Best “How To Use Twitter” Resources For The Overwhelmed Beginner


So this my list of resources for the beginner that sits in front of Twitter and has no clue on what to do, this also means that if you’re a Twitter Guru then you’re wasting your time reading this post.

I’ll try to explain a few basic things in a user-friendly format and I’ll provide you with, what I think are essential resources to get you going whatever your goals are. So let’s start with the video that started it all: “Twitter In Plain English” from CommonCrafts. Even though Twitter has grown to be much more than what the video represents, I think it still a good starting point…

Twitter is so simple you would think there is no way to screw it up but the truth is that there are some considerations to take, for example:

The Terminology And Some Manners

It is not like texting a teenager, but there are a couple of terms to learn and to use accordingly…

Using “The Handle” when you refer to somebody, for example if you wanted to say that SocialMouths is awesome (Whitch it’s true…), you would say “@socialmouths is awesome and Francisco rules my world”, see what I did there? Now the person you are referring to will know what you said and actually respond to start a beautiful conversation… If you just say “SocialMouths is awesome and Francisco rules my world” then nobody knows who that is and @socialmouths will never know you said that. Pretty sad.

But remember that Twitter is not a Chat Room and you will annoy everybody if you’re chatting with one person and leaving the rest of the world out. If you want to chat, move to Skype…

A Retweet (RT) is probably one of the most important things, it’s simply sharing what somebody else has said or posted, you start by typing “RT” on the box followed by the handle of the person you are retweeting and then whatever the post was. Let’s say you want to retweet that person that said SocialMouths was awesome (Whitch it’s true…), you type “RT @kindperson @socialmouths is awesome and Francisco rules my world”. Now @kindperson and @socialmouths know what you did, you’re engaging people in conversations. This is like in real life, do something nice without expecting anything in return… Retweet people a couple of times every day, just remember that you are also trying to provide value to your followers, if you are a Yoga Instructor, retweeting somebody that just posted a link to a Formula One site is probably not relevant…

If what you want to do is send a Private Message to a person then you start by typing “DM” (Direct Message) on the box, followed by “the handle” of the other person and whatever your message is. Now whatever your secret affair with that person is will remain secret.

Each tweet has 2 icons on the right of its box, you can “Favorite” the tweet or you can “Reply” to it, by clicking on “Reply” you will get the handle typed in the box for you, so you can just add your message to that person, you can also do it manually by typing the handle yourself…

The Moment Of Truth

When you first sit in front of that 140 character box is like you are trying to say something inside a huge empty room, so do this:

  1. say it anyways, a few tweets so when you start getting people in there they see something. Nobody will follow an empty account, only pornstars and MLM programs (I’m assuming you don’t want those, right?).
  2. Then start following some people, which will most likely result in a percentage of those people following you back. Start with the people you know, the popular ones in your niche and their followers.
  3. Welcome and thank new followers manually, do not get an auto-responder. Would you like it if I sent a robot to your house to tell you that I accept your friendship? Even better, I make sure I mention their first name in the message so they know I’m personally taking the time to thank them.
  4. Follow people that you want to follow, try to engage in real relationships, just collecting followers is not going to take you anywhere…
  5. Try to provide value, answer questions, ask questions, interact.
  6. In a few days you’ll be walking around like you’re number one… talking about hashtags, tinyurls and other weird terms.

Best Resources

These are the resources I think every person should read:

The Twitter Guide Book From Mashable. A lot of info here, the links are to existing posts on Mashable. twitterbook

Twitter 101 – A Special Guide From Twitter, mostly on how to generate business.


More Tutorials: The Top 7 Twitter Tutorial On YouTube also from Mashable.

Stats: TwitterCounter It’s the “” for Twitter users.

Terms: Twittonary, in case you find yourself in front of weird word…

Hashtags: is also useful to understand the use of hashtags, what they mean, trends, etc.

Web Application: To manage Twitter accounts, my favorite is

Desktop App: Tweetdeck is based on Adobe Air and lives on your desktop but it’s also the iPhone App I use.

Do you need to know all this stuff? I don’t think so, just learn the basics and if you can use technology to make your life easier. The most important thing in all this is that you follow your heart, just be the person you are in real life and apply some common sense.

Share your thoughts…

  • Great information Francisco! Especially about how awesome socialmouths is. I had no idea 😉