Getting Started on Twitter

Some users who have participated on other social networks may not ‘get’ what purposes Twitter serves best on their first or second visit. However, once users understand that Twitter has certain rules and ‘laws’ to follow, they will begin to gain a new understanding on what this particular social media tool can do.

The first in our Twitter series, Why You Should Be Using Twitter and 7 Random Benefits, should have given enough understanding as to why Twitter is a great social media tool. This means that the next activity on the list should be getting started on Twitter.

Getting Started – Twitter Basics

The concept of Twitter is very simplistic. Twitter lets users communicate in short, 140 character blurbs of information. These blurbs are commonly known as Tweets. Considered micro-blogging, users can follow other Twitter users and be privy to that persons aggregated stream of updates. Part of the attraction to using Twitter is the many ways you can access the service. There are hundreds of Twitter tools, websites, desktop applications and mobile apps that make tweeting one of the most convenient methods of communication for many.

Getting started on Twitter is incredibly easy.

  1. Set up an account.
  2. Fill in profile information and image options.
  3. Locate your friends.
  4. Choose the way you will post messages.
  5. Start posting.

Once you have your account set up and running you will want to begin adding some friends and attempting to gain followers. Check out this helpful video that offers visual instruction on how to get started up on your new Twitter account.

Adding Friends

Twitter gives users the option to add their friends in three different ways.

Clicking the find people tab will bring up the options to:

  1. Invite from other networks
  2. Invite by email
  3. Search

You can use those three options to begin to build your new Twitter network.

Posting Messages on Twitter

There are many options for posting on Twitter. It is always an option to head to and use the original dashboard for posting. However, most Twitter users have desktop or mobile applications, or timed tweet posting services they use to message, view and even filter their Twitter streams.

Digital Ethos has published a few helpful articles on finding the right third-party platform for posting, managing, filtering and keeping up with all of the feeds on your Twitter account.

Start Posting

Now that you are set up and ready to go, it is time to start making your own short micro-blogs on Twitter. Posting is easy and a few rules of action and etiquette should help get you started until you become more familiar and comfortable with this platform.

  1. To make a post to all of your followers, simply type it into the website or application and hit post or send.
  2. To send a public message to a particular follower, type ‘@’ followed immediately by their username. @basilpuglisi Hey, how are you doing today? and hit post or send.
  3. To send private messages you can either locate the user and use the drop down box, or you can type ‘d’ followed by the username. d basilpuglisi nice post today on your blog! and hit post or send.

Don’t forget the #hashtags!

Hashtagging seems to be one of the reasons users cite for their confusion over Twitter communications. Understand that hashtags are not a requirement to enjoy Twitter. They are a way to enjoy Twitter with anyone and everyone who has like-minded interest in the hashtag you choose to use.

Hashtags are just keywords that are preceded by the # symbol that will make your tweet both linkable and searchable on the Twitter network. Try searching for the hashtag “#socialmedia” to get a good idea of how people are using that particular hashtag to communicate with others who have similar interests in this industry.

140 Characters vs 120 Characters

140 Characters is for talking at people, 120 Characters is for talking with people. When you keep your posts to 120 characters or less this allows others to retweet content giving you credit for it. It is also a nice to try and leave space for someone to add their thoughts. If your tweet can be short and sweet, you might find it viral with other thoughts added to it throughout the Twitterverse.


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