MySpace and Facebook have seen their glory days, but Twitter is currently the reigning social networking site. One of the things that makes Twitter so popular is that it is much more simplistic than other social networking sites, but it can still be confusing to the beginner. Here are the basics.
Signing up- Signing up for Twitter is as simple as signing up for any other site. You will need to provide some basic information, select a username, select a background, and you can upload a picture for your profile if you would like to. If you have more than one email address, enter the one that most of your friends have. This can make it easier for them to find you on Twitter.
Tweets- Think of tweets as status updates. A tweet is a message that is 140 characters or less that will show up in the timeline of anyone who is following you on Twitter. This concept of telling people what you are doing in 140 characters or less is the whole idea behind Twitter. To tweet you simply enter what you want to say into the text box at the top of the page and click on "tweet". Twitter will not let you send tweets if they are more than 140 characters and tells you how many characters you have left as you type your message. You can make up for this character limitation by using common internet abbreviations. The Twitter application Twitlonger will also allow you to tweet longer messages. Instead of the full tweet showing up, your followers will see a link they can click on to read the full tweet.
Following- On Twitter, you do not add friends. You follow other users. By clicking the follow button on someone's Twitter profile you will then be able to see their tweets in your timeline on your homepage. Anyone who follows you will see your tweets in their timeline. You will see the number of users who are following you and the number of users you are following on the upper right hand side below your name.
Lists- As you start following more and more Twitter users, the number of tweets filling up your timeline can be overwhelming. You can put the users you are following on lists to make it easier to keep up with their tweets. When you click on a list, you will only see the tweets of the users you have added to that list.
Replies / Mentions- You can reply to a tweet by moving your mouse over the tweet and clicking on the word "reply" that will show up. This will take you to the text box at the top of the page and the person's username, with the '@' sign in front, will already be in the box. The '@' symbol in front of the username is how you send a reply or mention someone in your tweet. You can see tweets that mention you by going to your homepage and clicking on your username in the upper right. It will also have the '@' symbol in front of it (@myusername, for example). Other twitter users will be able to see your mentions of them and your replies in the same way.
Retweets- If you see a tweet in your timeline that you think is funny or want other people to see, you can retweet that message to your followers. When you roll your mouse over the tweet the word "retweet" will show up for you to click on. When you click on that the tweet will show up in your follower's timelines as a retweet, meaning they will still see the username of the user who tweeted the message first. You will be able to see whether any of your own tweets have been retaining by clicking on "Tweet" above your lists, then clicking on "Your Tweets, @".
Trending Topics- And finally, trending topics, which will show up below your lists, are the key words, people, or events that Twitter users are tweeting about. Trending topics can change quickly and you can also select a location to see which topics are trending in your area.
Twitter is much simpler than the other main social networking sites. It's just a little bit different. Learning how to use Twitter is easy and can become a great way for you to connect with more people and share your thoughts with the world in simple messages of 140 characters or less.
Source by Philip Mancini