Twitter Tuesday: Getting started with Twitter

Apr 24, 2012 · 3 min read

Twitter is a free networking and microblogging service on which users can share short, in maximum 140 characters long messages called "Tweets". These messages can be random rants, funny skits, information blurbs, links and so forth. Twitter can be used in various different ways, only limited by the length and your imagination.

Sign up and usernames

To really get started with Twitter I recommend to create an account to the service and explore yourself. Create the account by heading to Twitter and using the very simple sing up form. You'll need to come up with a username, which is commonly called as a Twitter handle. The username can be changed afterwards, but I recommend to create a handle you don't feel the need to change.

Commonly these usernames are built from real name (@tonijauhiainen) or if the account is used in behalf of a brand, the brand's name (@twitter). Also different sort of nicknames (@merviemilia) are quite okay. Just remember: The username is visible to everyone. Shorter is better. I'll come back to this subject next week.

Public or private?

Your Tweets can be public or private. If they are private, your Tweets won't be viewable by everyone and users need to request a permission from you to follow them. Public Tweets are visible to all, even those who aren't signed in to Twitter. I prefer the latter version, and rarely follow private accounts.

Private accounts are often used to communicate only with friends and family. Public accounts are used for networking and sharing and finding information.

Your profile

Each user has a profile page, which contains the latest Tweets by the user. It can also contain a user image, a short "bio", location and link to another site, usually the user's own website. The profile also includes info on how many Tweets the user has made, how many accounts they are following and how many accounts are following them.

The profile information is visible by everyone, even if your Tweets are private. Therefore if you have decided to go with private Tweets, don't publish on your profile any information (or image) you don't want to be seen publically.

User image is often a basic portrait or a logo. Most of the time this image is shown to other users as a tiny square thumbnail picture, in which loads of details won't be seen.

The bio is maximum of 160 characters, and therefore you can't go on ranty about it. Other users will use your bio in addition to your Tweets to decide whether they want to follow you or not. The bio can also be changed later.


When you are signed in you can follow other users. By following a user you can keep up on them and their Tweets easily. When you are following a user their Tweets will be visible for you on your account "home". If someone follows you they will be able to receive all of your Tweets in a similar way.

Following is not only a way to keep up with other users. It can also be seen as a way to show your appreciation on them and what they are Tweeting. When you follow someone, they will also be able to send you private Direct Messages (DM). I will discuss more about Direct Messages next week.

Finding users to follow can be a bit of work. On your Twitter account you can get some automated suggestions and of course following users who others are following is always a way to go. I will give other suggestions later.

If you need help with starting to use Twitter, please ask. I'd be happy to help. And remember to follow @merviemilia.

Coming up next week: Communication on Twitter - @replies, @mentions and Direct Messages.

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Suomeksi (In Finnish): 

Twitter on ilmainen verkostoitumis- ja mikrobloggauspalvelu. Sen avulla käyttäjät voivat jakaa lyhyitä, enimmillään 140 merkkiä pitkiä viestejä. Nämä viestit voivat sisältää lähes mitä vain: Satunnaisia vuodatuksia, hauskoja juttuja, informaatiopläjäyksiä, linkkejä ja niin edelleen. Twitteriä voi siis käyttää monin eri tavoin. Aloittaaksesi Twitterin käytön suosittelen luomaan tilin palveluun ja tutkimaan itse. Tilin luominen on itsessään helppoa ja nopeaa. Sinun on myös keksittävä käyttäjätunnus, jonka voi vaihtaa tarvittaessa myöhemminkin. Suositeltavaa on kuitenkin luoda heti alkuun sellainen tunnus, jota haluat käyttää jatkossakin. Tilisi (tai lähinnä kaikki viestisi) voivat olla joko julkisia tai suojattuja. Suojattuja tilejä käytetään usein ystävien ja sukulaisten kanssa kommunikointiin ja julkisia verkostoitumiseen ja informaation jakamiseen. Tilin yleiset tiedot ovat kuitenkin aina julkisia, kuten tunnuksesi, kuvasi ja mahdolliset muut antamasi lisätiedot. Twitterissä voit seurata muita käyttäjiä (tai lähinnä heidän viestejään). Seuraamasi käyttäjä voi myös lähettää sinulle henkilökohtaisia viestejä, joista kerron enemmän ensi tiistaina. Jos innostuit kokeilemaan, kysy vain apua tarvittaessa. Autan mielelläni. Ja muistathan seurata minua, @tasselflower. Ensi viikolla: Yhteydenpito Twitterissä.

Thank you for reading Twitter Tuesday: Getting started with Twitter. I have closed the comments for now, but I welcome you to write your response to your own blog, or to voice them at Twitter or Facebook. In case you wrote your response on your blog, do let me know so that I can read it and possibly link to it from this post.

I will gloriously ignore (and, where possible, report) any responses which contain personal attacks, or seek to promote unrelated business or scams.

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An artist, geek girl, marketer, and business coach, devoted to help you to be undeniable.

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