While getting a Twitter account is fast and easy, it does have a lot of little decisions along the way that can affect how your finished account turns out. If you’re not very comfortable signing up for new web accounts or you’d just like to have a guide to set up Twitter, consider this your wizard.

Signing up

1.    Go to www.twitter.com

2.    Click on the green button that says “Get started – Join”

3.    On the first sign-in screen, put in:

a.    Your full real name (so people can find you)
b.    A username, which will be how people know you on Twitter. You might want to use your full name or first initial and last name (no spaces).
c.    A password you can easily remember
d.    An email address
e.    Create your account

4.    Yay! you have a Twitter account. From here on our, you can sign in at www.twitter.com with this login info. You  can refer people to your Twitter account by sending them to http://www.twitter.com/yourusername.
5.    The next screens will walk you through finding people to “follow” – or subscribe to – on Twitter.
a.    Skip their suggested users (at the bottom of the screen, hit skip).
b.    If you have a Hotmail, Gmail or other online email account, you can see if the people in your address book are on Twitter. Enter your email address and password and it will scan your address book.
c.    On the next screen, it automatically selects all of your email contacts on Twitter for you to follow. De-select those you don’t want to follow right away.
d.    On the next screen, do not prompt Twitter to invite your contacts that aren’t on Twitter to join (hit skip at the bottom of that screen).

Setting up your account the first time

Now its time to set up your account. Sign in to Twitter, if you aren’t signed in already, at www.twitter.com. Click on Settings in the top right corner of the screen.

A few tips:

  • Be sure to fill out your profile info as completely as possible and add a short bio. At least include a real name, position, affiliation and city.
  • Don’t protect your updates. Twitter works best when you are open and transparent.
  • Under the profile tab, add a website link of some kind. You may choose to use a link to your blog or Facebook accounts if you have them, or just put in the link to some of your work that may help describe you.
  • Add a photo to your account under the profile tab. You need to have an image on Twitter – do not use the default. It doesn’t have to be a photo of you, but it’d recommend that for the sake of transparency (it also makes people more likely to follow you).
  • If you do not have a Smartphone, follow the instructions under Devices to set up your cell phone to update Twitter and/or receive direct messages. Twitter was developed for sharing info on the go and if you don’t use it on a mobile device, you aren’t getting the full experience.
  • Under the Notices tab, make sure to check the checkboxes for new follower and direct message emails. It helps you to keep track of your account and connections.
  • Click on Design to change the background or colors on your Twitter page. At some point you might want to design a background that includes more info, images or contact information for you.

From here, you’re ready to start Tweeting! Check out the Twitter Guide on this site for some tips, best practices and how-tos on Twitter.