A Basic Guide to Twitter
Twitter is one of the leading social media platforms in the world and is a relatively simple and accessible website with which to use and maintain. This guide will show you have to create an account on Twitter, find pages you are interested in and follow them, show you how to make Tweets of your own, and how to use Twitter’s messaging system.
- Creating an Account
The initial step to using Twitter is to go to twitter.com. There you will see a prompt to sign in with a pre-existing account or to sign up with a new account.
1.2 Sign up
From here, you will want to click the blue “Sign up” button on the middle right of the screen. You will encounter a pop-up window that has spaces for you to enter the necessary information you want to create an account.
1.3 Use email instead
Enter your full name, phone number, or email if you click the blue “Use email instead” text, and date of birth before clicking the blue “Next” button in the top right corner of the pop-up.
You will be asked a question in which Twitter seeks permission to analyze your search engine use for it to optimize the ads on Twitter that target your interests. You can disable this feature by simply unchecking the box next to the message. Continue by once again clicking the blue “Next” button in the top right corner of the pop-up box.
1.4 Reviewing your information
The next page in the box is similar to the first and is where you review the information you have entered for signing up.
If the information in the text boxes is correct, then click the blue “Sign up” button at the bottom of the pop-up box.
1.5 Verification code
Next, you will be sent a verification code to either the phone number or email you entered during the sign-up. Once you enter the code, you will be prompted to create a password that is a minimum of 6 characters long.
After you enter your desired password, click the blue “Next” button at the top right of the pop-up box.
1.6 Uploading a profile picture
The next page prompts you to upload a profile picture for your account. Clicking the camera icon in the middle of the grey silhouette allows you to upload a photo saved on your computer to use as your profile picture. You can also click the blue “Skip for now” text at the top right of the box.
You will be asked to enter a short bio about yourself. Adding a bio is also optional and may be skipped with the same blue text in the top right of the box.
You will also be asked to search for and click on the interests you have to help Twitter recommend pages and people to you to give you direction on whom you may want to follow on your Twitter account. This option can also be skipped with the blue text in the top right corner of the box.
Even if you press the skip button, you will be met with some recommended pages to follow. If any interest you, you can click the white and blue “follow” button next to their names. Otherwise, click the blue “Next” button.
1.7 Allow notifications or skip for now
From there, you will be asked permission for Twitter to send you notifications. You can either allow it with the blue “Allow notifications” button or skip the option with the blue “Skip for now” button.
1.8 Homepage on Twitter
The next screen you see is your home page on Twitter. It is where your feed of Tweets and recommended Tweets shows up. The right side of the screen also features major newsworthy subjects that are popular on Twitter. From here, you will learn how to find and follow pages you are interested in on Twitter.
- Finding and Following Pages
In the top right corner of your home page and your profile page, there is a grey search box that says, “Search Twitter.” That is how you can search the website for pages, phrases within the Tweets sent out by people, and articles that have features for whatever you are seeking. Since this section of the guide is meant for finding pages to follow, the example in the search box being used will be Bill Gates. Typing this into the search box pops up results even before you press the enter button.
The search results show not only autocompleted searches that have been used frequently but also a list of profiles relevant to what you have typed in. Clicking “Bill Gates” with the blue checkmark next to the name—which means that this particular account has been verified to be the real person, company, or entity—will take you to this profile’s page.
2.1 Information on owner’s profile page
This page is how the average Twitter page will appear. It gives you information on the location of the owner of the profile, a brief bio, the number of followers of the account, the number of accounts the account follows, and what Tweets or Retweets they have made. Most importantly is the presence of the blue and white “Follow” button to the right of the profiles image. By clicking this button, you will now see Tweets and Retweets; this profile makes on your “Home” feed—referred to as your “timeline.”
Recommended pages that are similar also appear on the right, and you can even click their follow buttons without having to go to their profile page if they are relevant to what you want to follow.
- Making a Tweet
While on any page, your timeline, your profile, or any other tab on the left side of the screen, you will see a blue “Tweet” button. This button is how you can make a post from your profile that will appear on your timeline and the timeline of those you are following. Clicking this button brings up the screen that allows you to create a Tweet. There are a few things you can do while on this screen to help make your Tweet precisely what you want it to be.
The “What’s happening?” text box is where you can enter the exact text you can Tweet out. You can post links to other websites, other pages on Twitter, and even tag a profile in your post. Tagging someone, known as “Tweeting at” them, requires you to press the “@” before typing in the name of the account without any spaces as Twitter usernames do not allow the use of spaces.
Here, a search bar shows up when you enter the name close to the account you may be looking for, making it easier to make sure you tag the right profile. By clicking the name of the profile you want to Tweet at, it adds their profile to the message and can allow them to see your Tweet has mentioned them.
3.2 Entering tweets
Twitter also features the ability to link four basic kinds of content to your Tweet. In order from left to right, looking at the icons at the bottom of the text box, you will see Image/video, .gif file, Twitter Poll, and emoji. These are purely optional and are not required to make a Tweet.
Once you have entered the desired text for the Tweet, click the blue “Tweet” button to confirm and send your Tweet. Then the Tweet will appear on your timeline, the timeline of your Twitter followers’ accounts, and the account of the person at which you have directed the Tweet.
- Direct Messaging
4.1 private messaging
Twitter has a direct messaging feature, referred to as “DM`ing,” that allows you to message a profile privately without Tweeting at them on their timeline. This feature is also an excellent way to send longer messages to an account because there is a cap on characters when making Tweets, whereas the messaging system has a much larger one. To begin DM`ing, someone, click the “Messages” button on the left side of the screen.
4.2 Message history
You will be redirected to your message history page. It will currently be empty, but in the future, it will store all direct messages sent between you and a recipient.
4.3 Starting a conversation
To begin creating a new direct message, click the blue “Start a conversation” button.
A pop-up will open where you can search for the particular profile you want to message. Some profiles cannot be directly messaged because they do not use Twitter to message users, so our previous example, Bill Gates cannot be used to send a message. Instead, we will use the Microsoft Support Twitter page to draft the message. Once you find the profile from the drop-down tab, click the profile name to add it to the list of people you want in the conversation. Click the blue “Next” button once you have done this.
4.4 Sending your messages
The pop-up box will leave, and the conversation page you have with the user will be pulled up. Here you can type the exact message you want to the user and even include images/videos, gifs, and emojis in the message. Once you have entered your desired message, click the blue right-facing triangle next to the smiley face emoji icon to send your message
These essential Twitter functions are the pillars of the platform itself, and the most commonly used features. This guide has taught you how to create a Twitter account, find and follow user’s pages, make your Tweet, and direct message users.