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Setting Up Twitter

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Learn to set up a Twitter account, complete an online profile, put some serious thought behind your avatar, and then start seeking out people online that you share common interest with.
This chapter is from the book

The appeal of Twitter, after you grasp the notion of what it is and what it can do, all boils down to ease. When it comes to a user-friendly interface, it rarely comes as easy as Twitter.

Our goals here are to set ourselves up with an account, and what I mean by “setting up an account” is more than just signing up. To attract followers and effectively begin building your network, we will be going deeper into establishing our presence in Twitter. We will complete our online profile, put some serious thought behind our avatar, and then start seeking out people online that we share common interest with. The first few steps are a breeze, but it is in the details where people tend to trip up. No need to worry about those details because when you get the lay of the land, the Twitterverse becomes an easy one to master.

So, fire up your browser of choice and let’s begin this adventure into self-expression with 140-characters or less.

Registering on Twitter

Welcome to the first step in building your network. As you see in Figure 2.1, the developers at Twitter want to help you through this process, too. Along with this book, you can watch online, through Twitter.com’s welcome page, a two-and-a-half-minute video from “Common Craft” that explains how Twitter works. If video isn’t your thing, you also have the What?, Why?, and How? buttons that take you to Twitter Support, offering everything you want or need to know to start.

Figure 2.1

Figure 2.1 Twitter greets users old and new with a simple, easy-to-follow user interface.

Whether it is with me or with the website, we’re all here to get you tweeting.

First, let’s register.

  1. Go to http://twitter.com on your Internet browser.
  2. Just underneath the boldface phrase “What are you doing?” is a button reading “Get Started—Join!” Single-click that button.
  3. In the field marked full name, type in your full name or your business’ name, or both.

    Honesty is the best policy when building your profile, so don’t be shy or elusive here. A real name or a company name here can better help you in establishing an identity on Twitter. Also, you can change this to fit your mood or intent at any time under Settings, which we discuss later in this chapter.

  4. Set up a User Name for yourself, no longer than 15 characters (Twitter’s built-in limit). This can be a nickname, clever moniker, or wordplay you create, or simply you or your organization’s name or acronym.

  5. Create your password.

    Along with letting you know if a full name is “too big” or a username is available, Twitter also tells you if a password is strong (meaning it will be difficult to crack) or weak (meaning “Yeah, I can hack that....”). Strong passwords usually have uppercase letters in the middle of them and a number instead of a letter in some instances. When you come up with a password, make it something easy to remember but not easy for others to figure out.

    Figure 2.2

    Figure 2.2 When creating your Twitter account, you start with the basics: who you are, where Twitter can contact you, and what your password will be.

  6. If you want to be notified of new followers and when people send you direct messages, check the box for email updates.
  7. In the final field, type the verification code provided by Twitter. If you cannot read the code, you can refresh the verification by single-clicking on the Get Two New Words option or hear an audio version of the verification code by single-clicking on the Listen to the Words link, both located to the right of the field.
  8. Single-click Create My Account to finish registration.
  9. Following the creation of your Twitter account, Twitter offers you the option to check for Twitter-registered friends on a variety of email services. If you choose any of these services, have your user details for your mail accounts ready to enter. You will be asked for them. If you do not want to check for friends, single-click on Skip This Step at the bottom of the interface.
  10. Twitter then selects at random a variety of Twitter users for you to start following. This can include celebrities, organizations, frequent Twitters, or Twitter accounts often referenced or retweeted by others. If you decide to follow any of these Twitter accounts, click on the check boxes located to the left of their accounts, and then single-click on Finish at the bottom of the interface. If you do not want to follow any of these randomly selected accounts, single-click on Skip This Step under the Finish button.

Congratulations! If you have a desktop similar to Figure 2.3, you are now registered with Twitter!

Figure 2.3

Figure 2.3 By default, Twitter accounts have a basic avatar in place along with a basic background, your username, and even quick tips on building your network.

Okay, okay...so it is a little lonely right now. If you skipped all the opportunities to add other Twitters, no one is following you. Your window is looking like an artist’s canvas fresh from the supply store and mounted on an easel. And what is with that avatar of the O’s and the underscore?! (Look closer...there is a face in there. Sort of.) This is merely the first step. Everyone starts here. If you are fortunate, a friend or a group of friends invited you to join Twitter. If you are particularly lucky, you might be friends or colleagues with a “power user” and can automatically tap into his or her network. If you start from scratch, you might be surprised at how many friends you can make in a matter of tweets. After all, you already have something in common: Twitter.

So, you are all set up and ready to build that network? Well, not quite. Although it is tempting (as many new Twitter users find) to start building up your network, connecting with others that share the same passions that you do, and embracing this hot new social networking initiative, let’s stop a moment and consider that. Social networking. It’s all about the first impression, and when making contacts and building a network—even the virtual ones—it is imperative to put your best foot forward.

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