Social media websites are powerful tools for expanding your personal reach, but they must be used properly to be at all an effective use of your time. What makes them so valuable is that everyone is on an equal playing field: Your account has the same features “theirs” does. In this way the horizon of interpersonal connection is truly endless.
There are many pathways you can take to get involved online with people you care about. The Internet has launched an entire new way to discover and interact. If you are reading this article, you have everything you need to get started right now with just a few minutes and a little bit of effort.
An excellent first step for this goal is to create a free Twitter account and begin following and tweeting about your interests. Twitter is a very misunderstood website that has unfortunately gotten the reputation of a place to complain, waste time, or dwell on petty goings-on in one’s life (for example, to tweet “I am eating breakfast”, “I am on my way to work stuck in traffic”, “Watching the news” and so on).
Really it can be quite the contrary. If you recognize this unfavorable mindset towards Twitter, I encourage you to take a second look and realize what it can do to help you stay in the loop conveniently and quickly. Twitter is the perfect way to send out your own good vibes to the Internet world and receive the good vibes of others too.
If you are completely new to Twitter, check out this quick video by Common Craft called Twitter in Plain English which explains in basic terms how the website actually works, as this topic is beyond the scope of this article. I find, though, that many people are familiar with Twitter but just are reluctant to get started for any reason. Problem solved: Mapped out below is all you need to get yourself on Twitter in a matter of minutes.
4 Steps to a Quality Twitter Account
Visit the homepage to sign up for free: http://twitter.com
Step #1: Select an appealing username. On Twitter this is also called your “handle” (you may have seen things like @MyUsername). Because there are millions of people already on Twitter each with their own usernames too, you will need to get the creative juices flowing and pick something unique.
Do not be afraid to be a little bit controversial, but keeping things simple always works. Ideas: your name, your nickname, what you’re interested in, fun sayings or rhymes, and so on. Avoids lots of numbers, underscores, or words that are difficult to spell as would be common sense. My username is just BrianonHealth.
Step #2: Upload a photo that is clear, friendly and eye-catching. I highly recommend using a classic profile-style photo of you that is recognizable even at a small size, 73×73 pixels to be precise. In other words, group shots, landscapes, or large portraits are not right for this purpose.
Pictures are important so that people know who they’re getting updates from when they see them in their feed. As opposed to some strange design or icon which is very impersonal (unless you are creating an account for a company or other organization), a good profile picture will stick in people’s minds and promote familiarity of your image.
Step #3: Write your bio so people can find and be introduced to you. Your Twitter biography, which shows up on your profile page or when people interact with your tweets, is most likely the make or break of your presence on the entire website. It is like your “elevator pitch”: It gives the gist of who you are, what you do, what you like or where you’re headed.
Bios must be under 160 characters (similar to a tweet) so you are subtly forced to be concise, which is good anyway. Ideas: your interests, what you’ll be posting about, any “isms” or movements you subscribe to, favorite things, where you come from, and so on. Example (from my own account): 16/m/pa. INFJ. Real fooder, fruit lover, libertarian, deist, language learner, blogger, internet addict, existentialist on a journey to continuous improvement!
Step #4: Start tweeting and following others from the get-go. You’ve just created an account, congratulations! Time to begin the process of attracting and sending out recognition in the great Twittersphere. Try a first tweet with a welcome message, quote, shout out, or other positive intention.
Then head straight to the “Connect” and “Discover” sections to do exactly that: connect with and discover other users on Twitter. As you tweet more and follow more, Twitter is better able to offer suggestions on content that you might find interesting. It’s really one big exciting cycle that’s always fresh and engaging if you make it so.
Example Applications of Twitter
Why is Twitter useful? What can it do for me? Is it worth my time? You may have these questions and more. Here are 3 example cases of people who started with simply their interests and went from there using Twitter to win friends and influence people.
Example #1: Katie is a high school student who loves fashion, photography and many other aspects of pop culture. She is an aspiring designer who wants to break into the fashion world but unfortunately she does not live near any major cities or resources for her interest.
So to keep her goal moving forward towards success, Katie decides to create a Twitter account and follow the people and companies that inspire her to stay informed about what is new in fashion. She also gets motivated to contribute her own commentary and ideas through her thoughts, favorites, photos, videos, links and more.
In this way Katie is able to become a part of the fashion world even without having a big name (yet, that is, as this is how many have started). Before she knows it, Katie has attracted 500, then 1000, then 5000+ followers and is a voice for her interest through a little bit of work and the courage to get involved online with Twitter.
Example #2: Matthew is a news reporter for a local magazine who wants to grow his readership and feel like his message is really heard. His goal is to become an independent journalist or traveling blogger in the future but his work schedule is busy, so he finds he is not able to spend a lot of energy with personal interests.
Matthew strikes a balance between the demands of the magazine and his own development goals by harnessing the power of Twitter. About a year in, using short occasional updates with content his readers find compelling, he has a follower count in the thousands and his articles are getting retweeted by famous journalists from the likes of the New York Times or National Geographic.
Not long after this Matthew gets a promotion to senior editor of his magazine because his coworkers see that he is making an effort to improve as a journalist and look beyond just the local. Twitter has helped him accomplish this process swiftly and without cost and now Matthew has 15,000 people at his fingertips should he decide to break off and work independently.
Example #3: Cathy is a mother of two and a grandmother of four and she is considering retiring from her job as a professor and starting up a new project in her life. She is passionate about learning and her expertise is in foreign languages and cultures, so she does not want to give up working with academia but is ready to move on from her job.
Cathy familiarizes herself with Twitter and discovers some of her colleagues, favorite authors, and fellow travelers and also adds her own knowledge into the mix with daily tweets and picture posts. Soon enough she is actively reaching out to people she never thought she’d meet, and they’re looking forward to what she has to offer too.
Cathy has retired from her teaching position but has by no means retired from lifelong learning and sharing that she appreciates. Now she is part of a whole new community of people who share her goals and successes and she can stay engaged from a few simple taps of the keyboard and mouse wherever she may find herself in the world.
4 Quick Tips for a More Valuable Twitter Experience
Tip #1: Follow prospective people who might follow you back.
Tip #2: Include interesting links, titles, photos and other media in your tweets.
Tip #3: Retweet, but don’t overdo it. Produce your own original content too.
Tip #4: Participate in trending topics to appear in searches and stay cool.
Important to Remember
Like any tool, Twitter is only as productive as its user. I hope these examples give you a better idea of how to apply Twitter for the goal of greater personal contact. Aim to be active online but do not let mindless online activity become an addiction like it very possibly can. All in all, everyone enjoys something, and Twitter is an excellent community to add to your circle of creation.
I hope this article has helped you better understand Twitter and how to use it to explore your interests and reach out to others. Please comment, share, and like the article if you found it helpful and be sure to subscribe to be the first to know when new articles arrive. Thank you!
P.S. Again, my Twitter account is @BrianonHealth. Let me be the first one you follow!
Question of the day: Do you like Twitter? If so, what do you use it for? If not, why?
About the Title: Dale Carnegie’s classic self-help book How to Win Friends and Influence People took early 20th century America by storm with its smart strategies for improving relationships and achieving goals. I chose to adapt this article’s title in honor of his work and bring this topic into the 21st century with a practical plan for using Twitter, but the goal of social success remains timeless.
Brought to you by Brian Greco
If this article was helpful for you and you like what you see, please like, share, and comment your thoughts on this post and be sure to subscribe at your right to be the first to know when new articles arrive. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more!
P.S. - You can follow me on Twitter @BrianonHealth.
P.P.S. - Need some new easy ideas for fruits and vegetables? Check out my book here.