I couldn’t find an idiot’s guide to Twitter anywhere, so I wrote this bare bones introduction. If I get a chance I’ll come back and embellish this a little with some specific tips and tools for usage (eg. using Tweetdeck and Cotweet rather than the actual Twitter site).

  1. Go to https://twitter.com/signup and setup a personal Twitter account using your own name or a nickname of your choice.
  2. Then upload a photo of your face (preferably smiling!) once the above is all complete.
  3. When everything’s setup and you have an account, go to: http://twitter.com/devices enter the details of your mobile phone, and go through the verification process.
  4. Now test that texts flow through to the site by texting a message to 86444, then checking it appears on your profile by clicking the profile link at the top of the twitter.com page while logged in.
  5. If all that works, then you’re all set!

Some other jargon:

  • Hashtag: this means any word or sequence of characters with no spaces that begins with a #. eg. #ukelection #GE2010 – you have to decide which has the audience you want to talk to, or which is simply the most popular.
  • Tweet: your 140 character messages are called tweets.
  • Tweep: informal term for Twitter users.
  • Followers: in the real world you have friends, in Twitter you have followers. Anyone who follows you has basically subscribed to whatever you say.
  • Twittiquette: most things to do with Twitter end up with a portmanteau such as this. It’s basically guidelines for polite usage, which seems to evolve fairly rapidly. Good principles are to be open, honest, succinct, reciprocating non-spam follows, etc.