What Is Twitter – How To Use Twitter

Twitter – What Is It & How To Get Started – Part 1

This was first published on Your Blogs on Sky.com

Twitter is rapidly becoming one of the buzz words of 2009, with more and more mentions in newspapers, news websites and on TV and Radio, I thought it timely to actually go back a step and try to explain what it is and why millions of people use the service each day.

Many celebrities are using twitter to document their movements, some mundane, some interesting behind the scenes glimpses of the World of celebrity. Using add-on sites such as Twitpic, celebrities are giving a backstage pass to sights not normally available to the general public. Jonathan Ross has used it to ask questions such as what bizarre word to add to his BAFTA speech, Will Carling has given live commentary on some of the 6 Nations games. Stephen Fry, perhaps the first UK Twitter celebrity, actually “tweeted” whilst stuck in a lift, even taking this photo and sending it to Twitpic:-

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Lily Allen, Chris Moyles and even Philip Schofield are avid twitterers. We’ll be producing a list of who to follow in later articles, you need to get started first!

Many companies are using Twitter to track online conversations about their brand, and even Red Coat favourites Butlins have an account. Why do companies join? Most companies join to track conversations happening that are mentioning their name or brands, offering instant human support is not only good for customer relations but can actually drive sales. Dell recently told that they had made $1m extra revenue in the past year and half by offering their impressive 228,000 followers on twitter special discounts. There are many journalists and PR companies on Twitter and thousands of large and small businesses signing up daily.

But more importantly than the celeb’s and companies are the public. The millions and millions of users that are making these famous people and big brands such as Starbucks join.

Most people join Twitter because someone said they should. Joining Twitter is easy. Using it and understanding it as an individual, whether it be because you are interested in celeb spotting or simply want to keep in touch with friends, family and work mates is not actually so simple. This week, I have seen some friends join Twitter add me as a friend and that is it. Like every form of social media, the stage after joining is the key to progression.

So, this week I am going to show you how to join and advise a few celebrities and a handful of interesting people to follow, next week, it will be all about conversation, adding people, do’s and don’ts and the many memes and sometimes strange behaviours you are going to witness, plus some of the tools you’ll need to survive once you have hundreds of followers. Remember, not everyone is real – some companies and celeb’s are fake. We’ll cover that too.

Stage 1 – Joining Twitter (You must be over 13 years old)

Ok so you are still reading, firstly, click to go to the Twitter homepage. You’ll see this very simple page.

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Now, click on the green “Get Started – Join” button (or click here). This will bring up the following screen:-

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Complete the information as required,(do enter your real name if you are serious about this) then click on Create my account. You will be instantly accepted and directed to the next screen.

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At the bottom, you can see the words Skip this step, click that ( we can find out who you know later). You’ll be sent to the next and controversial page, this is Twitters recommended followers, as we are going to follow people who we want to follow, click in the box select all to remove the pre-selected friends.

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Assuming you have no friends selected, click Finish in the green box. Now we are good to set up that profile. You are going to be directed to the following screen, click on the word settings in the top white bar set on the blue background.

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When you reach the settings page, fill in your details plus make your one line bio really explain who you are – this will be important later.

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Now click on the word Notices on the bar just above your name (note this is a test account, you can follow my real one later). Notices is an important page as it dictates how many emails and just what you are going to see.

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So leave Auto Nudge un-ticked. You don’t need that. And basically copy the set up I have here. Make sure you have all @replies as highlighted above. @replies refers to people talking to you and is the fundamental part of twitter, conversation. I will explain @replies next week. Next click on Picture, next to Notices

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Click the Browse button, add your avatar (picture that will represent you). If you want to change the design of the page, click Design – many people use this to market themselves; again, we’ll cover this in the future. But for now, I am done. Click on Home and let’s make that first tweet!

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A “Tweet” is a 140 character message, statement, question or answer. You can add links to interesting things and when you want to talk to someone you know add @ followed by their username ie @kevindixie How are you today? I read your Sky blog, thanks for the help! This will appear in my homepage. Again, more on this next time. Try it by adding the real me @kevindixie and sending me the message I will reply back and follow you.

If you want to follow some UK celebrities, simply make sure you are logged on and click on the following names to get you started:-

@stephenfry

@wossy

@schofe

@chrisdjmoyles

@lilyroseallen

@willcarling

@andy_murray

Add a few non-celeb’s like me @kevindixie :-

@thedailydust – Cheer yourself up, a UK good news only newspaper

@mazi – Social Media guy at Sky

@mikebutcher –a leading technology writer in the UK

@sylvied – gives away free products to bloggers for review.

So that’s all this week, follow my steps and next week, i’ll answer any questions and we’ll move on to conversations, tools and twitter etiquette tips.

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