A Twitter beginner’s cheat sheet

Chances are you’ve heard of Twitter and know it’s a big deal, but you may be thinking: that’s great, but why would I use it? Well, because everyone else is.

Twitter has about 240 million active users. Think of an author, comedian, an ASX listed company, your competitors, or sports star you’re interested in, and they’re probably on Twitter. The platform is a great way to follow your interests.

This iFactory cheat sheet will introduce you to the basics and help get you on Twitter in minutes. (Or we can help you with that too!)

TIP: if you’re put off by the idea of having to send your own tweets, you don’t have to! You can read and retweet tweets from the accounts you follow without having to send your own if you don’t want to.

So what is a tweet?

Basically it’s a short message, 140 characters or less, that you write and publish – and if you’re wondering how long 140 characters is, this sentence is 159.

To send one, look for the icon that looks like a small quill, and then type away.

But before you do that:

Register for an account at and you’ll be stepped through the process of setting up your account. It’s very straightforward – enter a name, photo, profile image, location, short bio and find accounts you want to follow (suggestions are provided in case you’re not sure yet).

That’s it. Now you’re on Twitter!

The Twitter basics:

There are four main Twitter views, which you’ll see listed as menu headings when you log in on a desktop computer. (Mobile menus may vary slightly, but cover all the same info.)

Home: this is your timeline and it displays a stream of tweets from the accounts you follow on Twitter.

Notifications: displays the direct interactions with you from other accounts. These come in the form of retweets, favourites and @ messages. What are they? Here are some definitions:

Retweet – if a person likes someone else’s tweet enough, they share (or retweet) it with their own followers. When you get retweeted, suddenly you’re exposed to an audience beyond your own.

Favourite – a way for people to acknowledge a tweet, or possibly bookmark it so they can easily come back to it again later.

@ messages – a public reference to you in someone else’s tweet – like when they reply to one of your tweets, for example.

Messages: these are sent between you and another account and are private – no one else can see them. An account must follow you before you can send it messages, and vice versa.

Discover: displays tweets and follow suggestions based on your activity.

Lastly: hashtags

Hashtag might be a word you’ve heard used a lot but have no idea what it means. People put the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) to categorise their tweet. Clicking on the hashtagged word will show you all other tweets containing the same keyword.

We hope this brief cheat sheet on Twitter will help you get started, but if it’s all a bit overwhelming, give us a shout, we would love to help you out.

iFactory is a digital agency in Brisbane that specialises in design, development, digital strategy and digital marketing. Find us on Twitter and say hello.

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