Twitter: The Basics

How to create an account

Unsurprisingly, the first step to getting a Twitter account is to go to www.twitter.com. It’s a pretty simple process and you’re swiftly guided through it.

Picking a username is something to be careful about. Whilst @x_catherine_x might have worked for your Piczo or Bebo, something more to the point is more appropriate here. Try and stick as close to your name as possible as it’ll look more respectable to industry types. You don’t want it too long as it will take up vital characters when people reply to you (I’ll come to this later!)

Enter your email address and create a password and you’re ready to go.

Followers / Following

Twitter is all about following people. To follow someone, simply type their name in the ‘Search’ bar at the top. Hit enter and on the right hand of the screen ‘People results for…’ will appear. If the intended account is obvious in the small selection then you can simply click ‘Follow’ and voila – you’re now following a person.

The tweets of people who you follow will appear in your timeline (the feed of tweets on your homepage). For your tweets to appear in other peoples timelines one of two things needs to happen.

The most common way for your tweet to appear in someone else’s timeline is if they follow you. People can follow you for many reasons; they might find you super interesting, they might find you funny or they might just be a spam account who will follow anyone and everyone. Hopefully it’ll be one of the first two reasons and gradually, over time, your number of followers will increase.

Retweeting

Another way of having your tweet read by people in their timelines is if you are retweeted. Retweets are a great way of sharing interesting tweets, opinions or links with the people you follow. They can also drive a lot of traffic to a blog.

For example, on an old music blog of mine I once reviewed a Michael Bublé gig. The Michael Bublé Brazilian fan page retweeted my tweet (containing the link to my blog) to their followers and so it appeared in all of their follower’s timelines. As such, my blog saw a great increase in hits from Brazilian Michael Bublé fans. And any hits are normally good hits.

If you’ve not got a blog or something in particular that you’re trying to promote then retweets can still be useful. Often journalists will tweet links to breaking news or opinion pieces from other sources and this can lead you to discover other tweeters who might be of interest.

This was originally posted on mediaontwitter.wordpress.com.

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