Twitter for a beginner can seem a bit like everyone is speaking in Code. But don’t worry it’s not one that is hard to learn. I recommend signing up and getting in there to see what’s going on, it’s entertaining, fun, informative and useful once you know how to get around.
What is Twitter? It is a microblogging site. You only have 140 characters to say what you want to say. It doesn’t sound like a lot but you will be amazed at what you can do with so little space.
First of all sign up, get yourself an account. Twitter makes this pretty painless with minimal form filling. Put your name (real, fake whatever you like). Choose a username any old one will do, this is how people will address you in tweets, as in @yourusername . Don’t worry too much about what you put down these both can be changed anytime. Decide if you want to start off with an account open to the public or just those you approve, and there you are now well on your way.
The first thing everyone wants to know is what is the hashtag (#) all about?! It is a way people categorize their tweets. For example, say you are at an event called Twitter Fun Day. You might tweet: Meeting lots of new people at #Twitterfunday. Now everyone at the event can use the search feature to see what other people at the event are saying by searching #twitterfunday (more on searches below). Say you are a big fan of golf, last weekend you could comment on the masters with #themasters in your tweet or at the end of it.
Now you know what hashtags are we can look at the Twitter page layout. At the top of the page you have a search box. Searches are great ways to find out information about something, someone, somewhere, or an event. For example, did someone say there was another earthquake in Japan?! Go to the top of the Twitter page where the search box is and type #japan or #earthquake and see what is happing. You can then click on the button that says save this search and it will be saved for later use under your search tab.
Next you have a box that says “what’s happening” this is where you type your tweet. You can share whatever you like, and if you want to paste a link in your tweet to another site, twitter will shorten it to make sure it doesn’t use up all your 140 charters!
Under that you have some tabs, the first being the timeline tab, this shows what those that you are following are saying. Not sure who to follow, try the link at the top of the page “who to follow” for suggestions. Or if you know someone you want to follow search for them by name or @username in the search box.
@Mentions, this is when someone sends a shout out to you, as in @yourusername is somewhere in their tweet. They are talking to you, or about you.
Retweets, these are tweets repeated by you or your tweets that someone else has retweeted, it’s how word spreads on twitter.
Searches is the next tab and it is the list of the searches you saved as mentioned above.
The list tab is where lists you create to organize people or subjects you are interested in. This becomes very handy once your start following more people.
I highly recommend reading the beginner’s guide in the helps section after you take a peak around twitter and see what is there. http://support.twitter.com/
Most importantly get in look around and have fun, you will see there is more than meets the eye with Twitter.