The digital age has beckoned all kinds of social media apps and websites for users to partake in. With the huge popularity of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it can be assumed that everyone is using these sites and know all the ins and out of navigating them. It is not surprising that Facebook has more daily active users compared to Twitter. Facebook is the most popular social media site out there. Business Insider.com reported in July, 2015, Facebook had on average 968 million daily active users compared to Twitter’s 307 million daily active users. For many Facebook is a must-have social media site because of its ability to keep users connected better than any other social media platform. Its ease of use and streamlined navigation makes the site the go-to for all things social media. Not only can one stay connected to family and friends, but its integration of all things social such as news, politics, and entertainment has made the site a one-stop shop in the world of social media. One of the biggest reasons Twitter does not have the mass appeal as that of Facebook is because many first-time users of the platform do not fully understand the social media site’s objective and purpose. Once an individual gets the hang of how to use it, then it makes sense and users find it a convenient way to share their thoughts and items of interest in 140 characters or less.

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So how does one use Twitter? It is far simpler than one might expect. It is much more streamlined than Facebook but unless one knows how to use it, it can be quite daunting. The first thing an individual has to do is sign up for a Twitter account using their email and creating a password. Twitter will ask users to confirm their account by sending a confirmation email with a link that the user will click on to verify who they are. Once that has been done, the user can continue with setting up their account. The user will need to create a username that is specific and meaningful to them and easily remembered and proceed with completing their profile. Users can add a profile pic, a header pic, and a description of themselves in 140 characters or less.

To get started, Twitter will prompt the user to select people and items of interest to follow in order to establish their account. Five different accounts must be followed. Users are then ready to begin tweeting. They can tweet out anything on their minds. With recent advances in Twitter’s platform, there is now a couple of tweets are sitting in user accounts that users can send out to let the world know they are now part of the social media site.

Users can also direct tweet to anyone whether they follow them or not. User names are preceded by the @ symbol. Other users can be searched by name and then followed. Users can also send direct messages to people that they follow and who follow them back. These features are similar to Facebook in that users can search and direct message others.

Twitter users a feature called a hashtag that is represented by the # (pound) sign symbol. Hashtags help cap off a tweet and confirm its relevance. When users tweet out a message they can include hashtags as part of their tweet but have to make sure that whatever they tweet is 140 characters or less. Twitter provides a character counter to let users know how many remaining characters they have. If users go over the maximum 140 character count limit, Twitter will not allow the tweet to be posted until it has been edited to meet the limit.

New users to Twitter are cautioned not to follow too many other accounts initially or to tweet excessively. Twitter tends to monitor all new accounts to ensure they are not spam-bots (automated Twitter accounts). If a user is found to be in violation, Twitter can lock the user account and require that the user indicate their understanding of abusing Twitter rules and guidelines. It can sometimes take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days to get a user account unlocked.

Twitter is a wonderful social media platform to use once users get acclimated to how to use it. It can especially be a good social media platform to use for businesses, musicians, entertainers, etc. who wish to be connected to their patrons and fans in a controlled way. It has a current, up to the minute, running feed much like Facebook that adds user tweets automatically. Users will only see tweets from accounts they follow. However, unless a user makes their account private where their tweets are protected, the platform is open source and user accounts can be seen by anyone.

If there are individuals who have not tried their hand at social media, Twitter is a great place to start because it is not as personal as Facebook and is a bit more protected even though it is open to the world. The search ability of Twitter is not as prevalent as it is on Facebook. If one desires to search for a given user they will go to Facebook first before any other social media platform. Twitter is almost an afterthought in some regards, but a good one nonetheless.