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How to Use Twitter

The world has become an even smaller place with the rapid growth of social media technologies like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

Whether for personal or business use, Twitter has become the fun, quicker way of communicating with friends, family and you can now make new friends or ‘followers’ from anywhere around the world. Twitter can be used by all and from anywhere.

Twitter has, with 50 million tweets being sent per day, become a social media phenomenon. Users of this microblogging site are only a button click away with faster Smartphones and wireless internet connections. The service is continuing to grow with just over 600 tweets being sent per second by its users.

To get involved in this easy, fun communication technology, follow this simple introduction to getting started to using the service.

How to get started on Twitter?

To start using Twitter you will need to sign up for the service via http://twitter.com. You will need an email address and to get started you will need to use your full name and a secure password to login on to your account.

Once you have entered the following details, you will need to come up with a user name, for example,  ‘Sunshine’, and it will appear as @Sunshine when you get set up with your profile and account. This user name is how other will identify you.

If you’re using a normal desktop computer Twitter is compatible on any systems; Windows, Mac or Linux. Your account can also be set up using an iPad or any wireless laptop computers. Once you get a confirmation email with your Twitter account details, click the link on your email and it will redirect you back to your newly set-up account and you will be ready to tweet.

Setting up your Twitter profile

When you have a user name and password, you can log in to account and start using the service. Firstly, start by customising your profile page. Click on ‘profile’ and find the link ‘Edit your profile’. There will be the account, password, mobile, notification, profile, design and connections tabs.

Account: You can have an open account, where anyone who logs on will be able to see what you have tweeted or you can have a protected account, where your tweets are locked and invisible to new users who will need to request your permission to be a ‘follower’ of your tweets and you them.

Under this option, you can choose and customise your twitter account accordingly and save the options. You can also choose the language, Time Zone and change your user name.

Password: From time to time we do forget our password, or simply wish to change it to something that will be easier to remember. Under this setting you can easily change your user password.

Mobile:  This option is for those who do not have mobile internet, a Smartphone or a tablet computer, to log on to twitter for free. You can use twitter with text messages. Although twitter will not charge, your mobile network provider will charge a standard message text rate for each tweet.

Notifications:   You can keep track of who is following you, be notified if someone has sent you a direct message (private inbox) and be updated by Twitter with latest information and inside scoop about any new services the site may be offering. Notifications will be sent to your email address which you have used to set up your twitter account.

Profile:  Filling in your profile information will help people find you on Twitter. For example, you’ll be more likely to turn up in a Twitter search if you’ve added your location or your real name.

This is where you can promote yourself, if you are using it for business purposes, or simply tell other users who you are and what you like and do.  You can upload a picture either of yourself or anything related to your personality or business.

Your Twitter profile picture helps instantly identify you to those following you—and tells those who aren’t more about you.  You can also add a location, as well as a personal or business website for your followers and anyone who searches the site to obtain more information about you and/or your business.

A further boast to your profile is the bio box, where you can tell those following or wanting to follow you, a bit more about you using 160 characters or fewer.

Design: Customise the way Twitter looks for you and how your profile looks to others. Starting with a pre-designed theme and then, optionally, customise it with your own colour scheme and background image. Here you can be creative and using the various basic themes creates a lovely page for others to view. You can also use ‘Themeleon’ which gives you more designs and patterns to decorate your page with. Or could keep it simple with just a coloured background or simply use a favourite picture as background image.

Connection: Get further connected on the internet by allowing different applications such as LinkedIn and Plixi-photo uploader via Smartphones which helps your browse and manages your twitter account. These applications will have to be approved by you to use on the go either through your mobile or iPad connections.

Once you have customised your profile, you are officially a Twitter user.

Finding people to follow

To begin your tweeting adventure, the best way is to start following people you already know, like your friends and family. You can find them using the search box on the top of your page or by entering their user name or email in the search box.

When you find them click the ‘Follow’ button and you will be able to read what they tweet. Likewise to get followers your friends and family can search you by user name or email and click to follow you.

You can follow anyone, organisation or groups on Twitter. Search for your favourite celebrity like Stephen Fry and follow him. It is that simple. Although be careful of fake celebrity tweeters, if you wish to follow the real people look out for the blue stamp with a tick that authenticates their account.

If the person you want to follow has protected their tweets you may have to wait to be approved before being able to read their tweets. You can find anyone under any sector to follow and you can follow as many people as you wish. At anytime you may also wish to ‘unfollow’ those you are following.

On your page, Twitter may also suggest people who you may want to follow as your followers maybe following them. You can also follow people by specific trends which are also found on your page. Or simply follow people with similar interests, for example sports or jokes. The site is your oyster.

Tips on Tweeting

If you would like to have as many followers as a famous star, start a hash-tag trend. This is a great way of not only getting followers but also starting a group on twitter. Simply type your tweet like the example below, it has #journalism, which mean anyone who is interested in journalism can search the site and find such tweets to read. You can also add videos, photographs and other web links for others to read.

If people like your tweet, they can ‘Retweet’ for their followers to read, which may get you more followers and people can also reply to your tweet. It is free and easy to get connected and keep connected with people.


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