Updated March 2014
So, you’re ready to sign up for Twitter! Sometimes the signup process can be a bit daunting, so I created this short guide showing you what you need to know. Let’s get started!
Go to http://twitter.com/, and you should see a screen like this. (My highlights are the magenta-pink bits.) Enter your information in the “New to Twitter” section, and click “Sign up for Twitter.”
STEP 1: Finish creating your account
You’ll be taken to a screen where you’re asked to confirm your information. Twitter will suggest a username for you (located in the highlight below); feel free to change it to something you like better. You should get immediate feedback to the right if that username is available or not.
STEP 2: TAKING THE TOUR
Twitter wants you to follow people right away, so you can get the feeling of how it works. You can either choose the 5 people they suggest, or use the search box to search for people whose real names or Twitter names you already know, and follow them. Click “Next” once you’ve followed enough people and it appears.
And then Twitter wants you to follow even more people! This time, scroll through the list of celebrity and/or current events, and find 5 more to follow. Again, click “Next” when it appears.
Note that you can choose to stop following any of this people or things at any time.
Now you’re asked to import contacts from another account, to find people you already know. Twitter won’t automatically do anything (like follow people, or send emails, or what have you) on your behalf. Also, Twitter doesn’t store this information anywhere.
I’m going to walk you through the Gmail version here, since that’s the most common free email provider. You can also choose to skip this altogether with the tiny little “Skip” gray link in the lower left corner, heh.
If you want to use the email address with which you’ve signed up, that’s super easy. If you’d like to use contacts from another Gmail account, well… that’s longer and not explained here, heh. Click the “Search contacts” button.
A new window will open up, and you’ll be asked to grant access to your contacts for Twitter. Click “Allow access.”
It then takes a few seconds for your contacts to load, and you’re shown a screen that it’s working on it. When it’s done, it shows you a list on the left of everyone in your address book that are already on Twitter. It’ll also show you a link to invite people who are in your contacts that aren’t on Twitter yet. Don’t do that.
You can click on “follow” next to the people that you want to appear in your feed, and ignore the ones you don’t. When you’re done, click “Next.”
It asks you again if you want to invite people to Twitter. No! You don’t! There’s nothing inherently bad about it, it’s just kinda spammy behavior. Just click the “x” in the upper right corner of that little pop-up to get rid of it without taking action.
Now, Twitter wants you to show yourself off a little bit. Start by adding a photo– this is a good idea! This shows that you’re not a spam bot or someone who signed up for an account and never came back. Default icons are a big turnoff on Twitter. Choose something unique–if you’re not comfortable with using a picture of yourself, that’s ok! Anything that will differentiate you from the rest of the eighteen zillion people on Twitter is fine. A square image works best. Trust me.
Then, add your short bio so people can get a quick sense of what you’re into. You can always edit this later! Most people add a few serious things about their professional work (if they plan on using Twitter professionally), as well as a few irreverent items about themselves. Do what feels comfortable. Note, there’s another place to add a URL for yourself, so don’t feel like you need to take up space here. Also, if you’re familiar with these terms, hashtags and other Twitter usernames are acceptable to use here.
When you’re done with both your photo and bio, click “Done.”
You’re now shown your home screen, with all of the tweets from the people you’ve chosen to follow in reverse chronological order (newest on top). You’re also asked to confirm your email address; do this right away to get rid of that nagging message.
STEP 3: FAMILIARIZING YOURSELF WITH TWITTER’S FEATURES
Let’s take a quick tour of the home screen. Don’t be scared!
That’s pretty much it for the basics! Feel free to visit me at http://deannazandt.com/twitter-guides for more information.