Twitter 101 [VIDEO]

Nov 2, 2012

Don't forget to set up Twitter on your mobile device: smart phone not required.
Credit Flickr/MDGovpics

UPDATE: April, 2014

This webinar is out-of date.

Refer to Twitter's news guides for the most updated best practices for getting started on Twitter.  


In a recent webinar, we talked about Twitter basics and how to start taking advantage of it now.

Watch the video and click through the slides of the webinar below. Here are some highlights:

Signing Up:

1) When signing up for Twitter, pick a name that is clear - don't be witty.

For example: @nathanbernier, @JaneLindholm@KirkCarapezza, @NPRSonari@GraceHood, @WESATammy.

2) You are not an egg. Choose a picture that shows your face clearly.

3) Fill out your bio. Include where you work, what you cover, a link to your site and contact information. Some reporters even include a phone number for tips. Feel free to add some personality in there - I proudly share my love of Wegmans in mine.

@ vs #

Familiarize yourself with hashtags and @replies.

What do I tweet?

Read through best practices for journalists and what NOT to Tweet. Then, just get started - the only way to learn what works is to go for it. Every tweet won't be art - and that's just fine.

How do I keep up with all this information?

There are many different answers to this question, depending on your preferences. (Check out our series on workflow, including perspectives from Julie Rovner,  the editor-in-chief of Gizmodo and KUNC's Jim Hill. ) But make time to learn how to use Twitter lists, and consider exploring time management tools such as HootSuite or TweetDeck.

Go Mobile:

One of the first things you should do when setting up your Twitter account is to connect your phone to it. You can use Twitter with apps, but you can also use it with texting. This way if you're reporting on a story, you can do it quickly, including live tweeting breaking news. New York Times reporter Brian Stelter shared behind-the-scenes thoughts on his reporting in Joplin in 2011, a lot of it made possible through Twitter's texting capabilities.

Start Searching:

We'll talk about this more in our Social Media training, but Twitter's Advanced Search provides a way to find news, sources and story ideas in your community. Here are some tips on how to start with search.


Twitter 101 webinar from NPR Digital Services on Vimeo.


Want some personalized feedback on how you're using Twitter? Send me a Tweet @gteresa, or an email