University of Nebraska Medical Center

Twitter Quick Start Guide

Check out these quick and easy steps that will help get you started on Twitter.

Set up a Twitter account

After you sign up for Twitter, they will ask for a cell phone number or email address, so you can set up two-step login authentication. After you sign up, you can enter your Twitter name. View more information on signing up.

Set up your Twitter handle

Your Twitter handle will reflect your brand. Twitter handles can be searched. You probably won’t want your organization to be in your name. However, you may want to include a keyword that matches your career or professional interest, including doctor (example: DrNameName). Twitter names can be changed. More information on how to choose a good Twitter username can be found in this article and on Twitter.

Follow other Twitter users

Start by following colleagues and people or institutions who share similar interests. Twitter will also recommend people to follow. Just don’t follow too many people too quickly. The tweets of the people you follow will populate in your Twitter feed. You can mute, block, or report them by clicking on the three dots next to the following button (on the web) or on the gear (on mobile).

Start sending out messages using hashtags targeted to your audience

To get the most out of Twitter, it’s important you connect with an audience that is relevant to your personal and professional goals. One of the most popular ways to reach your target audience is by using hashtags. Hashtags can act as an index, adding your message to a larger group. Knowing the reason for a hashtag (such as helping connect conference participants, information, and resources) helps you weigh how to best engage with others on Twitter. Also, you can search Twitter using hashtags, but hashtags can also be searched using Google.

  TIP: Societies, professional and educational meetings, and special interest groups often have a hashtag. #MedEd is a common hashtag used by medical educators. View a list of healthcare hashtags on Symplur.

Shorten your URLs

While Twitter no longer counts URLs in your character limit, they can add clutter to your tweets. That’s where url-shorteners come in. These also keep track of how many times your shortened URL is clicked.

Places to share your Twitter account

If you want people to be reading your Tweets, share your Twitter account on:

Additional help

The Twitter Glossary

  Download a PDF of the guide.

Be sure to check out our Twitter Basics guide for information about Twitter lingo and the home page.

About the Author

Teresa “Teri” Hartman, MLS, is an associate professor in education and research at the McGoogan Library of Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center. She shares information on Twitter, including public health, IPE, leadership, edtech, future tech, and higher education.

  thartman@unmc.edu  |   @thartman2u

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