Basic Twitter Guide

The update is here! My basic twitter guide has been made even simpler for those getting started.

Now even suitable for Luddites and the elderly, as I typed it  s l o w l y  and hit the keys LOUDLY….

The Quick Tweet Guide

When using the main Twitter web page (HOME), these are some basic points:

I shall use my twitter name for the examples (LucasBlack)

NOTE: A ‘stream’ is the term used for the list of messages that appear on your screen.

NOTE: When a message is displayed in Twitter, it automatically has the senders name at the start.

This was sent by NannyNick to me.

Tweets are made from 140 characters (including spaces… so think before you type!)


To write something in general (not to anyone in particular):

Type in the box

and hit TWEET.

This is how your tweet appears:


Everyone can read this.


To write a message to a specific person:

Type the persons tweet name with an @ attached to the front as the very first part of the message.


This is how your tweet appears:



Only the people following you and following the person who it is addressed to will see this on the main page.

In this case, all of  the people who follow NannyNick and LucasBlack can see the message.

These are not private messages, as others can see them by using the search function – see my narrative twitter guide HERE for more help with SEARCH


To write a message to only one person (a private message):

Type a D then space then the persons tweet name at the very start of the message.



This will then appear in their MESSAGES. (Some twitter apps have a stand alone Direct Message column for these)


No matter what is written, only the person sending and receiving the message can see what is in the message.


To REPLY to a  message:

Click the little arrow icon that appears when you hover your mouse pointer over the message:

Click on the REPLY icon in the message… You then have a window pop open to type in:

Once you have typed out a reply and sent it by pressing TWEET, it will appear in your stream like this:

You’ll notice that the message appears in the twitter stream like other messages, BUT it has a little “speech bubble” at the top right. If you click this it will show you the entire conversation, back and forth. This is why it is important to use REPLY if you are answering or carrying on a conversation.


Reply should be used as it lets people know WHAT you are replying to. There is more in the other guide.


How to write a message to an individual that can also be seen by everyone else too:

Type something BEFORE the @ sign (e.g – Hey!), then type the persons name and message.


This is how your tweet appears:


The moment you start a message with ANYTHING other than D or @ it becomes a public message. It will still show in the mentioned persons stream, but ALSO in the main Tweet stream.


How to tell your followers about other people they might like to follow:

Type something BEFORE the @ sign, then type the persons name and message.


This is how your tweet appears:


This is just like the previous message to an individual for everyone else to see.

It works because mentioning anyone’s name with an @ attached to the front will allow people to click the name and go to that persons twitter page.


How to repeat (retweet or RT) a tweet message you thought was great:

The NEW and simple way:

Twitter has made this easier since my original guide. Hover your mouse pointer over the tweet you want to share and you’ll notice a RETWEET icon.

Click the RETWEET icon and a window pops up:

Press the RETWEET button (unless you don’t really want too!

You can read tweets retweeted this way under your RETWEET tab:

Note: Doing an RT the old way will only allow it to show in Twitters RETWEETS tab. A more versatile way is the old manual way. See next…..

The old, manual way:

Copy and paste the persons tweet, add their name to the front of it, then add RT to the front of that again:

This is what that NannyNick tweet would look like before you send it:


This is how your (re) tweet appears:

You’ll notice that this has appeared in the main TIMELINE and not the RETWEETS tab. This is why some people use this method, as more people are likely to see what you have retweeted – and that’s what you want, after all!


By Retweeting you are crediting the person in the message. It is the polite thing to do, as it wasn’t your material.


If you want to have a message retweeted:

Some people retweet manually, you’ll need to leave enough characters so the next person who wants to retweet your message can add RT @YOURNAME (and a space) to the start of the message.

So for me, ‘RT @LucasBlack ‘ means I need to leave 14 characters spare (only using 126 characters of the allowed 140)


Well, that covers a fair few of the bases. If you want to know more, or want to add more to this list, then please let me know.

For better twittering – and easier in my opinion, why not use iTweet. It was recommended to me by the great @belindaang

I personally use HOOTSUITE – as I find it stable on my iPhone, and by far the most versatile desktop platform.


There is also a more narrative and in depth guide that I have written HERE.

This includes how to use hash tags and how to post pictures.


In case you haven’t found it, Twitter actually has a section for HELP. This is some of what they have listed:

Fun Stuff:

  • @username + message
  • directs a twitter at another person, and causes your twitter to save in their “replies” tab.
    Example: @meangrape I love that song too!

  • D username + message
  • sends a person a private message that goes to their device, and saves in their web archive.
    Example: d krissy want to pick a Jamba Juice for me while you’re there?

  • WHOIS username
  • retrieves the profile information for any public user on Twitter.
    Example: whois jack

  • GET username
  • retrieves the latest Twitter update posted by the person.
    Example: get goldman

  • NUDGE username
  • reminds a friend to update by asking what they’re doing on your behalf.
    Example: nudge nannynick

  • FAV username
  • marks a person’s last twitter as a favourite. (hint: reply to any update with FAV to mark it as a favorite if you’re receiving it in real time)
    Example: fav al3x

    (You could just click the FAVOURITE tab though…..)

  • this command returns your number of followers, how many people you’re following, and your bio information.

  • INVITE phone number
  • will send an SMS invite to a friend’s mobile phone.
    Example: Invite 415 555 1212

4 responses to “Basic Twitter Guide

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: