Getting started with Twitter

Twitter is an online tool that lets you write brief text updates (of up to 140 characters) and broadcast them. People can choose to “follow” your updates (aka “tweets”) and you can follow others and receive their tweets. However, there is much more to Twitter than this as you will see.

1 – Sign up for a Twitter account

Note: You might wish to have more than one account for your different personal, professional and/or organisational accounts.

Go to and sign up. You will need to choose a unique username (the shorter the better!).  Your display name can be your own name or  a pseudonym.  You will need to give an email address, as you will need to validate your account.

During the sign-up process, Twitter will suggest some people to follow.  You can choose to follow them (ie receive their updates if  you want to).

2 – Customise your profile page

Your profile page will have been set up (select Profile to see it).


It will have a unique web address, e.g. and will show information about you, who you are following and who is following you. It will also display your recent tweets.

To customise your profile page,  select Settings. Here you can write something about yourself. You can also upload a picture, avatar or logo (select Picture from the Settings tab), as well as customise the look of th page, i.e. background design and colour scheme (Select Design).

Note: there are further ways to customise the design of your profile, see some of the articles in the Reading list below.

Note too : you can protect your profile to keep your tweets private, and approve those who can follow you.  (You do this in Account). However, this means that none of your tweets will be visible at any time to anyone
except your followers, and this does have repercussions for doing other things on Twitter.  Also, note that many people do not choose to follow back those who have protected their tweets, since they can’t see what they have previously tweeted about.

3 – Access and using your account

Once you have set up your account, you can either do so by logging into Twitter in your web browser on your computer or on your mobile phone at or by using another Twitter web, desktop or phone client.  You will find some suggestions for Twitter clients here

Reading list

9 sites to create cartoon for yourself for Facebook and Twitter profile, Geekers magazine, 5 April 2010

How to create custom Twitter backgrounds, Mashable, 22 May 2009