Twitter 101: Twitter Basics – The 5 W’s

Class Objective: Twitter Terminology

  • Twitter Basics – Who, What, Where, When, Why
  • Account Considerations – selecting the name, bio, and logo that will make your BEST statement.
  • Creating an Account
  • Settings – what everything means, preparing your account for the public!

Although it’s easy to setup an account, the site is not completely intuitive. Instead of fending on your own in frustration and time-consuming troubles, I have created a series of posts on Twitter. Most people have heard at least heard about this micro-blogging site but don’t know much more than that. Take my Intro to Twitter and you’ll be tweeting with the best of them (or at least following them!)


Who: Anyone including but not limited to businesses, restaurants, stay at home mom’s, deal finders, finance experts, politicians, retailers, bloggers, know-it-alls, celebrities, chefs, the family cat…anyone with 140 characters on their mind…there is even a dust bunny.

What: Twitter is a social-networking site where users post concise status updates (140 letters, numbers, and other characters or less per message.)

Where: Tweets are submitted online, through SMS text messages, and many other online and desktop applications created for Twitters.  Right now tweets come from all over the world!

When: Frequency ranges from monthly/yearly users to weekly/daily/hourly or even every couple of minutes. Tweet when you want to spread the news, vent, alert people of bad highway traffic, congratulate someone else…limitless.

Why: Why not? Find concise information in one spot based on information interesting to you. You only read tweets from people you are interested in. No two Twitterers are the same.  Some people treat it like a forum or chat room, some only tweet with themselves and make to-do lists that friends can view and remind them.  Businesses have used Twitter to communicate changes, triage poor customer service experiences, alert consumers of great deals! Politicians make announcements, movie stars tweet about their set and location while filming, support groups are easily formed.

I did not jump on the Twitter bandwagon immediately. It took me some time before I started using Twitter…and even longer for it to catch on. However, everything I’ve included in this post were roadblocks I ran into and resolved. Your experience will be a much happier one.

This series of posts will not only include the basics (how-tos), it will also include information to take into consideration when creating an account and planning your social media campaign, automating as much as desired (best Twitter tools I’ve found…), finding people to follow (and getting people to follow you.) I will even look at it from a slightly geeky perspective, introducing you to the Twitter API (if you’d like to write your own Twitter app…) and also explaining the different standard Twitter URLs…making your experience as pleasant as possible.

Before you get started:

You hear how Twitterpated everyone around you is and you’re ready to jump onboard.  Here’s how and some things to take into consideration when creating an account:

1. Twitter username:

  • Does not have to be your full [company] name – actually better if it’s not.  You only get 140 characters so the longer the name, the less content you’ll get when people share your content with others.
  • That said, name should not be obscure, should easily tie back to your originating identity.

2. Availability:

  • What’s in a name?  EVERYTHING!  Found this on Digg – it includes 3 great sites to check for name availability, checking across 100s of social networking sites, read here.  After deciding on your name, you make sure your name is available across not just Twitter but also YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc…Consistency is KEY!  Followers should easily find you on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and anywhere else.

3. Logo:

  • For branding purposes (and to be incredibly efficient), already have square version of your logo prepared.  When users click on your logo, they’ll view a larger version.
  • Image should be clear, simpler is sometimes better.  Not everyone will be on a computer when their reading your Tweets – will your logo look as good on a tiny cell phone screen?

4. Bio:

  • You guessed it!  140 characters or less here too!  Describe yourself as succinctly as possible. Displayed on your public profile, this is the only glance people get – you don’t just talk to strangers, engage and connect them immediately to your brand.
  • If you’re a business or blogger wanting to push people to your website, suggest that they check it out and give them good reasons why!

Getting Started:

Now that you have everything together you’re ready to begin!  (Trust me, it’ll make the account setup quick and easy…a little extra time spent now saved you having to change names, create new accounts, search for pictures, get additional approval later.)

1. Create an Account:

2. Filling the Form:

  • Registration process – incredibly simple
  • Full name – this will sometimes display instead of your username (email alerts sent to followers displays your name with your username in parenthesis.) Do you want people to know your real name? (I keep my full name and username exactly the same.)
  • Keep in mind, users can search by Real Name – is knowing your name important? You might want to include your real name for classmates. If you’re a business, are consumers going to find the name of your company or company appointed tweeter?
  • Same thing with location. Although “Beautiful Aloha” is refreshing and fun, when people are searching by specific places, they might miss your profile based on semantics.

