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How to use Twitter

Using Twitter

It's easy to learn how to use Twitter. Once you get started sending tweets, you will automatically start meeting people on twitter. Start by setting up your Twitter account (Twitter mobile support is also available), and gain Twitter followers by interacting and following other Twitter users. That's really all there is to it!

What do I need?

To get started with Twitter, all you need is a web browser, an Internet connection, or a mobile phone. It is easy to sign up for a Twitter account at twitter.com.

What is the point?

In order to get value out of twitter, you have to follow people -or they have to follow you. Primarily people use it to either stay up to date with what other people are talking about, or to promote and share Web links. Use the email address book import tool to add friends from your Yahoo and Google mail. You can also do searches for people by name.
Who cares what I ate for lunch? Should I tweet about something else?
Yes, talk about whatever you like. The twitter question “what are you doing now” is not the only (or even the most effective) way of using the service. Instead, you might answer: “What’s important to me right now?”, or even better: “What’s important to my followers.” It is important to engage in a conversation. Use twitter to ask and answer questions, and help people out.

Choosing a Username

The first account you register should always be in your own name if it is still available. Common names like JohnSmith (there are no spaces in usernames) will have already be taken. However, it is possible to get variations on your own name such as John_Smith, or John_Smith23. You can only use an underscore in a username. Hyphens are not permitted in the field.
It isn't a requirement that you register your own name, but it is recommended that you choose something easy to remember. Even if you are going to be tweeting on behalf of your business, something genuine (personal and memorable) is recommended.

Should I have a company Twitter handle?

You should certainly reserve your formal company handle on Twitter. Use your profile to set the expectations correctly with your followers about what you are going to tweet. A company name could be just fine for support, news, questions and answers.
It is perfectly fine to create multiple accounts. We recommend a few distinctly corporate names and then each individual person having their own personal name. This way he keeps it easy to separate personal tweets from corporate treats.

How do I use the terms "Twitter" and "tweet"?

Twitter is the name of the service. It is appropriate to ask “Are you on Twitter”. You can use Twitter as a verb, it’s OK to say “I’m Twittering that”. However, it’s more appropriate to say to say, “Did you tweet that?”, or "I'm going to tweet this." Also, Twitter (the company) has trademarked the term "Twitter" and they aren't happy when you use it in your website or company name. However, they are fine if you use the words "tweet".

How do I find my friends?

Anytime after you set up your account, you can search for people by name or username, import friends from other networks, or invite friends via email. Twitter also provides a list of suggested people to follow.

What does it mean to follow someone on Twitter?

Following someone just means that their updates will be visible as part of your main "stream". Following is asymmetrical, just because you follow someone doesn't mean they are following you.
When you follow someone, each message they post (except for replies to people you don't know), will appear on your Twitter home page. Updates always appear in real time. Each time you login, you will see the latest updates. You can also have updates from certain people relayed to your phone, or view your "stream" in a third-party application.
Who can see my updates?
It is up to you whether you have a public or private Twitter account. In general, your followers read your updates, and (if your updates are public) other people who discover your tweets via search. By default, your tweets are public. If you are concerned about strangers reading your updates, convert your profile to protected. This will keep your updates out of search, and make it so you have to manually approve your followers.
How do I tweet (send updates to Twitter)?
There are many ways to post your updates:

  1. From the twitter website using the update box.
  2. From your phone using your mobile web browser (go to m.twitter.com), or from a third party application.
  3. From other third-party Websites that have implemented the twitter API.
  4. From your operating system desktop using a third-party client (like TweetDeck or Seesmic).

Can I put my Twitter updates on my blog?

Yes. Twitter (and many other Web sites) offer widget to show your tweets on your blog, MySpace, or Facebook profile. Most of them are very customizable.

Can I edit a tweet once I post it?

No. Once an update has been sent, you can no longer edit it. However, you can delete an update by clicking the trash icon found near the text of the update.
How do I post a picture to Twitter?
Twitter doesn't provide an official photo posting feature. However, several third party applications (like TwitPic and yFrog) will help you post pictures with your updates.

How do I report spam?

To report spam, follow @spam (Twitter's spam account), and send a direct message containing the username of the spammer. Also, use the block function to block any spammers you find. Twitter Support watches who gets blocked in order to determine who gets banned.