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You may have heard about the twitter website in the news, as many celebrities, sports stars and politicians use it to voice their opinions to the people who have chosen to follow them. We run through the basics below:
Twitter is a website that describes itself as an ‘information network’. You can set up your own profile on twitter (similar to facebook), which is your own personalised web page, including information about you (as much or as little as you would like to share), a place for you to type your ‘tweets’ (which we’ll explain below) and a ‘timeline’ in the middle which shows ‘tweets’ from anyone you choose to ‘follow’.
The idea behind twitter is that people registered on the site use it to keep up-to-date with the latest news and information from anyone else registered on the site by 'following' those people. This could be your friends, celebrities, businesses and other organisations, or anyone else registered on twitter.
You can also send out your own updates - 'tweets' - which other people can choose to follow.
Once you’ve set up a profile on twitter (see below), you can:
Twitter has a very straightforward sign-up process, visit twitter and click on the big yellow sign-up button on the right. Then enter your name and a username. You can choose your own username - it could be your real name, or something you’ve made up). Whatever username you choose, it's important to make it easy to remember, as you’ll need it each time you log in.
Next create a password (again, it's important this password is memorable as you’ll need it to log in), and enter your email address (if you don’t have an email address, please read our page on setting up an email account).
Once you’ve filled everything in, you will be asked to select your interests. You can choose from a fairly comprehensive list, featuring everything from reading to extreme sports. You don’t have to select your interests at this point if you don't want to - and you can come back to this later.
Now it’s time to start finding your friends! Finding friends, interest groups or celebrities is simple. You’ll be presented with a page with a box in the top left hand corner, with the title ‘Who are you looking for?' Click in the empty box and type the name of a friend, an area of interest, an organisation or a celebrity (e.g. Joe Bloggs, Age UK or Stephen Fry, etc.). You will then be shown a list of matching results. If you find what or who you were looking for, click on the ‘follow’ button by the right of their name and you will now be following them, meaning that their tweets will appear in your timeline so you can see what they’re up to. If you don’t find what you're after, see if you can find out the right username - you can then type that into the search box to find the twitter user you're looking for directly.
Once you’ve registered friends or interests you'd like to follow, don’t forget to click on the ‘update’ button to complete the sign up process. You will then be taken to your profile page, with your timeline in the middle of the page featuring recent tweets from anyone you’re following. Any people you’ve decided to follow will be alerted to this, and will be given the option of following you in turn.
Now you've registered, why not send your first tweet?
‘Tweeting’ means sending a message to anyone else on twitter who's chosen to follow you. Twitter places a restriction on how much you can type in any tweet you send out, so it's important you keep your messages as short as possible!
Once you’re logged in, type your 140-character message in the ‘What’s happening’ box at the top of the page, and then click on the ‘tweet’ button. Anyone who is following you will be able to see your message. There are also a number of more advanced options on the site for you to explore.
For more information on twitter and tweeting, visit twitter's help page
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