Should I capitalize Twitter links? If yes and no, give examples of both.

The direct example in question is the http://twitter.com/XonaGames bio. I could set it one of the following three ways. I have used real hyperlinks to approximate the best of how it looks and feels:

  1. Award-winning indie game studio, co-founded by @JasonADoucette and @mdoucette. Music by @Imphenzia and @NickDragonas.

  2. Award-winning indie game studio, co-founded by @JasonADoucette and @MDoucette. Music by @Imphenzia and @NickDragonas.

  3. Award-winning indie game studio, co-founded by @jasonadoucette and @mdoucette. Music by @imphenzia and @nickdragonas.

#1 is faithful to the actual Twitter account holders and their choice of capitalization. Note the mdoucette, that's me, is not capitalized. #2 modifies capitalization of all accounts to fit the majority. #1 and #2 both fight for attention, perhaps too much, with all the mid-sentence capitalization. #3 is lowercase for everyone. It reads more clear but loses distinction of multiple names that CamelCase solves in #2. And since all the account names are either company or human names, they would be capitalized normally and #2 fits this best.

All that said, it is beginning to seem or feel to me (yes very scientific!) that Twitter names are the new email addresses or web URLs which now look much better without caps. Historically, everyone initially wants their company or real name to be proper upon the whatever the new technology is (email, URL, Twitter), but all the capitalization becomes lame. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's just too cluttered. A fake example is BillGates@Microsoft.com, where as clearly what is best is just billg@microsoft.com.

Which is proper?

Which is best?

Is it opinion or do we have an accepted rule on usage? Please don't judge too quick and close this question down.

  • I think it is on-topic to ask this, but the answer may be that it is not for anyone to judge. – Mitch Feb 19 '12 at 18:43
  • @Mitch I agree. I'd love to see where this goes. It might end up being a poll result, which, to me, is still useful allbeit against the rules of this site. – Xonatron Feb 19 '12 at 18:44
  • There can be no canonical answer, only subjective. I would myself respect the account holders capitalization for obvious reasons. – Kris Feb 20 '12 at 7:00

I would go with #1, since it remains faithful to the users' choice.

If I wanted to make it look uniform, I would go with #3, since you are making them all lowercase, but I dislike #2, since it adds some capital letters which the user did not put there, and there is no uniform way to decide which letters to capitalise.

I don't think the capitalisation matters as much as you think it does, but if you feel it would detract the reader's attention too much, you should go with #3.


Twitter is not English. But its patterns of usage are somewhat dictated by technology and also by community. I think that Twitter addresses are not case-sensitive, so ou can capitalize however you feel.

Using technological items in English, like Twitter addresses, should most likely preserve the usage in that technology. If a person almost always capitalizes, then in reference it should be capitalized. If there is some conflict, say using a lower case thing at the beginning of a sentence where capitalization is called for, then reordering to remove the conflict makes things better.

Another perspective is that it is considered appropriate to maintain capitalization of trade names in whatever context. For example, 'iPhone' is supposed to have its initial 'i' lower case even at the beginning of a sentence. In the same vein as pronouncing a person's name the way they prefer, I suggest it is best to maintain the capitalization of the Twitter name the way the owner feels.


This is a matter of style, so pick a style and apply it consistently.

Twitter allows mixed-case but case-insensitive usernames, which means they will display the username in the case the user chose, but when typing in an address it doesn't matter what case you use.

As Twitter has chosen to allow capitals, and to respect them by displaying them, this is my first choice. The Guardian also spells usernames the same way as the users do.

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