Impact of a name change in the Digital World

Posted in Resources/Guides


What’s in a name? Pondering on this query is common for women who need to change their name in from their maiden name to a new name after marriage; in passports, bank accounts, ssn and work place etc. There are other reasons for name change and not limited to my gender, but this is the most common one. The change in the digital space is equally important, if not more. You need to decide whether you want to continue with your earlier identity online or edit to be in sync with your new identity. If you are in the digital space with a reasonable amount of following / influence and need to have one identity for your professional purposes as well as personal, the decision to change your name in all places will follow.

There is one entity that helps you and may hinder you – Google. Search engine results with organic searches for your new name or old name should lead to all information about you. It could be your LinkedIn account or Google+. Reminder: your name is the only information you cannot hide or make private. And you cannot change it frequently (not within 30 days, says the Google policy)

Google helps:

You can start by editing your Google+ profile and other profiles linked to your Google account like your YouTube channel, Gmail will automatically reflect the changes.

Some challenges:

My name had been changed from Prerana Prasanna to Prerana Channahalli, but yet the custom URLs for my profile being generated was using my old name. Custom URL feature was rolled out late in 2013 (October) and other than the suggested URLs, there is no option for a custom URL (yet).



It took sometime before my custom URL suggestion changed from +preranaprasanna to +preranaChannahalli.

And then I got to choose and change the URL:




Other forums where I had to change manually were my social media networks like Facebook (most have an option to edit name in settings) and LinkedIn. To ensure that people know about the name change, you could drop an email stating the name change, especially to business contacts. Email contacts, professional and personal, may be more significant compared to your contacts in say, a Facebook, and thus need to know of the change.

For an individual a name change can be a bit of a hassle. For a brand/ organization it poses a bigger challenge. There are several places which need to reflect the change and in real time, well almost. These are mentioned below and not in any specific order.

  1. Facebook page

You are allowed to make the change if less than 200 people like your Page, given that you have appropriate rights (admin or editor). The steps are as follows:

  1. Click About below your Page’s cover photo.
  2. Click Page Info in the left column.
  3. Hover over the Name section and click Edit.
  4. Enter a new name and click Save Changes.

If you have received 200 or more likes then a request to change your page name needs to be submitted and when approved, you can change the page name. The steps are as follows:

  1. Click About below your Page’s cover photo.
  2. Click Page Info in the left column.
  3. Hover over the Name section and click Edit.
  4. Click Request Change.
  5. Fill out the form and click Send.
  1. LinkedIn Page

Here too, one needs to have appropriate rights (Company page administrator) to edit the page. The steps are as follows:

  1. Move your cursor over Interests at the top of your homepage and select Companies from the dropdown.
  2. Select the Company Page that you’d like to edit from the Manage your pages box on the right.
  3. Click the blue Edit button in the upper right.
  4. Make your changes and click Publish to save.

There are simple steps to add a company page name or description in other languages (about 20 languages are supported)

  1. Twitter

Your twitter handle can be a bit tricky as you need to have the new desired handle available. A trademark violation report can be submitted, if it is a case that your trademark is being used to mislead. The desired username, if released, can be used. The change from @oldBrandName to @newBrandName can be done with all followers intact as long as account verification for the new account has also been obtained.

  1. Google+

This is a simple enough edit, as it’s just a profile name change, but the URL may still be +oldBrandName. That shouldn’t really bother you.

  1. YouTube

The Google+ and YouTube account linkage save one a lot of redundant name change effort as Google changes it automatically in YouTube weather you are an individual or an organization.

  1. Pinterest and Instagram

Simple profile name changes using settings options’ does the trick at both these places.

There are other portals you may be present in, and each will have their own policies for name changes. But they will definitely have documented help to guide you through the change.

Plan ahead and your social re-branding may not seem daunting.

And if you still feel you have not established your name change in the digital world, consider blogging about it too.

Happy Updating!



About the Author: Prerana Channahalli is an alumni of Web Marketing Academy.