5-minute guide to Twitter

5-minute guide to Twitter

Why would you want to use it?

Twitter is an online news and social networking site. Here you can 'follow' other people including friends, businesses, organisations, charities, newspapers, magazines and even celebrities that you like, allowing you to see the posts, pictures, links and videos they share. 

You can also share your own thoughts, links and photographs, to your own 'followers'. The key feature of Twitter, though, is that whatever you post your posts or 'tweets' as they're called are limited to 140 characters. 

How do I get started?

You can use Twitter on your computer, tablet or smartphone. On your computer simply head to twitter.com and click 'Sign Up'. 

You'll be asked to create a username. This can be your name (as long as no one else has taken that username) or something else. You'll also need a profile picture and a short bio. 

If you'd like to use Twitter on your phone or tablet, search for 'Twitter' in your app store and download. Once it's downloaded, follow the instructions for signing up above. 

couple on tablet

Once you're on, start following people you know or admire by searching for them in the search bar. When you've found them, hit the 'follow' button. Their posts will now start to appear in what's called your Twitter feed which is what appears on your screen when you log on to your Twitter account. 

What do I post?

Anything you like really as long as you can do it 140 characters (including spaces) or less. 

To post click the 'Tweet' icon with a quill on it. You can add a photo to your post click the camera button. As you type or add a picture you'll see your word count at the bottom go down and once you reach 140 characters you won't be able to type anymore. 

If you're tweeting about something specific you can tag other people in your tweet using the @ button followed by their username. This will then show up in their notifications. For example, if you wanted to tweet: 'reading my latest Yours magazine' you can tweet us in so that we see your post. So in this case your tweet would become 'reading my latest @yoursmagazine' as @yoursmagazine is our username, or Twitter handle, as you may hear people call it. You can tweet anyone who's on Twitter including celebrities and big businesses. This makes Twitter quite a useful tool if you want to complain to or praise a particular company in a public way. 

twitter search

You can also add hashtags that relate to your tweet and that other people may search for. For example if you posted 'reading my latest @yoursmagazine' you could add the hashtags #magazine and #reading so anyone searching those terms could find your tweet. This comes in handy when you're tweeting about topics that might be trending – basically that lots of other people are talking about, such as a big TV show or a sporting event. By adding a hashtag you essentially join in the conversation that's going on about that topic. 

What else can I do?

You can 'like' or 'retweet' someone else's post. So say you spot an article or a picture you like from our Twitter feed you can press the heart shaped button that appears under every post to show your appreciation - the person who wrote that tweet will then get a notification saying you've 'liked' it. Alternatively you can share the post with your friends and followers by clicking the button with two arrows going in opposite directions called the 'retweet' button.

If you'd like to respond to a post you see with a comment, click the single arrow button to 'reply'. 

Use the single arrow to 'reply' to the person who tweeted, the double arrow to 'retweet' to your followers and the heart to 'like'

Use the single arrow to 'reply' to the person who tweeted, the double arrow to 'retweet' to your followers and the heart to 'like'

You can also send private messages to other Twitter users if you have something you want to say that you don't want all your 'followers' to see. For those who use Facebook, this is the Twitter equivalent of Facebook Messenger.

To send a message click on the 'Messages' tab at the top of your screen (next to Notifications) and start a new message, entering the username of the person you want to message. Just remember you'll need to stick to 140 characters per message again, but you can send multiple messages. 

Don't forget to follow us @yoursmagazine