How to Create an Account on Twitter

Now that you know a little bit about Twitter, it’s time to create an account.

  1. Go to www.twitter.com in your web browser.  Enter your information (name, email address and a password that you like) in the “New to Twitter? Sign Up” section and click Sign up for Twitter underneath when you’re done.

  2. Type in a user name that you want to use, and double-check your password strength. For passwords, use numbers and symbols (but still something easy to remember). The password strength is shown in the right hand side of the password box. Also, if your user name is already in use, Twitter will tell you and recommend alternate user names for you.

  3. If you’re using your personal computer to make a Twitter account, you can click the check box next to “Keep Me Signed-In on This Computer” so you don’t have to re-enter your information every time you log into Twitter. If you’re using a public computer, it’s best to uncheck this box so that a stranger doesn’t inadvertantly get into your account.

    If you want Twitter to show you people to follow (based on websites you’ve visited that are connected to Twitter) keep the “Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits” checked. It will recommend people to follow that visit the same websites that you do.

    Once you are finished, select Create My Account to finish the process.

Now that you’ve made an account, it’s time to set up your profile so you can start tweeting! Take a look at our next tutorial for more information!


Twitter Review

Now that you know a little bit about what Twitter is and how it works, and you’ve read our article on how to stay safe while using Twitter, you may be thinking you want to sign up for an account. But before you do that, check out our breakdown below of the pros and cons of Twitter, so you can determine if it’s the right social media website for you.

Pros

  • Easy to use – It’s easy to craft a post, and with the limited character amount, it can take less than a minute to get your thought out into the Twitter universe.

  • Quickly absorb information – With 140 characters, people need to leave out all the fluff and filler that’s typically included in a longer article, so you get all of the most important info fast.

  • Fastest way to get late-breaking news – Since posts can be done from your phone, news outlets and journalists are able to immediately post updates.  No more waiting for the 6 o’clock news.

  • Self-promotion/Promoting Others – If you want to get your business or brand some recognition, there’s no better way than to post to Twitter about it. Use it to promote your own brand, or promote other’s brands.  By promoting others, they may be more inclined to promote you back!

  • Follow your favourite celebrities and athletes – You can get a better look into your favorite celebrities’ lives by following them. Twitter verifies all celebrity accounts – so you know you aren’t following a fake account.

  • The most secure micro-blogging website – Twitter uses a secured connection, meaning your information is safer than ever.

  • Connecting – It’s easy to connect with people you already know, as well as make new connections with people who post about similar topics and share similar ideas. Users are usually open to interacting with people they don’t know.

Cons

  • Limited amount of space – Twitter only allows 140 characters, so if you have a lot to say it can be hard to squeeze it all in to one short post.

  • Limited direct messaging features – When trying to message people directly, you’re limited to directing your message to one person at a time.

  • Text based – While you can post photos and links to videos, most of Twitter is text-based, so if you love posting photos, Facebook or Instagram is usually a better choice.

  • Posts can get buried – There’s so many people posting all the time that, within seconds, your post can be buried by others’ posts. You may need to post multiple times a day to spread the word, especially when promoting yourself or others.

  • Less privacy – Twitter has great security with their secure connection for your login information, but your posts are not private, and can be seen by anyone and everyone.

The Bottom Line: 8/10

Twitter is great for hearing other’s thoughts, getting up-to-date information on news and what’s going on in the world, and for asking questions. However, it can be hard to say what you want in the limited space you have, and sometimes it’s hard for others to hear what you have to say when there’s such a large quantity of posts being submitted at any given time.

When it comes to social media updates, there’s really nothing that surpasses Twitter in terms of global reach. You can inform millions of people at once of what you’re doing or thinking about, or even promote yourself or different causes. If you think you can get followers, start Tweeting today!

 

And that’s our rundown on the pros and cons of Twitter. If you think it sounds alright and you want to sign up, check out our next tutorial on how to create an  account. Once you’ve done that, we can also teach you how to Tweet, and who to follow on Twitter.


Is Twitter Safe and Secure?

Now that you’ve discovered what Twitter is and how it works, you may be considering using it. But an important step to take before doing that is learning how safe and secure Twitter is. In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about safety and security on Twitter, and give you some great tips for how to stay safe if you choose to sign up for an account.

How safe is Twitter?

So long as you take reasonable precautions, Twitter is about as safe to use as many other popular social networks. It does have some potential safety issues, including the ability for users to misrepresent themselves (or impersonate others), and the fact that it has no review process for tweets.

How secure is Twitter?

Twitter is a secure website, as it requires password-protected accounts for all of its users. As long as you protect your password and adjust your privacy settings, your account should remain secure.  After all, you wouldn’t want someone commandeering your account and tweeting as if they were you.

