Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting Started on Twitter: Part 2

There is an incredible interest in Twitter, and simultaneously a notable uninterested sigh regarding what the fuss is all about. To give you a chance to participate, I am delivering a series of easy-to-follow instructions to get started in Twitter. Part 1 came last week, and will establish you as an official Tweeter.

On to Part 2...

Step #3: Complete your Twitter profile

After you are logged in to your newly-minted Twitter account, head over to this page:

This is your Twitter profile page, a place to provide some of your basic information and a few photos. This will look and feel much like your Facebook profile, although Twitter's profile information is more basic than Facebook.

  • The Photo is a place for your mugshot, or a recognizable logo. This is equivalent to your photo in Facebook.
  • The Header is much like your cover photo in Facebook. You can put a splash of personality here.
  • Your Name and your Location make you easier to spot for your friends and easier to learn about for new Followers. Fill these in, and be honest.
  • Your Bio may be the most critical piece here. Take a moment to put something interesting here. This helps other Tweeters determine if they want to follow you. Brevity is key; you only get 160 characters to work with.
  • You have a big decision to make on the Facebook section. If you choose, you can configure your Facebook and Twitter to link. Every time you Tweet, Facebook will automatically publish your Tweet on Facebook. I don't recommend this, as it tends to generate a lot of extra "noise" on your Facebook account. Yet if you desire to link they two, click Connect to Facebook to configure. Otherwise just leave this alone.
Why bother completing this Profile section at all? For visibility and recognizability.
  • You will acquire about 10 times the followers if you have a photo over not using a photo. No photo makes you look very fake, and most Twitter users are reluctant to Follow a take account.
  • You will acquire about 8 times the followers if you have a completed bio over an empty bio. The same rules apply: A completed bio shows you are real, and helps your friends know its you.

Fill out that Profile. You will be happy you did.

Step #4: Find people to Follow and Start Reading
Here is where Twitter starts becoming fun. Find people to follow.

Twitter may suggest some folks for you to follow. If you know someone's Twitter handle (remember from before, a Twitter handle is the name someone goes by in Twitter), just type it in the search box near the top-right corner. Or, if you have a good guess of a brand you want to follow, type that.

When you pick a name or brand from the drop-down, you will land on their profile page. (You can see why this profile page was so important to complete.) Find the button marked Follow and click it. Once you are following someone, the Follow button changes to show you that you are following that Twitter user.

There is virtually no limit on who you can follow, at least not right away. To read Tweets from those you are following, you can visit their profile. You can also visit your own "home" page in Twitter, where you will get a NewsFeed of sorts to read that is a compilation of those you follow. Just click Home in the upper-left corner to get back home.

Your Home NewsFeed will start to fill with Tweets from those you follow. It's rather fun. And then watch for Twitter users to follow. Your favorite store, your television news anchor, your sports team and your techie friend down the street all have Tweets for you to read.

If you really run stuck on who to follow, come follow me at @gomattlind. 

That should do for now. I know you want to start Tweeting, to start sending messages out. I have found that reading and following others helps you get started and prepares you better for writing your own Tweets. Just practice reading and following for now, and the Tweeting will come along shortly.