Susan J. Reinhardt of Christian Writer/Reader Connection suggested a post on Twitter basics. Since I regularly receive e-mail and comments with questions about blogging, Facebook, and Twitter, I realized a post on this topic could benefit many people unsure of how to tweet.
Twitter is a fun, non-threatening, quick way to meet new people. Some of the manners we use in everyday life do not apply on Twitter. It's okay to jump into conversations with people you don't know, and you can follow anyone and not be considered a stalker. On the flip side, it's fine to not show up for days at a time, and if you never feel like saying a word, you don't have to. However, you'll find the experience more rewarding if you check in regularly.
Twitter excels at bringing together like-minded people for jags of conversation. It's easy to use, non-exclusive (you don't have to send a request to follow someone, and you don't have to follow anyone back), and full of information. People show up under their username, which always has an @ symbol before it. You would see my tweets under @jillkemerer. If I mention I desperately need coffee, you could tweet me back with a quick, @jillkemerer Here's a cup of joe!
All correspondence must take place in 140 characters or less, so think short and sweet. You can also link blog posts, websites, and any online article. Go ahead and create lists for friends, agents, publishers, even cat-lovers (yeah, I watch Must Love Cats and found a slew of people like myself; someone tweeted me "Whiskertastic!" and it's become my new favorite word).
Sounds good, right? But how do you get started?
I will take you step-by-step through creating an account and setting up a profile. First, head to Twitter. It's linked through a pop-up window for easy reference back to this post.
1. On the top, right-hand side, you'll see a New to Twitter box and a button to sign up.
2. Click on the Sign Up button.
3. Fill out the information: Full name, Username, Password, E-mail, and click on the terms of service agreement. Then click Create Account. **If you are a writer, use your author name as your username. This will help people find you from your other social sites. If you're already published, readers will search for you by your author name. Make it easy on them! If your name is taken, consider adding a middle initial or "author" to the end. Example: If jillkemerer had been taken, I could have used jillrkemerer or jillkemererauthor. Or I could have included underscores, Jill_Kemerer.**
Congratulations! You have an account!
Now I'll walk you through setting up your profile. At the top of the screen, you will see a search box, Home, Profile, Messages, Who to Follow, and your username. Click on Profile.
A new screen will appear. Click on the Edit Your Profile link.
1. An account page will show up. Read through and modify it to your taste.
2. Next to the account tab is a page to change your password if you desire.
3. Next to the password tab is a mobile tab to set up your phone to tweet. This is optional. I do not tweet from my phone, so I never filled this out.
4. Next to the mobile tab is a notifications tab. This determines which information you will be e-mailed about. If you want an e-mail to let you know you have a new follower, check the new followers box and so forth.
**Mine is set up to only notify me when I get a direct message. This keeps my in-box from filling up with needless information.**
5. Next to the notification tab is the profile tab. Click on this.
a. Upload a photo or gravatar of yourself in the Picture section. Don't use the generic egg--many spammers use this.
b. If you're comfortable including the region you live, add it. If you have a blog or website, add the URL. I linked my website because anyone can get to my blog through it. But if your website isn't updated regularly, you may be better off linking to your blog instead.
c. Fill out your bio. Think casual. This isn't a business profile. You want people to see what you're about and that you're a real person. Mine reads as follows:
Author of sweet, emotional, sparkling inspirational romance novels, encourager, coffee guzzler, obsessed with fluffy cats, and addicted to magazines
d. Click on the Save button at the bottom of the screen.
6. Next to the profile tab is the design tab. Choose the background you would like for your profile. You can also upload a custom background if you click on Change Background Image. Click on Change Design Colors to modify them. Save the information.
7. Next to the design tab is the connections tab. This will show any sites you've allowed to access your account. For instance, I have my blog posts fed into my account through Twitterfeed, so Twitterfeed shows up in this area.
Guess what? You're done! Now you can start using Twitter!
Tune in on Friday for Twitter 101: Beginner's Tips.
Have a terrific Wednesday!