So you’ve signed up for Twitter…Congrats! Right about now you might be wondering “How do I get started?” I’ve been using Twitter for about 3 years now (and still learning), but if I was getting started today I would go to Twitter’s Help Center, they have a very useful page titled Getting Started with Twitter that I have found very useful when teaching people about Twitter who are entirely new to the social network.
If you get confused with Twitter, don’t give up and never come back. Just like anything worth doing, Twitter takes a lot of work, has some what of a steep learning curve, and can be a pretty scary place on day one for a new user. In his article, “10 Must-Learn Lessons For Twitter Newbies,” Shea Bennett described, “There’s all those confusing characters and symbols, strange, shortened links, pressure to follow people you don’t know and so many daunting acronyms and buzz words. And what in blue blazes is a hashtag!?”
- Twitter isn’t Facebook. It’s an open public network. Your tweets are findable in Twitter search and also mined by Google and other search engines.
- Twitter has some really strange jargon. Twitter is aware of this, that’s why it created an official glossary.
- The maximum length of your username is 15 characters. You can change it anytime you’d like to whatever is available. The shorter your username, the better.
- It’s okay to lurk. It’s all about consuming the content of the people you follow. So, go ahead and lurk all you want.
- The maximum number of characters in a tweet is 140. But it doesn’t mean you have to use all 140 characters, be as concise as possible when tweeting.
- Any link you share on Twitter will automatically be shortened. Twitter shortens every link or you can use bit.ly if you want to track me the metrics further.
- You can only send a direct message to somebody if they are following you. And vice versa. Direct messages are not public.
- You don’t have to follow people back. You’re under no obligation to follow anyone. What makes Twitter valuable is that you follow people or brands who you find interesting.
- If you start a tweet with @username, it’s a reply. And will only be seen by the person you replied to and people who are following both of you. Put a “.” in front of the “@” symbol and then it’s public.
- If you tag a username anywhere but at the start of the tweet, everybody following you will see that message. This is called a mention. It’s important to quickly learn the difference between this and a reply.