Creating a Twitter Account

If you were inspired by our last post on “Getting Started With Twitter,” you might be ready to create an account of your own so that you can start participating in discussions. The only things you’ll need are an e-mail address and a picture of yourself that’s at least 128 pixels tall and 128 pixels wide.

1. Choosing Your ‘Handle
The trickiest part of the signup process is choosing your “handle,” which is the name you’ll be known by on Twitter. You want to balance brevity with a handle that clearly establishes your identity. Because Tweets are limited to 140 characters, you want your handle to occupy as little real estate as possible. This way, you can compose longer Tweets and give others the the chance to “retweet” your missives — this is Twitterspeak for broadcasting your Tweet out to their own followers, and it’s a compliment of the highest order.

You should think about “who” you’ll be tweeting for — yourself, your company, or both. Does it makes sense to include your company name in your handle, or would it be enough to make it part of your profile?

2. Filling Out Your Profile
Your Twitter profile gives readers a short summary of who you are and what you’re interested in. It’s a great place to talk about your job responsibilities and the company you work for, but it’s more than okay to mention some interests as well. Adding a link to your website will help visitors to your profile learn more about you and your work. To fill out or change your profile, just click the gear icon on the top right of your Twitter page and click “Edit Profile.”

3. Designing Your Profile
Your profile design can be as simple or as complex as you like. Uploading a picture is the first step, and you can do this i the same “Edit Profile” menu where you filled out the basic information about yourself. Unless you’re tweeting for a company or brand, a picture of your face is always best. It doesn’t need to be square-shaped, but since Twitter will resize it to a square shape you may have to tweak the size of your image a few times.

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Optionally, you can choose a header image for your Twitter page. It should be a large horizontal image of something that represents who you are — a picture of the skyline of your city, or a screenshot of the company webpage could work nicely. There’s nothing wrong with leaving the header image blank, either.

The final step is choosing a background for your Twitter page. The default background is a light blue field with fluffy white clouds, and many Twitter users choose to stay with this option.

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If you’d like to select a custom background, click the “Design” button in the sidebar to the left of the page. You’ll be presented with a variety of pre-made options, and you can also choose to upload your own background photo.

And now the hard part is over! Get to Tweeting, and be sure to follow some of the folks who inspired you to join.

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