7 tips for how to be safe on Twitter

1. Think carefully before publishing each Tweet.

Once you hit the Post button, you can’t take back what you’ve put out into the Twitterverse. Though you can delete your tweets, it’s possible that someone will see a tweet before you remove it.  Always think carefully about who will be seeing your tweets, and remember that any information you post becomes the property of Twitter.

2. Don’t just follow anyone and everyone.

It may be tempting to follow as many people as possible, in the hopes that they will follow you back.  However, in doing so, you could end up with quite a few strangers posting information on your Twitter feed that you may not find useful or desirable. By following random people, you’re giving them an easy way to view what you’ve posted on Twitter at any time.  Therefore, it is always good practice to follow only your friends or verified public figures (look for the blue checkmark next to their names!).

3. Beware of direct message scams.

Twitter does offer the opportunity to directly message other users, which can be a way to privately talk with friends and family.  However, be careful about direct messages you receive that offer you something, or make a claim that is ‘too good to be true’. Often, these are scams — a person trying to obtain money or information from you for dishonest reasons.

Always make sure to only exchange direct messages with people whom you personally know. Also, don’t click any suspicious links in a direct message you receive; they may contain a virus! It’s best just to block users you don’t know who send you direct messages out of the blue.

4. Remember that any profile can be a misrepresentation of the user.

Almost anyone can create a Twitter account, and they do not have to verify their identity in the process (though many celebrities and public figures choose to). This means that users are able to misrepresent themselves to some end, possibly posing as celebrities, your friends – anyone really. Always be a bit skeptical of users who contact you claiming to be someone you know or someone famous.

5. Never give out personal information, or post it in a Tweet.

Keeping sensitive information private on social networks like Twitter is especially important, as failing to do so could pose a great danger to your personal safety. Remember that you are only required to enter your full name and either your phone number or your email address when signing up.  At no other point will Twitter or any of its users require any other personal information from you.  You are also not required to pay for Twitter, so there is no need to ever give out your financial information to Twitter or any of its users. So be sure to avoid sharing private information with anyone over Twitter by posting it in a tweet or direct message!

6. Update your privacy settings immediately.

When you create your account, be sure to check your privacy settings. The default settings may surprise you in terms of how much of your information Twitter allows other users to view, or even use in order to find you on Twitter. Therefore, it’s always good practice to set your privacy preferences immediately to what you are comfortable with, rather than waiting until you have an issue.

7. Password protect your account.

Be sure to use a strong, long, and complex password to protect your account, and change it every 3 to 6 months. If someone breaks your password accesses your account, they can use it to post anything at all, with the posts appearing as though they came from you. Not only can this really damage your reputation or offend other users unintentionally, but it may also cause Twitter to suspend your account for violating its terms of service.

If you want to learn more about how to create secure passwords, check out our TechBoomers tutorial on how to make a strong password.

 

That’s how you can stay safe while using Twitter. If you’re thinking about creating an account, consider giving our next article a read first, where we review the pros and cons of Twitter.


What Twitter Is and How to Start Tweeting

Most modern people tend to lead very busy lives. That can sometimes make it difficult to keep track of current events or let the people we care about know what we’re up to. What’s needed is a platform where people can read or broadcast short, rich pieces of information quickly and frequently. What was created for that purpose was Twitter.com, a service that’s part short-form online journal, part social network.

So what exactly is Twitter?

Twitter is a short-form online journal (“blog”) service. What makes Twitter unique is that each entry in your blog can only contain up to 140 characters. This makes it ideal for short, frequent updates. Despite these limitations, you can include pictures, hyperlinks, or even videos in your posts.

Twitter allows people to post updates of where they are, what they’re doing, or what they’re interested in. Because each post can only contain 140 characters, most people post frequently and get right to the point. This allows you to post need-to-know information quickly so your friends and family can get an idea of what’s going on in your life at this moment. A lot of other users (including celebrities, corporations, and other organizations) do so, too, so you can be in the know when their next big development happens.

How Twitter works

Sign up for a account, create a profile, and then just start “tweeting.” You only have 140 characters with which to make a message on Twitter, so be brief! Not to worry, though: 140 characters is enough to accommodate pictures, hyperlinks, or even videos (if you’re using its mobile app)!

Twitter tweet

Twitter uses a system called “hashtags” (words, abbreviations, or phrases preceded by the “#” symbol) that let people organize their posts. You can use this system to see what the popular topics on Twitter are. It might even lead you to important news updates!

Twitter hashtags

If you want to make one of your posts about someone in particular, you can “mention” them by adding an “@” symbol before their user name (e.g. “@barackobama”). This will make the post show up on your blog, and on their blog as well. You can also send a “direct message” to another user if you want to discuss something with them, but don’t want to share it with people who may be following your activities.

Those are the basic functions of Twitter. We’ve got plenty of step-by-step tutorials on how to use these features in our free Twitter course, so consider checking out some other useful articles such as how to tweet, how to re-tweet, and how to tweet a video.

