You’ve figured out Facebook, then Twitter shows up. Your friends talk about retweets and followers and hashtags, and you want to get in on the action. Fortunately, Twitter’s design makes it relatively easy for beginners to use.

Creating a Twitter Profile

Go to Twitter.com and click on “Sign Up for Twitter.” When you create your profile, you’ll need to upload a picture, select a username (which will take the form of @username), and write a 140 character description of yourself. You can add more information such as your email address and your interests if you like.

Following People

After you sign up, you’ll be directed to a list of people that you may find interesting. If you click the “Follow” button, you officially become one of their followers. This means that whenever they send out a tweet, you’ll see it. Likewise, when people “Follow” you – they’ll see your tweets.

Your First Tweet

Twitter is based on short, 140 character messages called tweets. On the left side of your profile page, you’ll see a white box with the words “Compose a new tweet” inside of it. Click onto this area to write your first tweet. Keep it short and simple – 140 characters isn’t a lot to work with. After you’re finished, click “Tweet.” Note that you can also upload pictures by clicking on the camera icon below the tweet box.

 A Conversation

To direct your tweet towards someone, type in their username prior to your tweet. For example, if you wanted to tell someone you loved their baking, it would look like this: @Christie you make delicious cookies!

 Direct Messages

A direct message maintains all of the characteristics of a tweet, but only you and the person you send it to can see it. To send a direct message, open up someone’s profile page, click the person icon (right beside the “Following” icon), and select “Send a Direct Message.” Type in you message it and send it away.

Retweeting

See a tweet that you like? Hover your cursor over it until the word “Retweet” appears. Click “Retweet” and the message will be spread to all of your followers. Someone who retweets everything they see can get annoying, so only retweet truly interesting tweets.

 Favorites

If you like something but have no need to share it with all of your followers, you can favorite it. Hover your cursor over the tweet, then select “Favorite.” This will save it, allowing you to look back over all of your favorite tweets at any given time.

 Hashtags (#)

Once you’ve been tweeting for a while, you’ll notice the frequent use of hashtags. These hashtags indicate a trend. If you click on a hashtag, you’ll be directed to a conversation page. Here you can see what everyone is saying in regards to that hashtag. Start your own trend by using a hashtag in one of your tweets. Trends run the gamut from lighthearted (#50ThingsAboutMyBoyfriend) to serious (#PresidentialDebate).

 Start “Tweeting”!

Twitter is an easy website to use once you get started. However, aside from reading this, the best way to get acquainted with Twitter is to create your own account. So, ready … set … GO!

A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter