What’s in a name? That answer has changed considerably since the proliferation of apps and social media platforms, and on sites like YouTube, a name is now everything. It’s the means by which you promote yourself, and it’s the roadmap that people follow to your content and playlists. That’s why Appamatix is here with a list of username advice and links to online name generators so that you can kick around great ideas and formulate the best name for your online presence. If you spend any time at all on YouTube–or if you’re considering seriously promoting yourself–then you’ve come to the right place!
People haven’t always viewed YouTube as a social media platform, and in a lot of ways, it still manages to escape even that broad definition. Just as much as it’s a place to upload, share, and view others’ content, it’s also a place where you can go and interact with any element of our wide world that you tend to enjoy. From watching cat videos to catching up on the latest sporting events to listening to independent reviews of our favorite films, YouTube can now nearly be guaranteed to provide it. That’s a lot of content when you think about it, and few are the topics that don’t have a wealth of YouTube videos dedicated to them.
This, more than any other reason, is why YouTube can be considered a social media platform. It’s not just a place that you visit to watch videos and listen to music. It’s a place where you go to engage with the world, engage with people, and view experiences that are decidedly not your own. Or, if you’re one of those that regularly uploads content, it’s a place to deliver your experiences to a wider audience.
Of course, all of this is also solid gold reasoning for putting together an username that best represents you. Have you seen how active the comments sections of popular YouTube videos are? That’s your name that’s going to show up next to every one of your posts, and it’s your name that’s revealed as the author of each video you upload.
Usernames used to be a simple thing on YouTube, but ever since the service was acquired by Google, the boat has been shaken a little bit. Not to worry–it’s still very possible to customize and shape your profile into something that’s a pitch-perfect representation of the personality you’re trying to deliver; you’ll only have to go about it a little bit differently than you’d have to with other social media services.
Let’s dig in!
YouTube: Usernames & Channels?
There are technically two names that you need to concern yourself with when you’re using YouTube, though one of them isn’t applicable for everyone. Your name will be displayed next to all of your comments and content, but a channel name can be chosen when you want to organize your content in specific ways.
That’s right. When you’re uploading and sharing content on a regular basis, you can do it across a variety of channels that are organized and themed however you like it. This level of customization is one of the main reasons that YouTube is such a great place to host videos, however, we’re going to keep our primary focus on usernames. This is because some users are often left confused by the usernames displayed on YouTube, and the site doesn’t have any clear directions about how to adjust those features.
Ever since YouTube was acquired by Google several years ago, Google and YouTubee accounts have been merged. This means that the name displayed on your YouTube account is going to be the same as on your Google account. For all intents and purposes, they’re one in the same.
On top of that, we can clarify for you, right now, that there’s no way to separate them. This is the reality of YouTube now being a subsidiary of Google, and though it can be a pain in the ass for some users, it’s something that we have to deal with.
In the interest of being concise, I’ll lay your options out clearly, right here:
- You can tie your YouTube account to your primary Google account (if you have one)
- You can create a new Google account for a specific YouTube profile
Each of these options carries a few consequences. If you tie your YouTube account to your primary Google account (the one that probably displays your name), then you’re not going to be able to change your username without modifying the name on that Google account. Bummer, but like we said–the reality of company ownership.
However, the easiest way to get around that is to create a new Google account if you want to use a separate name than the one attached to your primary Google account. This is actually a simple solution, primarily because Google accounts are ridiculously easy to set up, and also 100% free.
A Name with a Purpose
Regardless of how you choose to navigate the username dilemma described above, it doesn’t change the fact that you do need to pick an username that best suits your needs. We’re here to help with that, too!
The first thing that you need to consider when you’re going on the username hunt is what you want to do with your YouTube account in the first place! As above, we can break that down into two, general areas:
- Casual use
The categories are pretty self-explanatory. Casual use is for 90% of YouTube users, who just want to browse the channels, watch videos, and maybe engage in discussion within the comments sections of interesting content. Promotion is all about sharing and hosting your own content, usually with the idea of cultivating a subscriber-base.
Because appealing to people isn’t really necessary for casual users, they can worry a whole lot less about what other people might think of their username. It still bears some consideration, of course, but by and large, if you’re not looking to generate a list of regular viewers and committed subscribers, you have a lot more leeway with how you decide to brand yourself on YouTube.
If you’re wanting to start a popular channel by promoting yourself, however, then you can view your YouTube username as something of a brand. It’s a title. The sign hanging over all of your content that people will recognize and remember if you manage to upload and share interesting content.
Names for Casual Users
If you’re only using YouTube on a casual basis, you have all kinds of leeway with how you choose your username. Be funny, ironic, or even change your username whenever you damn well please! If nobody but you and your friends are keeping track, then there isn’t going to be any repercussion from adjusting that name however and as often as you’d like to.
Here are some ideas for you to kick around when generating your first username:
- Your own name (duh!)
- A favorite thing (band, TV show, film, artist, etc.)
- An important place
- Meaningful words or themes
- Part of an inside joke
These are just a few of the things that could help you to come up with a clever username, and the list could truly go on and on! Mix and match to your pleasure, and if you get sick of a particular name, don’t hesitate to switch it out. Oh, the benefits of being a casual user…
Naming for Promotion
…aren’t exactly shared by people who depend on YouTube to promote themselves. When you’re operating any social media presence as you might a brand name, then it becomes absolutely imperative to remain consistent for your regular viewers and followers. Not only do you need to be able to be found, you also need to ensure that you’re using every edge in your arsenal to compete against peoples’ ever-shrinking attention spans. It’s more difficult than you might think!
That constrained freedom isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. It just means that you’re in the spotlight, and your username choice is going to come with the added pressure that demands you pick something that will please you over the long-term. All that it really means is that you should consider giving it more thought than you might originally have. Here are some ideas for your promotion-oriented username:
- Your name (duh, again!)
- The themes of your content
- A dedication to a particular idea
- A nickname or moniker
- Your username from other social media.
Again, this is only a brief list that’s intended to get the wheels turning in your imagination. Ultimately, the name that you choose for your YouTube username should reflect what you want your channel to become. It can be useful, therefore, to imagine what your profile, channels, and content might look like further down the line.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with turning to a name generator to help with coming up with a rock-solid username. There are quite a few available online, and Appamatix has even compiled a few excellent lists of username examples before, but for now, I’ll direct you to SpinXO.
It’s one of the top random username generators online because it’s not entirely random. You fill in a few YouTube-oriented criteria–channel topics, focus, interest, keywords, important themes–and allow the generator to cook up an username out of the words you’ve provided and other words that are tangential to what you’ve revealed. I’ve used it several times now, and I always end up with a few gems amidst the choices that you might expect.
There you have it, readers! Use the above guide to give yourself that necessary kick in the pants when you’re trying to generate the best username ideas for your YouTube presence. Chime in through the comments below to share some of your results or subsequent YouTube channels, and don’t forget to share our little guide on Facebook and Twitter!