The Basics – Get personal and be real
Username: Choosing the right username is important – there’s no harm in using
your actual name of course, providing someone else hasn’t taken it already!
If your desired username has been taken, choose something that reflects you and
how you’ll try to use your Twitter account. There’s no harm in being totally professional,
but a little bit of character will make you seem more human.
Picture: Upload an image of yourself – preferably nothing too risqué! A nice
simple headshot will do the trick, it makes communicating that little bit more personal.
Alternatively, you can create your own cartoon
avatar and customise it to make it look how you wish!
Bio: Write a short bio including who you work for and what your interests
are. This will help tweeple (Twitter people) find you as well as giving them information
about why they should follow you once you start tweeting.
Protected Updates: Privacy online is a hot topic and will continue to be
so as long as your personal information is deemed valuable, and it is tempting to
hide your updates to just your immediate friends. However, on Twitter if you’ve
got something to hide people will want to know why and they will be cautious about
following you, if not put off altogether!
Website: Include your blog if you have one, this helps to make you more ‘real’
to anyone who comes across your profile. You can also link to a LinkedIn or Facebook
profile, or even your Flickr page.
Followers – It’s not stalking, it’s interaction
Finding people to follow on Twitter can initially seem daunting, but it needn’t
be! One way of doing this is identify someone you like or pick a top ten list. Take
time to have a look through who these tweeple are following – chances are they’ll
have divided the wheat from the chaff and will provide a good starting point.
When you start following someone, there’s no harm in introducing yourself – it’s
a small step in building a relationship! Simply put @ in front if the person’s name
and they will see the message, even if they haven’t started following you back.
Tweeting – Everybody has something to say
Once you have started to follow a few tweeps and seen what they are tweeting, it’s
easy to want to dive right in and tell them what you’re doing right now.
But, will informing them that you’re half way through your first coffee of the day
be beneficial to them?
Be Interesting: Personal tweets add a flavour to your personality. If it
is the third or fourth time you’ve mentioned your breakfast within the space of
two hours though, you are sure to lose your newly gained followers because it does
nothing to add value to their Twitter experience.
Be Informative: If you find something on the Internet that you are still
reading a few minutes later, this is likely to be great Twitter material. Tweet
about it, include a link, and give a short summary of what your followers will see
if the click on the link – the headline will usually suffice.
Be Interactive: If you see a tweet with an interesting looking link, have
a read/look/watch and pass it on it by retweeting it – place RT at the front of
your message – the original tweeter will be grateful and your followers may then
retweet your tweet. The benefit of this is that you can see what your followers
are interested in and their followers will see your name and possibly start
Try to follow the 9/1 rule of thumb – for every ten tweets, try to make nine of
them Interesting, Informative or Interactive and one personal. This means you will
avoid flooding your followers with spam, and demonstrate you’re providing valuable
Content – The perfect tweet?
You’ve only got 140 characters, use them wisely!
Value: Try to add as much value to your message. For example, “Just saw Watchmen”
could be extended to “Saw Watchmen movie. Graphics brilliant! Great action scenes,
you should see it!”
Links: If you are tweeting a link, the URL is likely to use lots of characters.
Use a URL shortener such as Bit.ly,
Is.gd or Zi.ma to cut URLs down to 7 or 8 characters.
Be concise: Read your tweet before you send it – are there any words which
can be made smaller? Why say ‘procure’ when ‘get’ will do? Can you use symbols to
get your message across? Use & instead of saying ‘and’, or % instead of ‘per
cent’ for eg.
Remember to leave some free space for someone to retweet your message, just in case
What’s the value of Twitter?
Twitter is an instantaneous service, and because tweets are so short, updates from
one user can come through thick and fast.
You can ‘friendsource’, which means you can ask your contacts quickly and easily
if they can recommend someone or something, and you can share information
with tweeps who have similar interests to your own.
Twitter is starting to report news events as they happen, beating traditional media
forms to the scoop. Conferences are increasingly live-tweeted, for example. Or,
Denver plane crash in 2008 as an example – the news broke that it had crashed
when a passenger tweeted about it, and that tweet was retweeted. A similar situation
occurred with the Hudson plane crash earlier this year and the fires in Australia.
We are in an age where everything we do has the potential to show up on the Internet.
Look at how many newspaper stories now contain pictures taken from Facebook accounts
of the people involved.
It is very challenging to provide a full ‘check-list’ of Twitter do’s and don’ts,
because it is used in different ways, for different things, by different people.
To that extent, here’s something to bear in mind if you’re not sure about tweeting:
Would you shout your message across a crowded room to a group of people you’ve never
As with the rest of your online life, security of your private details is paramount,
and as with all new technologies, Twitter is becoming the target of cyber criminals.
There are many third party applications that you can use alongside Twitter, and
some ask for your password to access the data that they will use. Bear this in mind
when you’re entering your details. If in doubt, don’t enter your password.
But in any case, you can of course search Twitter to see if there have been any
reports of security issues surrounding the application if you really must
Make sure you change your Twitter password once a month to minimize the chances
of your account becoming compromised.
Now you’ve got it...
Now you’re getting the hang of twitter, why not start experimenting?
You can change the layout of your background very easily. There are lots of different
designs and there’s bound to be one to suit you! Have a look at some of the backgrounds
Tweetspace and Free Twitter Designer
Twitter now has an inbuilt search function which allows you to look for keywords
or phrases in the Twittersphere, this can be very useful if you need to find information
quickly or are looking for client related tweets.
You’ve probably noticed that you can only see Twitter update by refreshing the page
that is open in your browser.
To make your life easier, there are lots of cool programs you can download which
run on your PC in the background and update Twitter in real-time. Some of these
are Tweetdeck and
Twhirl ) which are simple to install and easy to use.
The benefit of using a program like this is that you can let them run unobtrusively
on your machine and you can monitor for keyword in real-time.
You can also download different applications that allow you to update Twitter from
your mobile, Ubertwitter,
Tweetie should be your first port of call, depending on what type of handset
Copy adapted from Twitter User Guide created by @geetarchurchy