8 Reasons to start using Twitter:

1. Keep up with the activities of friends and family.

Have a conversation with your friends via Twitter. Set up your next lunch date, or comment on how much fun you had together the night before.

2. Ask a question to the world.

Have a question that you just can’t find the answer to? Send it out as a tweet into the Twitter universe and wait for a response. The more followers you have, the more responses you’ll get.

3. Keep up with the buzz.

Use the search function to type in a movie title, band name, sports team, or anything else you’re interested in to see what people are saying about it.

4. Follow your interests.

Twitter has achieved widespread use among celebrities and brands, so following those that you like allows you to see what they’re up to next or what they have to say.

5. Share your opinion.

Got something on your mind? Go ahead and share it on Twitter! Lots of people use Twitter for just that purpose.

6. Stay up-to-date on current events.

Can’t get access to a TV for the six o’clock news? How about the hockey game you’ll be missing? No problem. By following news stations and sports teams on Twitter, you’ll get a play-by-play of current events, so you’ll never miss a minute. You can even follow an airline to see if your flight may be cancelled due to inclement weather.

7. Get better customer support from companies with Twitter accounts.

If you have an issue with a company’s service, but don’t feel like waiting on hold forever to speak to someone, post a tweet on their account. Many companies now have an account, and will respond quickly to a problem if you post it there. As an added bonus, since Twitter is by-and-large public, the company will likely want to resolve your problem quickly in order to uphold its reputation.

8. See what is currently trending.

Find out what the world is talking about. With a “trending” section on Twitter, you’ll see the most popular topics that thousands of people are talking about.

Is Twitter safe?

Twitter is as safe to use as any social networking website, and most users have great experiences with no safety issues. However, some things to watch out for on Twitter include profiles that are fraudulent or that impersonate others (e.g. celebrities), scams run through users direct messaging you on Twitter, and users accessing others’ accounts without permission.

So long as protect your account with a secure password, and are wary of profiles that may not actually be who they say they are (especially those appearing as celebrities or public figures), you should be able to use Twitter with no safety issues. Just be sure to report any user who posts inappropriate content. 

How much does Twitter cost?

Twitter is free to sign up for and use.  You are never required to provide your financial information, or make a payment to any Twitter employee or user. Twitter makes its money through advertising and data licensing (selling user information), which you give it permission to do when joining.

The history of Twitter, and why it’s so popular

Twitter was founded in California in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams.  It has quickly become one of the most visited websites in the world, ranking as one of the top 20 most popular websites on the Internet. The platform currently has more than 310 million active users each month, with hundreds of millions of tweets being published each day.

Twitter is so popular because of its unique character limit on posts, which forces users to be brief and clever with their writing. This limitation often results in people posting “tweets” more often, which allows people to keep in touch with friends and family, follow the actions of celebrities and public figures, and stay informed on global trends and events — all on a more immediate basis than ever.

Twitter terminology

Term Definition
Tweet The act
of submitting a post to Twitter.
RT or
Retweet
Forwarding
someone else’s tweets to all of your followers.
@
(Mention)
Called a
mention, the @ symbol allows you to send a public message to a user by
following with their username (eg. @johnsmith). If you @mention, they will be
notified that someone has mentioned them.
#
(Hashtag)
Called a
hashtag, the # symbol marks keywords or topics in a tweet. If a search is
done on a keyword you’ve used, your tweet will be a part of the results.
Follow The act
of following someone’s tweets. When you follow someone, they will be notified
and their tweets will show up in your Home Timeline.
Trends Twitter
uses an algorithm to find the most popular topics on Twitter right now; these
are known as “trends”.
Notifi-cations When
someone starts following you or mentions you in a tweet, you’ll get a
notification letting you know.
TL or Timeline Your
Timeline shows real-time tweets from the Twitterverse. Your Home Timeline
shows real-time tweets from those you follow.
Direct
Message
Privately
message someone who follows you on Twitter.
Twitter-verse The world
of Twitter. Twitter + Universe = Twitterverse
OH or
RLRT
Overheard
or Real Life Retweet is an indication that someone is tweeting about what
they’ve overheard someone say in real life.
#FF #FF, or
Follow Fridays, is a way for users to recommend people to follow.
TIL Today I
Learned; used to say a fact you learned that day. For example, “TIL that the
average pasta size is 480% larger than what’s recommended.”

Twitter competitors

Though no website compares to Twitter’s user base, there are a few alternatives to Twitter out there that can give you a similar experience. One of the most popular is Tumblr.com, a simple but widely popular website for creating online journals (i.e. web logs or “blogs”). There’s also Plurk.com, a Taiwan-based site very similar to Twitter. Soup.io is another popular blogging website that makes posting images, links, and files easy.

 

That’s what Twitter is and how it works in a nutshell, but there’s a lot more that we can tell you in the rest of our course on Twitter. Consider checking some of our step-by-step tutorials out, including how to create an account, how to Tweet on, or who to follow on Twitter.