Twitter: A Basic How To Guide

Starting a Twitter account is very simple- all you need is an email address and a name!

  • First, navigate to the Twitter Homepage found at
  • On the homepage, fill in the information under the “New to Twitter? Sign Up” portion of the page
  • Twitter then directs you to a screen where you can confirm all of your information
  • Finally, there is a brief tutorial on using Twitter, where the site prompts you to find other users to follow
  • You can now start composing Tweets, which are status updates to your followers that are under 140 characters. Tweets can also be media messages; you can tweet photos or videos to followers.

Using Twitter: Hashtags and Handles

  • One important thing to note when creating your Twitter account is your Twitter handle. Your handle is your user name on the site. You can use Twitter handles to message another user of the site. One possibility is to Tweet at other users. To do so, you type the @ sign with the Twitter handle of the user you wish to message. The final product will look this:  Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 9.35.12 PM
  • Private messaging is also an option on Twitter. If you go to the user’s page and click on the “gear” symbol on their profile. You can chose the “Direct Message” option to send this user a personal message (meaning that no other Twitter users will see it). The direct message, however, is still limited by 140 characters.
  • Hashtags are a tool used to talk about and follow trends on a social media site. The video below explains more about hashtags.
  • Hashtags can be especially useful when trying to promote an event. As an academic librarian, you can track hashtags you’ve created to see what people are saying about an event or promotion. For example, UW-Madison academic libraries recently did a #UWbookmadness to track participation in their Book Madness bracket.

Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 10.53.41 PM


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