Getting Started with Twitter

This is my first post in a series of posts on Twitter.  Here are some upcoming posts you will see in the next few weeks:

  • Understanding the Language
  • Who to Follow
  • What to Tweet
  • Tweeting as a Person or an Organization
  • Hashtags and How to Use Them

Well, let's get to it.  Before getting started with Twitter, let's discuss what Twitter is.  Here is how they describe themselves:

An information network

Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting. Simply find the accounts you find most compelling and follow the conversations.

At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters long, but don’t let the small size fool you—you can discover a lot in a little space. You can see photos, videos and conversations directly in Tweets to get the whole story at a glance, and all in one place

So here are the first three steps you should take in getting started with Twitter:

1) Go to and setup and account

  • When setting up an account one of the most important things to choose is your username.  Generally using your name or something easy to remember is important.  My username is "nilssmith" so when people communicate me the username they use is @nilssmith or my Twitter page can be seen at

2) Add a picture and fill out your bio

  • When choosing a picture, a headshot is preferred as the image is very small and it gives them a picture of the face of who is communicating the message in your tweets
  • When filling out your bio think it one word descriptions or short phrases rather than a one sentence description.  Here is Todd Rhodes profile giving you a great description of who he is without even using the character limit:
Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 11.18.12 AM
Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 11.18.12 AM

3) Start following people

  • I would start with about 25-30 people that you can follow and just begin to listen to the messages they are communicating/sharing.  I would look for about 10-15 friends and about 10-15 celebrities/well known personalities.  

The biggest key like any other social network is to just start.  You don't need to know anything and the best way to learn is on the go.  You don't need to know everything before getting started.  Let's continue to learn together!