Happy Halloween everyone! Since Halloween is my second favorite holiday (after Christmas), I had to take a time out to say "enjoy!" and share a photo of my little "spooks."
But back to the task at hand – let’s get started with Twitter. To create your profile, we’re going to start by going to Twitter.com.
As you can see, Twitter says that using their service, will give you "instant updates from your friends, industry experts, favorite celebrities, and what’s happening around the world."
At the bottom of the page, you can select from seventeen languages for Twitter. We’ll go through this with English as the default, since that’s what I speak, but feel free to change to the language you’re most comfortable in.
To get started with creating our profile, we’ll enter our full name, email and the password we choose in the box in the center right. One thing to note here – once you’ve used your email address to register a Twitter name, you can’t use it again. Each Twitter name is linked to a unique email address. So if you want to have more than one Twitter name, you’ll have to have multiple email addresses.
Once you’ve entered this information, click the yellow "sign up" button to get started!
The next screen lets you choose your username and checks the information that we have just entered.
As you can see, my name is fine, my email address will get a confirmation, and my password could be more secure. Twitter has also assigned me a username, but I can change this here if I want to.
Let’s talk about names for a minute. Some people will argue that it’s a good idea to have a keyword or subject as your Twitter name, but I disagree – I think it should always be your real name. As we’ve talked about before, people want to connect and work with people they know, like and trust – and how can they really know you if you aren’t transparent with your name?
There can be some difficulties here, because Twitter only allows you 15 characters – my full name has more than 15 characters. My main Twitter name is @LindsayGriffith, so people will often think that my last name is Griffith. There are a few ways around this, and you can decide what works best for you if your name is more than 15 characters.
For the purposes of the tutorial, I’ll change it to LinsGriffiths (LGriffiths is already taken). As I type the new name into the box, Twitter checks the availability and tells me whether the username I want is already taken or if it’s available. LinsGriffiths is available
Next, I can choose whether I want to stay logged into Twitter – if it’s a public computer, make sure you un-check this so that nobody else can use your account. This is also good if you’re concerned about security generally. Otherwise, you can leave it checked.
You’ll see that Twitter also says that when you click the button to create your account, you’re going to be agreeing to their terms of service. You can click on these terms using the link to the right.
Twitter further notes that others will be able to find you by name, username or email, though your email will not be shown publicly. You can change your privacy settings at any time, which we will do in a future post. (But just so you know, as soon as we create our Twitter account, our profile is searchable).
For now, let’s click "Create my account" so that we have a Twitter account!
Twitter has come a long way since I joined, and they now walk you through getting started. The first screen you’ll see is this:
Twitter tells us that we’ll be started in less than 60 seconds! The "Twitter Teacher" shows us that a tweet is a short message of up to 140 characters that can contain links.
To continue, we’ll click the "next" button. Twitter then gives us a list of suggestions for other Twitter accounts we could follow. They suggest you follow five of these accounts, but don’t feel as if you must. If you’d like your profile to be a bit more complete first (which I recommend), you can click "Skip this step." I’ll give you my own legal follow recommendations in the next post!
The next screen allows you to add your favorites – this is where you can find people and brands to follow by subject area that might be of interest to you. Again, we’ll talk more about how to follow people in the next post, so for now, we’ll just "skip this step."
The next screen invites you to add your contacts, similarly to the way we did it in the LinkedIn series. As before though, we’ll skip this step and do this at a later stage.
Before we can continue, we need to confirm the email address that we registered with – to do this, you’ll check that email address and follow the instructions included in it. Once you’ve done that, your page will look like this:
As you can see on the right hand side, Twitter gives you some steps for getting started. You can see from here where their priorities lie, but I’d make "Set up your profile" #1 instead. The reason for this is that you want people to follow you back and see what you’re saying – and most people won’t do that if your profile is blank, you have no photo and you haven’t tweeted!
So let’s start by uploading a profile photo. There are a couple of ways you can do this – you can click the link under "Set up your profile:"
You can also click "Profile" in the menu along the top:
This will take you to your profile page, and at the top, it will say "Edit Your Profile."
From there, you would get this page:
As you can see, if you haven’t uploaded a picture, you have an egg image. You don’t want this. So let’s upload a picture!
Click choose file, keeping in mind their requirements for size and file type. You’ll browse to your photo and select it. The file will upload after you click "Save." (As a side note, this is how you would change your photo in the future if you wanted to).
Your name is already filled in, so unless you want to update this, you can leave it as it is. If you would like your Twitter followers to know where you are, you can fill in the location field – you can also leave this vague or blank if you would prefer.
If you have a firm website or (preferably) a blog, fill in that web address here. And then finally, you can write your bio information – this must be short. You only have 160 characters here (just a little bit longer than a tweet), so make it count. It’s a good idea to include some of your non-professional hobbies too, which will broaden your Twitter experience. For example, mine says:
It includes some information about my job, but also that I’m a photographer, that I care about supporting the military, and that I love hockey and basset hounds – that gives people a lot of reasons to connect to me!
The final piece of this is connecting your tweets to Facebook – since we haven’t fully developed our Facebook profiles yet, we’ll skip this for now, but I’ll add this note – I recommend against linking Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is designed more for conversation, for you to post a number of messages. Your followers will expect that – to a degree – but on Facebook, it may quickly irritate your friends who may "unfriend" you or hide your updates. The platforms are, and should be, kept separately in my book!
So now, we’ll click save!
You’ll get a message at the top that your settings have been saved, and to see your profile, click "Profile" again in the top menu bar:
In tomorrow’s post, we’ll talk about following people, but before we do that, I want to leave you with writing your first tweet. There are some recommendations for tweeting, but we’ll worry about those in a future post as well – for now, think of this as your Twitter introduction. You may want to say something like "I’m new to Twitter, and I’m really looking forward to connecting with you." Or you can share what you hope to get out of Twitter, etc. We’ll continue to play around with this in the coming days, but for now, it’s helpful to have one tweet under your belt so that anyone who finds your profile will consider following you!
To post your tweet, you’re going to click "Home" in the top menu bar:
Right now, your home page isn’t very interesting because you aren’t following anyone yet. But you can tweet from here!
In the box at the top, under "What’s happening?" you can post your 140-character tweets.
When you click on the box, you’ll be able to type into it – as you type the number of characters you have left will appear next to the "Tweet" button. You’ll also see two icons at the bottom left – the first is a camera, and this allows you to include a photo with your tweet. The second icon is the location icon, which lets you add your location to your tweets if you wish. We’ll get into the how’s and why’s of those later, but for now, you can type your tweet into the box and click "Tweet."
You’ve just Tweeted for the first time!
In the next post, we’ll start following some different people. In the meantime, Happy Halloween!