Get started using Twitter

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Hey everyone, I'm Sharon Vaknin for cnet.com with your guide to getting started on Twitter. Now, this is Twitter 101, so we'll over the basics like setting up your account, Twitter lingo like RT and pound signs, and finally I'll give a basic strategy for twitting. On Facebook and Twitter, I asked you guys to give me your best steps, so I'll include those too, and I should also mention that there are ton of Twitter apps for desktop or your mobile devices, but I'm just gonna focus on what Twitter does and you can decide which app to use after we cover the basics. Okay, so let's get started at twitter.com. First pick a user name, which should be short and sweet. Refrain from picking weird handles like dogloverxo. We just don't do that on twitter. Now, edit your profile. There only a few things to do here. So, it's important to get it right. Upload a profile picture and add a bio. As Ashley [unk] explains, you bio should include who you are, where you're from, and what you're interested in. It will help people decide if they should follow you or not. Good, now that you've got your profile set up, let's talk about twitting. This is where you tweet and below this is your timeline where you see updates from people you follow. For tweet, you are limited to 140 characters or less, which you probably know, but there is some twitter lingo you need to learn. If you wanna talk someone in a tweet, use the @ symbol followed by their user name. Your tweet will show up in their mentions tab and anytime someone tags you, you will see it in your mentions tab. So, if wanna say something to Eric Franklin or nidopal on twitter I'd write @ nidopal then the message. This will only show up in Eric's mentions and the timeline of anyone who follows Eric and I, but if you tweet something and include @nidopal somewhere in the middle, it will show up in the timeline of everyone who follows me. @ Replies or Mentions are public, so if you want something a little more private, send a direct message. You can send a message to anyone who follows you, just to the messages tab and send one here. No let's talk about retweets. If you see something interesting from someone on your timeline, you might wanna repose it to your followers. Just click Retweet under the tweet you wanna repose, and it will show up in the timeline or you can copy the tweet and preface it with RT than the person's twitter handle and that way it will show up on the person's mentions tab, but now that you know how to communicate on twitter, you might be wondering what the heck is to tweet about. Unless you're Kim Kardashian or Charlie Sheen, you're not gonna get a million followers instantly. Be patient and use my tips to build your following. And Simon [unk] points out please, please, please don't talk about what you have for breakfast. Instead find a niche and tweet about things that you're interested in or good at like if you decided that your niche is gaming just links to articles you found, new games you're playing and retweet other people in your gaming community. When you retweet, you're building relationships and getting the attention of other people like you, which is important for building a following. Talk to people or you'll get really lonely. Send them out replies and ask questions, comment on their tweets and make conversation. If you're looking for people to follow, twitter will give you suggestion over here on the front page like this person said be active in other people's conversations and don't be discouraged if others are not active than yours. Another key twitter check is to use hashtags, which are like keywords for tweets, just put the pound sign before any word. For example, I can tweet I found this awesome recipe on chow.com. I can't wait to try it, then, you click that hashtag and see who else is talking about recipes. Sometimes hashtags become so popular that they end up in the trend section in the side bar. It's a quick way to see what people are talking about. So, those are basics of using Twitter, but before I go, here's some advice from Joe Siegler. When starting new, try not to follow too many people too quickly. You can get overwhelmed. I've seen a few friends quit Twitter because of too much information. Thanks Joe. Now, if you do get overwhelmed or does have any questions, feel free to ask me on Twitter or Facebook if it's more than 140 characters, and if you wanna see more how to videos, visit howto.cnet.com. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the interwebs.

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