Signing up for Twitter

We’ve talked a lot about why you should join Twitter, today we’re talking about how to join Twitter.

Step one: Go to

Enter your information in the New to Twitter sign up box

Step two: choose your Twitter handle

It’s time to choose your Twitter handle!

Choosing your Twitter handle can seem daunting.  Many take the simple route and use their name (my twitter handle is @larawellman and the business twitter handle is @wellmanwilson).  If that name is already taken or you want to get creative you can choose something you associate with yourself or business.  Don’t worry, you can change your name later so nothing is set in stone.

Step three: follow people

Twitter has a simple and easy to follow set of actions for you to take to help you get started on twitter.  They show you what a tweet looks like and then suggest you follow some people.  Feel free to follow me as one of your 10 and say hi to me - I’ll follow you back.


Step four: Add a photo and write your profile

Add a recognizable photoIt’s time to personalize your twitter account.  Add a photo of you that would be recognizable as a very small thumbnail - that’s how it will be seen most often.  Why a photo of you and not something that represents you?  People feel like they are connecting with actual people on Twitter.  A real photo strengthens that feeling.

If your account is for a business (especially if more than one person tweets from it) you can use the logo.

Then write a short bio.  Write something short that describes you and what you do. You can add a link to this bio (perhaps a call to action of some kind).

Step five: Tweet something

Go to the section that says “What’s happening” and say something. You can say anything under 140 characters.

You could start with “Hey @larawellman, I signed up for twitter - now what?”

Because you included my name with @ in front of it, I will see it and I will reply to you - you will have just tweeted and interacted with a fellow tweeter all in one big first step!

You can see if anyone is talking to you by checking @connect button at the top of the page.

Check who has talked to you from the @connect tabThe difference between interactions and mentions is that interactions will include new follows, people who have retweeted something you’ve said or any tweets that might have been favourited.  Mentions is strictly the tweets that include your handle. 

Step 6: Observing twitter

The main section to monitor is the Timeline section. That’s where everything that everyone you’re following is saying will filter. An important rule here is this. Don’t think you have to read everything that everyone has said!

Nobody expects you to go back in time. A Twitter timeline is like listening the radio, you hear what you hear when it’s on. You don’t record it and listen back to it later.

A few tips extra tips:

If a tweet starts with a Twitter handle then only that person, and people who follow both you and that person can see the tweet. It means that someone is “speaking” directly to whoever’s name is at the beginning of the tweet, and everyone else reading it is just listening in to the conversation.

If a tweet starts with RT it is being Retweeted. Someone is simply passing along something interesting that someone else said. For example

RT @SoCapOtt: Do you want to speak at #SoCapOtt this year? Start brainstorming. The call for speakers will be posted in a couple weeks!

Sometimes someone will RT and add a thought of their own. For example

Fun!! RT @kidsincapital: Win 4 tickets to Trick-or-Treat to a Wicked Beat at the NAC!

Hashtags are words preceded by #. Like #kidsinthecapital. If you search that hashtag (or click on it in a tweet) it will bring you to all the tweets that also included that hashtag. They are used to talk about common themes and also for twitter parties (more on that in future posts).

There is more, but I fear overwhelming people. So instead, for now I invite you to ask questions in the comments or talk to me on twitter “@larawellman, what have you gotten me in to?”

And I leave you with some tips from fellow tweeters:

- Use your real and authentic voice (twitter is a casual conversation, talk as you would in real life)

- Finding a good dozen of helpful tweeps (here’s another one of those tw words. Twitter + peeps = tweeps) to follow is key. Then interact! Ask questions!

- Ask a friend who’s on twitter for help. Never would have figured out without it.

- Don’t give up, don’t be afraid to jump into conversations.

- People care what you have to say. Or if they don’t care, they don’t mind that you said it.

- Have fun! :)