Despite its simplicity Twitter seems to intimidate people. Its one of the things I hear most from people I talk to about Twitter. With this in mind I’ve found a brilliant video on YouTube by the clever people at Howcast which shows, in under 4 minutes, how to get started on Twitter in 10 easy no nonsense steps. I’ve added a few additional written notes to go with this video with some useful links. This is also handy if you don’t have sound on your computer!
Less than six months ago I was a social networking ignoramus – I freely admit it, just so you know!
HOW TO USE TWITTER IN 10 EASY STEPS:
Step 1. Create a Twitter account in less than two minutes
Go to www.twitter.com and click the green ‘get started’ button. Set up an account by simply adding your name and email address and by choosing a user name and password type in the encrypted code and hit ‘create my account’. That’s it, you’re in!
Step 2. Decide what you want to say
Decide what you want to say. In general Twitter messages or ‘tweets’ answer the question ‘what are you doing right now’ But you can also post a link to a web site, express an opinion or reaction, pose a question or provide an answer. Twitter messages can only be 140 characters (including spaces) which helps to keep things simple.
Step 3. How to send a tweet
On the home page type your message in the box at the top of the screen (the number of characters you have left out of 140 is displayed at the top right hand corner of the box) and hit the update button. Congratulations you have posted your first tweet. If your tweet is intended for one person in particular type the @ symbol followed by the users screen name. For example Event Magazines screen name is eventmagazine to send a message to them include @eventmagazine before the text of your message. Even if Event Magazine is not following you they will be able to see your message by clicking on the @profile name on the navigation bar on the right of their page.
Step 4. How to find people
Twitter is a two way street. Now you have posted your first update you need to choose people you want to follow. To find people to follow on Twitter you can click on the ‘find people’ tab at the top of any Twitter page. It is worth noting that people may be listed under a screen name that does not match their real name.
Twitter gives you 4 ways to find individuals and groups or businesses:
1. On the ‘find people’ page type a persons name or user name into the search box to find them.
2. Click on the ‘find people on other networks’ tab and search your existing email accounts (Gmail etc)
3. You can invite people via email by clicking on the next tab and entering a list of email addresses
4. You can also click on suggested users for a list of people suggested by Twitter.
To find event people on Twitter I suggest you see follow those following @eventmagazine to begin with You can also find people on the event Twitter directory supported by Event Magazine www.evertweeps.com
Step 5. How to follow people
When you have found someone you are interested in click ‘follow’ and you will receive their updates automatically. People will usually, but not always, follow you back when you follow them.
Step 6. Help people find you
To help people find you fill in your account information under settings and add the following:
1. A profile photo (only add a logo it you are setting up a business profile)
2. Your real name
3. Your location
4. A bio – you have 160 characters so think carefully about what you write
5. A web, or blog address so people can find out more about you
If you want to restrict your Twitter updates to only those you allow to follow you simply check the box marked ‘protect my updates’. You will maintain your privacy but you will limit your reach. To get the full Twitter experience I suggest you leave this unchecked.
Step 7. Stay connected wherever you are
You don’t have to be at your computer to receive twitter updates. The video talks about using text SMS text messages to send and receive tweets wherever you are. Unfortunately in the UK this service is not fully available and currently you are only able to send tweets via text. To set up this service go to the ‘devices tab’ under ‘settings’ and follow the simple instructions.
Step 8. Customise your profile
By clicking on design tabs you can customise your profile using photos and background designs. You can also change the colours of fonts, background, links and borders. Click on the colour boxes to make the colour wheel appear. Be careful to select colours that show up clearly on screen. Darker colours for fonts work best.
Step 9. What are people saying
You can keep up to date with things that interest you by clicking on ‘search’ at the foot of any Twitter page or by going to http://www.search.twitter.com/ where you can type in a person name or topic. You can also follow what’s generating the most buzz on Twitter by browsing through trending topics. You will find this below the search box, along side search results and on the right of any search page.
Step 10. Posting updates
You can post updates from the web from the update box using a computer, a mobile phone via text message as described in step 7, by mobile phone web browser via mtwitter.com which will take you to a special mobile phone version of Twitter on a Blackberry or iPhone using one of many of the free applications available. For Blackberry I recommend TwitterBerry and for the iphone I use Twitterfon. There are lots of different applications designed to make Twitter easy to use some of the best are recommended here www.twitter.com/downloads although more will be recommended on this blog. Remember – send frequent updates, keep them interesting and people will follow you.
If you are a Twitter expert and you think I’ve missed anything please add a comment and I’ll amend this blog entry throughout the week.
If you are new to Twitter and need any additional help I suggest you get onto Twitter using these instructions, follow everyone who is following @eventmagazine and then ask your questions on Twitter. You will find people on Twitter are very helpful.
More advanced tutorials and useful information will be posted over the next two weeks and will include:
Useful Twitter etiquette
Finding the right tone of voice
How to retweet and why
How to use hash (#) tags
How to send a direct message (DM)
How to upload images
How to create short URL’s
Practical uses for Twitter
Cool Twitter applications
How to find more people and get them to follow you
Advanced Twitter tools