My Twitter Evolution, and Tips for Twitter Newbies

I joined Twitter on November 13, 2008 because everyone else was joining Twitter and I am a follower (pun intended). I made three Twitter updates on that day, and signed in the next few days just to see what was going on. Nothing was going on, so I stopped signing on and became one of the people saying, “I tried Twitter, but I just don’t get why everyone loves it so much…” I figured it had to be a fad, and in a couple months no one would really be using it anymore.

But over the next couple of months, the opposite trend happened. I started reading more updates from my friends on Facebook that were “via Twitter.” Then I would see Twitter mentioned on E! Online and People; the celebs were using it! “OK,” I thought, “there must be more to this Twitter thing.”

So I signed in again on January 17, 2009 and went to see what my friend Farrah (@Farrah77) was up to. She is one of my friends that’s big into Twitter; she uses it daily and finds value and enjoyment in it. What did she Tweet? Who did she follow? Who followed her?

I was interested to see that we Tweeted similarly (I considered my Facebook status updates Tweets and didn’t know why I’d bother entering those in a different place than on the Facebook site itself.). The difference was that she was following a bunch of really interesting Twits! She subscribed to many different news reporters, sports news sites, and some people that were just like us. I picked a good two dozen of her followees to follow myself, and that is when I became a true Twit.

My two dozen followees has now jumped to over 200, and I have near as many followers myself. A celebrity, I am not, but I do feel like I’m now “getting” Twitter. I get Chicago news almost as it happens, I keep in touch with my favorite celebs (some even Tweet me personally!), I learn valuable tricks and tips in my area of interest (social media and web development), and most importantly I am in constant contact with some friends that I know outside of the Twitterverse.

So that you can immediately become a contributing member of the Twitter society, I’ve compiled a short list of tips to get you up and going quickly on Twitter once you join. Enjoy, and don’t forget to follow @HeatherActon78!

Twen Twips for Twitter Twirgins

1. Tweet! Tweet about your ma. Tweet about your dog. Tweet about something that’s in your head. Just tweet. Simple, right?

2. Find a bunch of people to follow. Start with Twitter’s built-in service to import any of your existing network (email) contacts that may have a Twitter account. If you’re the pioneer of your clique, check out Twitter’s suggested users and follow some or all of those. You can also take a look at who I follow and follow some yourself. And lastly, go to some of your followees’ followees and follow them too. Think about it for a sec, then get to it!

3. Now that you are following some Twits, you need to stay organized. How devastated would you be to discover you had missed one of your favorite twit’s tweets? So download Tweetdeck (or your Twitter client of choice – see this link for some other top suggestions).

4. Insert a profile picture. Is this you? Yeah, didn’t think so…

Default Twitter image
Default Twitter image

5. Fill out your profile information. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but put some thought into it and be yourself. Harder than it sounds, but it is worth doing. This is your first impression to other twits who come across your name, and could even win you a spot as a Twitter suggested user! Check out my profile for an example.

6. Get a background for your Twitter profile. You can go with one of Twitter’s provided choices, or just Google “free Twitter backgrounds” for a plethora of sites with premade Twitter backgrounds or interfaces that help you create your own. Like your profile information, this just makes you more interesting to potential followers. And in a myspace kind of way, makes Twitter feel a bit more like home to you =)

7. Learn the Twitter language. You’re seeing lots of “@” and “#” and “RT.” What does it all mean? I have actually found Twitter Support to be very helpful for the basics.

8. Now that you know the language, what is the appropriate way to use it? Would hate to offend the ever-growing Twitterverse, right? So brush up on Twitter etiquette. I found this article to be hilarious, and it does bring up some good tips to not get yourself fired for tweeting the wrong thing =)

9. Find some other cool apps made for Twitter. Twitter has open API, which means that developers can make endless applications using Twitter data. Here are some of my favs: helps you find out who you follow that doesn’t follow you back, who follows you that you don’t follow back, and, well, you get the idea. shows you your Twitter statistics in graphical form – tweets/day, distribution of what days and what time of day you tweet, etc. tells you the power of your Twitter profile, and also can help you find twits in your area or Twitter elite!

And if you like to collect apps, this article suggests 99 of the coolest Twitter tools and apps ever!

10. Now this is about 30 tips for the price of one (I only said “Twen Twips,” right?). Share your tweets in places other than Twitter, and publicize your profile. Install a Twitter app for your mobile phone. Make sure there’s a link to your Twitter profile on your Facebook page. Install a Twitter app for Facebook. Put a widget on your blog that shows your tweets (take a look at my blog for an example). The possibilities are endless.

Alright – there you go! Now enjoy! And let me know if you have any additions to this list, or other helpful suggestions.

Tweet ya later!



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