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Introducing Twitter

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This chapter is from the book

Setting Up a Twitter Account

What I define here as "setting up an account" is simply signing up. This is when most new users make their first mistake: They set up the account and they consider themselves "done" when this is merely the first step. To those who immediately tweet after this step I applaud your zeal and vigor for wanting to engage right away; but before you start building your network, stop for a moment and consider the details of your account.

To attract followers and effectively build a network, you need to go deeper into establishing a presence on Twitter. In Lesson 2, "Completing Your Profile," we complete an online profile, create an avatar for our account, and then seek out other Twitters that share common interests.

Let's begin with the basics to register on Twitter.

  1. Go to http://twitter.com on your Internet browser.
  2. To the right of the search button is a button reading "Sign Up Now." Single-click that button.
  3. In the field marked Full Name, type in your full name or your business' name, or both.
  4. Set up a User Name, no longer than 15 characters (Twitter's built-in limit). This can be your nickname, a clever wordplay, 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 evaluates your password, rating it between strong or weak. Strong passwords usually are a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters with numbers used in place of certain alphabetical characters. When you come up with a password, make it something easy to remember but not easy for others to figure out.

    Figure 1.2

    Figure 1.2 Your Twitter account begins with the basics: who you are, where Twitter can contact you, and what is your password.

  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 email directories for any friends you think might be on Twitter. If you choose any of these featured services, have your own user details for your mail accounts ready to enter. Single-click "Skip This Step" if you wish to progress to the next screen.
  10. In this option, Twitter selects at random a variety of Twitter users you can start following straight away. This cross-section of Twitters 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 suggested accounts, single-click on Skip This Step.

Congratulations! If your browser looks like Figure 1.3, you are now registered with Twitter and can start tweeting straight away.

Figure 1.3

Figure 1.3 New Twitter accounts display a default avatar against Twitter's default background, a username, and tips on building a network.

This is everyone's starting point on Twitter. With these simple details set, you can now begin building your own network of followers, let them know what your are doing in that moment, and even provide exact coordinates as to where you are tweeting from, and vice versa.

Tempting as it is to simply say, "Let's start tweeting...", now would be a good time to remind you what I said earlier: many of the mistakes and misconceptions of Twitter happen here. Before we even go into the completion of your profile, we should take a moment to go into exactly what Twitter is not. With its recent explosion of popularity, many jump into Twitter with preconceived notions and either walk away disappointed or participate disillusioned.

Let's take a few moments to look at Twitter with a more critical eye.

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