multiple aspects of your personal or professional life. Twitter requires you to associate each account with an individual email address. If you need to log in to more than one account at the same time, you'll have to launch more than one browser or use a third-party application that manages multiple Twitter accounts. You won't find a formal procedure for migrating followers from one account to another, however. To accomplish the task, tweet an announcement of your new account or send a private direct message to select individuals, and wait for your followers to take action.

Reactivate an Account

If you create a second Twitter account to attract your existing followers, leave your current account active unless and until you gain a following for the new identity. Once you deactivate an account, Twitter gives you 30 days to change your mind and reactivate it. After that point, you may be able to resuscitate your former identity with the help of Twitter Support (see Resources). Once your account disappears from the Twitter system, however, it's gone forever, so think twice about deactivating it until you're certain you no longer need it.

Other Considerations

You can make thoughtful use of regular tweets and direct messages to encourage followers to latch on to your new Twitter identity, but craft your strategy with care to avoid overdoing it. Because Twitter lacks a formalized policy or procedure for moving followers from one account to another or combining the followers from multiple accounts into one, you can't force other users to change their connection or simply push a button and consolidate the lists. If you spend more time tweeting about which account you plan to use than about events and observations that your followers find genuinely interesting, you may not have any followers left to migrate.