I have been called Kitty for years. Originally by my siblings and closest friends, then by more friends and some colleagues. With the job change in January, I decided to make the switch and start using Kitty all the time. There’s nothing legal about it, I simply prefer it. I’ve never been a huge fan of my first name, and with that nickname catching on, it just feels more natural.
This meant updating some things on the interwebs so that Kitty becomes more prominent, such as links, social profiles… Except I have been pretty active for the past decade and it turns out it’s pretty hard to do. 😅 In this short piece, I’ll just walk through a few of the steps I had to take.
If you ever mentioned me somewhere on your blog, site or platform, I would really appreciate if you could take a minute to update my name to Kitty. Thank you for your help! 🙏
I bought kittygiraudel.com a while ago, and because I particularly dislike dealing with domain names and DNS configuration, at that time I simply put a small redirect on it so it leads to my website. I recently flipped both domains so that kittygiraudel.com is effectively the one that’s used, and the other one redirects to it.
I then proceded to a domain address change on Google’s side so they stop indexing the old domain name, and migrate any index onto the new one. I have to admit that their tool is surprisingly straightforward, although I have yet to see if it works properly since the migration is still running. It could take weeks to take full effect, so I have to be patient.
Many thanks Valérian Galliat for his kind help with the DNS configuration. Thanks to him, it was smooth and seamless.
Twitter has some documentation on changing one’s handle. This is something one can do directly from within the account settings. Nothing too complicated.
Note: Changing your username will not affect your existing followers, Direct Messages, or replies. Your followers will simply see a new username next to your profile photo when you update. We suggest you alert your followers before you change your username so they can direct replies or Direct Messages to your new username. Additionally, please note that once you change your username, your previous username will immediately be available for use by someone else.
Two important pieces of information in there:
- Mentions work by handle name, not by account reference. So any tweet mentioning the old handle will keep mentioning the old handle. Which no longer exists.
- The old handle becomes immediately available, which I personally find odd. I would have expected it to be disabled, at least for a little while.
What I ended up doing was opening the Twitter sign-up process in another browser, rename my account to @KittyGiraudel to free the old handle, and immediately create another account under the old name. That placeholder account has my face, bio and a link to the new account so anyone following an old mention can still find me.
GitHub was a bit of an odd bird, because I already had two accounts, under both names. My main account with a decade of open-source work under the old name, and a fresh account for work under the new name. What I wanted was to end up with my main account, but under the KittyGiraudel username.
I contacted their support to know what was the best way to merge both accounts, and they have been very helpful. Basically they recommend migrating any repository I might have onto the main account (I had none, so that was easy), then deleting the empty account to free the username before finally renaming the account into KittyGiraudel. Very easy.
What is great about GitHub is that they maintain relevant redirects. All the links to my repositories using my old GitHub handle still work, because they redirect to the new one. Even the few sites using GitHub Pages got instantly migrated as well, no downtime. A+.
Bonus point: Commits and contributions are tied to an email address, so by adding the new email address I was using onto my main account, I managed to merge the stats from both accounts. Not only that, but the authorship of all my commits done under the name KittyGiraudel before deleting the account remained clean.
Updating all the name references and URLs on that site was easy. It’s basically a search and replace away. But I have been writing for many different news outlets and blogs over the years, and having one’s details updated everywhere is an absolute pain.
For larger blogs like SitePoint, CSS-Tricks or Codrops, I could edit the profile myself to update my content. When updating the URL slug was not possible, I had to contact the platform owner for them to do it.
For smaller sites, I had to contact authors’ individually to ask them to perform updates for me. I went as far as back page 10 of a Google search on my name to find references. It’s a never-ending battle.
I wrote two books. Like, paper books. This ain’t going away. And the thing about the publishing industry is that there are literally dozens of site that index books, including their authors, and on which no one has any control. Think of all the library websites, book shops and so on.
There are also a lot of development-related websites which are now long dead, but still maintain people’s profile, such as cssdeck.com. It’s annoying, but I guess there is not much one can do about it.
Long story short: there is no way to change everything easily and conveniently. It’s a lot of requests here and there to have people fix things. I assume it will get better as
search engines Google stops indexing the old content. Now we play the waiting game.