Six Twitter Tips for Beginners

Jun 29, 2011  |  By Civilian  |  

Twitter has emerged as one of the leading global social media platforms. The site boasts over 200 million users, with more accounts added daily. Twitter handles represent brands, businesses, individuals, and more.  New Twitter users should keep these basic tips in mind.

1. Keep your profile open

Twitter is a means to connect with others, whether it is through a person or a brand. You can tweet a response to a picture your friend posted or receive a reply from the Nike brand itself. Protected tweets deny users that interactive experience.  If you want to tweet something that you don’t want everyone to have access to, consider posting the thought on your Facebook (where private profiles are more common) or set up two separate Twitter accounts (a protected personal and an open professional account).

2. Think about your tweets before you send them

Unless your tweets are protected, they are accessible to everyone. Thanks to social media background checks, from companies like Social Intelligence, potential employers can look you up on Twitter and see what you’ve posted. Make your tweets worth reading. If you’re linking to an article, encourage a discussion or provide original commentary. Don’t clutter your followers’ news feeds, and give them a reason to keep following you or recommend that others do the same.

3. Make sure your direct messages are actually direct messages

Accidently tweeting a direct message can have negative results, just ask Anthony Weiner. Personally, I avoid direct messages altogether, but sometimes they are the only means of contacting an individual. Especially if you are sending private information like a phone number or address, verify that you are indeed sending a direct message.

4. Don’t be afraid to reach out

Twitter can be a great tool to meet other professionals or even help with a job search. Generally, people sign up for Twitter to interact with others, so don’t be afraid to contact people through a mention or direct message.  People have gotten jobs through Twitter.

5. Keep your photo and bio professional

Your default picture should be of your face, not you and your friend’s. Your tweets represent your thoughts, and your picture should reflect who you are. Your Twitter bio should also be professional, but don’t be afraid to add some quirky tidbits about yourself to stand out.

6. Familiarize yourself with Twitter lingo and tools

Become aware of hashtags and link shorteners. Hashtags should be free of numbers and punctuation, or else they won’t be completely clickable.  Hashtags can be used for short, humorous commentary or to connect with others who are addressing the same topic. Since Twitter only allows you to post 140 characters at a time, use link shorteners. Sites like,, and allow you to shorten URL’s. Use this space to provide original commentary about the link you are providing. You can reference the official Twitter glossary for more commonly used terms on the site.

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