You have now created your new Twitter account!  Please stop now and take a mental break or continue on to “Setting Settings”.

Setting Settings:

Don’t jump the Twitter gun, take the time to personalize your account!  You only get once chance to make a first-impression, if you’re looking to collect followers, take the time to setup a worthwhile page instead of them hitting one under construction with a faceless, colorless profile!

Click on Settings on the top right corner to mess with the following:

1. Account:

  • Modify display name, username, see URL.
  • URL will always be
  • Time zone – some apps and search engines pull information based on timezone, also allows people to include you in searches for that time zone.
  • More info URL – Do you have a website?  Include it here…
  • One Line Bio – this will be the About Me in 160 characters or less…
  • Location – there are several Twitter apps that display users based on locations (“Click here to see all Twitter users in THIS place.”)  Other GPS apps dynamically update status with location, or show what people are Twittering about in THIS area.
  • Protect My Tweets – check this box if you’re using Twitter to network and Tweet between friends, or even just yourself.  You don’t want the rest of the world reading your 140 chars and that’s fine.

2. Password:

  • Change password – do yourself a favor and use a strong password.  While writing this post, Google returned over 41 million results for “twitter account hacked“.
    Many celebrities and businesses have fallen prey to hackers who get into your account and spam your followers.  Immediate turn-off when a big name spams its Twitter followers.  Take the time to make a STRONG password.

3. Devices:

  • Twitter from your iPhone or other mobile device.
  • This tab asks for your mobile number, including country code.  Then sent txts to Twitter that will automatically post!

4. Notices:

  • Spam much? Check these boxes if you want to get an e-mail every time someone new starts following you or sends you a direct message.  (See Twitter Terminology in next post.)
  • Consider this – some people want to know when someone new follows their website…they can immediately send out a personalized note, welcoming them! Others get 2,000 new followers a day and getting an email each time is unrealistic.

5. Pictures:

  • Logo – you’ll already have this ready from your initial planning period, immediately upload the image.

6. Design:

  • Select a Theme – 12 standard themes for the unimaginative (or content-based Twitterers.) People know what comes in the box, if show your readers you took the time and made effort.
  • Change background image – a little more creativity?  Upload your own image (either use full-sized or tile.)  My background is actually the same square image, tiled, over and over again to make a pattern. I made mine on this AWESOME website – used the same on my website and Twitter page giving a nice, consistent look.
  • Change design colors – pick the html colors (maybe specific colors that correspond to your website?)  Use this site to pick out complementary colors, find one color you like and it’ll suggest the exact matching/complementary colors to use.
  • IMPORTANT – Play around with the colors and images on different browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome – when downloading new browsers don’t forget to UNCHECK “make this browser my default” unless you don’t want links to automatically open in new browser) and different mobile devices (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.)  Will it look the same on Windows as it will on a Mac?  Quality is a determining factor for many.

7. Connections:

  • Connections – which Twitter apps are you using?  These apps pull information from your account…use this tab to verify you have allowed them to.  We’ll go into much better detail on my post on Twitter Tools and Applications.
  • Twitter Download – The download page shows possible apps you might consider using, based on your Twittering needs.  I’ll go into detail on future posts, but if you’re tech savvy, be my guest and let me know!

Now is a good stopping point, let everything sink in.  Next post will discuss what everything else on the site means…as well as commonly user Twitter talk.

Future posts will also include information about scheduling posts, analyzing your Twitter metrics, and finding the best tools for your Twitter purpose in life.

Now that you have an account – don’t forget to start following me @geekettebits! I post a lot coupon and promotional deals that can also be found on my blog, without a Twitter account here.

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{ Great Bits | Tasty Bytes } ...geeky girl seeks amazing culinary adventures, great deals, unknown facts, & more to blog about! Become a fan on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @geekettebits to get the latest and greatest! <3

6 thoughts on “Twitter 101: Twitter Basics – The 5 W’s”

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