Twitter; A Quick Getting Started Guide

I was just asked by a friend for a quick intro to Twitter. Having gone through the basic confusion of what this is all about when I started, I figured I would write up a quick overview. Here goes…

  1. Twitter is a micro-blogging site in which you can post articles comprised of 140 characters or fewer.
  2. A Twitter account is free. It is easy to start, and only takes a couple of minutes. Start Your Twitter Account here.
  3. A ‘tweet’ is a post. Any time you post a new thought, idea, announcement or link, it is referred to as a ‘tweet’. Start tweeting.
  4. Twitter is a connectivity tool that acts like a giant conversation. You can read what others are saying, and they can read what you are saying.
  5. To monitor what someone is writing, you ‘follow’ them. When you follow someone, their posts appear in your Twitter feed on your Home page. Follow Me.
  6. When people are interested in what you have to say, they can ‘follow’ you, too.
  7. To follow someone, simply visit their ‘Home’ page in Twitter and click the Follow button under their profile picture.
  8. Twitter keeps track of all the people you are following, and those who are following you. Their is a handy stats display at the top of your Home page.
  9. To find people or topic threads in Twitter, use This tool will become your best friend, and is where you can conduct searches and research.
  10. There are lots of philosophies on what to post, and who to follow. But there are no rules. Keep it clean and find birds of your feather.
  11. You can reply to other people in Twitter in two ways; public and private.
  12. To reply publicly, simply include the person’s Twitter name in the post. A Twitter name is preceded by an ‘@’ symbol, and looks like this: @carysnowden
  13. A public reply will be seen by all your followers, and might look like this: ‘Hey @jack_hadley, thanks for your comment on this article.’
  14. To send a private reply or note, simply replace the ‘@’ symbol with a lower-case ‘d’ and a space, like this: d jack_hadley, don’t tell anyone about this note.’
  15. When you get in with a group and want to tag all your tweets so that the group can follow them, you will use a ‘hash-code’ or ‘hash-tag’.
  16. A hash code is a special word that you make up and agree to use within your group. Hash codes are not private, and can be used by anyone else, too.
  17. A hash code should be unique, and the prevailing convention is to use a ‘#’ symbol in front of your unique word. An example would be ‘#socialht’.
  18. I would add this hash code to any of my tweets that I want to highlight for the group.
  19. Now, when I go to, I will search for the hash code ‘#socialht’ and be able to see all the comments intended specifically for my group.
  20. You can search for other hash codes, or other topics, to learn what people are saying about you, your company, your favorite band, or anything.
  21. You can tweet from a computer or phone. I use Twittelator and Twitterific for iPhone, but there are others, too.
  22. You may eventually get invited to a ‘Tweetup‘, or a group social where like-minded people come together in person to meet each other and talk in person.
  23. Take a look around our site for interviews and panel discussion about how people use Twitter; it is quite amazing, and incredibly useful once you get a handle on things.

Let me know if you have anything to add to this quick list.

PS: Each line in this article would qualify as a ‘tweet’ in length, and represent a typical comment in Twitter.

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