If you’re new to Twitter you probably had an awkward time finding the perfect username. As the platform has expanded dramatically over the past few years, growing almost one hundred fold since 2007 (counting dummy, abandoned accounts and bots, which we are, as they’re still taking up usernames), the availability of good and especially short usernames has dropped exponentially, and, much like domain names, this isn’t going to get better unless they implement a brand new system, or start over.
So how bad is it on Twitter? Well, according to a new study, new usernames are almost 25 percent bigger in 2012 than they were five years ago, and the average number of non-letter characters in a username has more than doubled over the same period.
This data comes courtesy of Diego Basch who, while not providing too much detail on his population sample or methodology, is nice enough to share the results.
Average username length for accounts created in a given year:
2007 – 8.83
2008 – 9.38
2009 – 10.00
2010 – 10.27
2011 – 10.68
2012 – 10.97
As you can see the average username length has been growing steadily since 2007, and likely will be somewhere between 11.30-11.50 next year.
Average number of non-letter characters in a username:
2007 – 0.58
2008 – 0.67
2009 – 0.62
2010 – 1.10
2011 – 1.14
2012 – 1.38
This includes numbers and underscores. Basch notes that the number of underscores in usernames doubled over this period from 0.086 to 0.174.
It’s worth noting that Twitter has a 15 character username limit. All things being equal, the average new username length should reach that ceiling in about six to eight years, and possibly a lot faster if Twitter has another growth spurt. Be interesting to see if they extend this maximum or implement a new system way before that happens – if they want to keep getting bigger, they might have to.
(Username image via Shutterstock.)