Twitter? Yeah, it’s here to stay. For a while there Facebook was the ultimate dominator and Twitter a mere blip on the radar. But things have changed. Twitter is a social media platform that allows people share breaking news and communicate with one another in real time and without all the baggage of Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook has its place and isn’t going to be going away any time soon. It’s a major, if not the major player on the social media stage, but Twitter has its place, too. Social change through social media is happening. Get a better understanding on how social media players like Facebook and Twitter are changing the scope of how the world works through “status updates” and “Tweets”.
If you’re new to all of this, yeah, you’re a little behind but I don’t blame you. Stop wondering what the heck Twitter is and get to it. I joined Twitter two months ago and had virtually no idea what was going on – how to Tweet, how to retweet, or what those things even meant. Here, we’ll get you tweeting in just a few minutes so you can stay on the up-and-up with all the talking heads, celebrities and your Tweeting friends. Let’s go.
Arguably, the most important part about tweeting is owning a Twitter account. You’ll need to have a current email address but other than that, as long as you have name – I hope you have a name – as long as you have that, you’ll be good to go.
Go to Twitter.com
On the landing page you should see the option to sign in, or create an account. Obviously, if you don’t have an account, enter the required information into the fields to create one. Again, you’ll need your full name, an email and a password.
Click “sign up for Twitter”
A confirmation email will be sent to your email address and you’ll need to click the link in it to confirm that you are in fact human and are responsible for creating this account.
Complicated stuff, I know. Now that you’re “live”, it’s time for your very first Tweet.
How to Tweet
This is super easy. Just remember that Tweeting is different than updating your status on Facebook. You only have 140 characters to share your news with the world. That is to say, 140 letters, including spaces – so choose wisely.
First, you need to login. Second, go to the spot on the left side that says “Compose new Tweet”.
There, you will write your new Tweet. Type in whatever it is you want to say, add a link, a retweet, @, or add a picture. When you are done click “Tweet”. You can add a picture by clicking on the camera icon below the text field, and you can add a place by clicking on the upside down tear drop icon.
And there it is, your very first Tweet. See how easy that was? If you’re not on your page and want to compose a new Tweet, click on the blue button like this in the top right corner of your screen. This will allow you to type up your Tweet and submit it.
How to Retweet…and other things
RT @Milknanny: Dogs have owners, cats have staff!
Well, Milknanny doesn’t exist but that @ symbol indicates that you are trying to reach someone, Milknanny, or Bob123, or whatever handle your friend might have adopted. What’s a handle? You know that name you picked out when you signed up? Not your email, not your full name, but other one? If you want to direct someone to your Twitter page, or someone is trying to involve you in their Tweet, they will use @yourhandle. Cool?
So now what’s the RT stand for? That means “retweet”. Retweeting is basically the Twitter way of Facebook sharing something. If you’re combing through your twitter feed and see a Tweet that stands out to you, you can choose to “retweet” it as to share it with your Twitter followers. To do this you more than likely want to give credit to whoever wrote it in the first place. This is integral part of how Twitter functions. So, you want to use RT to indicate your retweeting something, and then use the @ symbol with the handle of the person your retweeting. Hence, RT @Milknanny.
Since retweeting happens throughout the entire Twitter community, you can spend time tracking the most retweeted article, news and comments across the board. To do this you can follow three of the top Tweet trending handles:
Retweetist will be great for you if you’re curious about the top retweeted articles on Twitter. Retweetist also tracks the most retweeted accounts.
Retweetradar is used to track the most currently retweeted and trending content in the entire Twitter community.
Twittermeme is the absolute go-to when it comes to tracking the most retweeted stories on Twitter. The more retweets a Tweet gets, the more likely it will appear on the front page of Tweetmeme. It’s really well organized too, you can search retweets by category.
If you are primarily a mobile user, you can use mobile specific retweet tools.
Retweet Iphone app only costs $.99 and it allows you to follow the currently trending retweets on Twitter.
Tweetmeme Mobile is just like the desktop Tweetmeme, but it’s for when you’re on the go.
Tweetie Tweetie Reviews is yet another option for following all the most popular retweets and stories via your mobile phone.
As neat as Twitter tweeting and retweeting is, this social platform runs deeper than that and you can find out how in authenticity on Twitter.
I spent way more time than I ever should have creating a really serious (not-so-serious) background tribute to our eighth president Martin Van Buren, as you can appreciate below. If you want to play around with your wallpaper it’s really easy to do. Step-by-step I’ll show you how.
Login to your Twitter account. You should be at your profile page which will look less colorful than above. It probably is Twitter colored blue with clouds or something equally as cushy.
Go to the top of your screen next to the blue Twitter compose button where you see a gear icon. Click it and you’ll see your name with “edit profile” underneath of it. Click your name.
You’ll be brought to a screen where you can change your profile picture, your “header” picture, which is the smaller picture that is behind your name, handle and other information on your profile (like above).
If you want to change your background picture, you’ll need to go to a different section of settings. You can do that by looking on the left of the screen and then click on “Design”. Here, you can pick a pre-made Twitter theme, or you can upload your own. You can also change the link color, background color and overlay.
Have fun customizing your Twitter page to represent you! Want to create your own Twitter profile background image? Learn how in this Twitter background design course. And of course, have fun Tweeting and following your friends, favorite celebrities and news from around the world.