Easy Twitter Guide - Everything you need to know to get started!
8th June 2010
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Twitter is a fantastic way of keeping in touch with people, telling others what you are doing and what you think. You can tweet about anything at all.

Each message (commonly known as a tweet) you post has a maximum of 140 characters so it’s quick and really easy to do - it's like a micro blog.

How do I get started?

First log on to www.twitter.com and follow the simple instructions to get registered. You will need to choose your own username,  so it's advisable to have a think about what's suitable and why you want to use twitter. You'll find that most people just use their name, this helps other users to identify with you and reduce spam. It is possible that your name has already been used by someone else,  so you may have to think of something a bit different.

How do I tweet?

Just start typing your message in the box at the top of the screen . It will automatically tell you if your message is over 140 characters. After you've finished writing your message just press tweet and that’s it - your tweet should then appear for your followers to see. Hootsuite is also a good option if you want to pre-schedule tweets to appear throughout the day, I've found it to be really useful and best of all, it's free!

How do I follow other people?

If you want to see tweets from other people you will need to follow them. This is also really easy to do, click on ‘Follow People’ at the top of the page. This will then enable you to search for who you would like to follow . Then all you have to do is click on the ‘follow’ icon next to their name.

What are my followers?

You can follow other people they can follow you. You can see who’s following you  by clicking on ‘followers’ towards the top right of the screen.

Why do people use @username?

This is a bit like when people copy you into an email - the people it relates to can see it. This is useful if you want to mention other people in your tweet or you want to make sure they read your tweet. To do this include @username in your tweet. To view messages that include your username click on @username on the right hand side of the page.

Can I send a message that no-one else can see?

Everything you tweet can be viewed by anyone else on Twitter, unless you choose the ‘direct message’ option on the right hand side. This is a bit like your email inbox -  you can send a direct message and see direct messages sent to you.
I’ve heard about retweeting but what does that mean?

If you want to share a tweet from someone else that you think that is fun, interesting or you just think others might want to read it then try retweeting it. You may see some tweets that start with RT (short for retweet) and then copy the tweet they’ve read. You can also use the retweet button which does this automatically for you!

Is that it?

Yes, that’s pretty much all you need to start tweeting. Once you’ve found your way around Twitter there’s lots of other exciting stuff you can do -  creating a new background, tagging messages and following trending topics but that’s for another day.  Should you get stuck at all, there’s a really handy help tool. 

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