If you steer clear of the bots and trolls, Twitter is a great place to hang out. However, many new users find Twitter intimidating. Luckily, we’re here to help with these Twitter tips for beginners. And even experienced Twitter users may learn something useful.
1. Be Selective About Who You Follow
If you’re new to Twitter, it’s tempting to hit the Follow button every time you see a person retweet one of your posts or like one of your photos.
Don’t fall into this habit. Twitter is only as good as the people you follow. If you clog up your timeline with people you don’t care about, your user experience will suffer.
Instead, think about which websites, publications, and people are the most prominent in the topics you’re interested in. As you follow more people, Twitter will suggest other users based on their profiles. For even more ideas, take a look at who the Twitter users you follow are following.
2. Start Using Twitter Lists
Twitter lists are a woefully underappreciated feature of the platform. They aren’t complicated to set up or use, yet almost all regular users overlook them.
Because your main Twitter feed is a single output of all the people you follow, it can be hard to digest. You end up with a mishmash of content across dozens of topics.
If you set up your Twitter lists correctly, you can compartmentalize content into different subjects, then dip in and out of it as you wish. You do not need to follow a user to add them to a list.
To get started using Lists, click on your avatar in the top-right corner and click Lists.
3. Sort Your Feed Chronologically
Twitter’s biggest selling point is its ability to provide users with real-time news, opinion, insights, and analysis on just about anything that’s happening in the world.
And yet, between 2016 and 2018, Twitter abandoned the policy of showing tweets in chronological order. The reason? Advertising revenue.
Thankfully, that policy is now dead. However, Twitter still defaults to showing you the top tweets rather than the latest tweets. If you want to see all of the tweets from the people you follow, here’s how to switch to a chronological Twitter timeline.
4. Don’t Expect to Build a Big Following
Don’t create an account and expect to have thousands of followers within a few weeks. To grow a sizeable Twitter following, you need to post quality content regularly and actively engage with the communities you enjoy.
If you look at the accounts with even a few thousand followers, they’ve typically tweeted tens of thousands of times. Don’t stress about it. For most people, Twitter should be enjoyed as a platform for consumption, not production.
5. Block, Block, Block
Twitter is well known for its ongoing problems with abuse and cyberbullying. It doesn’t matter what type of tweets you post; you will inevitably be targeted at some point.
A golden mantra among long-time Twitter users is “block early, block often.” It’s sound advice and one of the best Twitter tips for beginners.
If you ever encounter someone who gives you even the tiniest hint of backlash, block them immediately. Your Twitter experience—and your sanity—will be all the better for it.
6. Manage Personalization and Data Usage
Whenever you sign up for a new service or download a new app, one of the first things you should do is head to the settings menu and make sure the privacy and data options meet your requirements.
Twitter is no different. By default, the Share your data with Twitter’s business partners setting is enabled, as is Track where you see Twitter content across the web. At the very least, you should turn off both of these options by heading to Settings > Content Preferences > Personalization and Data.
It’s also worth considering whether you want to see personalized ads, personalization based on your identity, and personalization based on your location history. You will find the toggles on the same menu.
7. Use Bookmarks
Lots of Twitter users hit the Like button when they want to save a tweet to refer to later. In terms of functionality, it does work, and you can review your list of Likes at any time.
However, Likes have one major drawback in that they are public. Not only can other users see when you like something, but they can also see a history of all your Likes on your profile.
So, a great Twitter tip for beginners is to use Bookmarks instead. These are completely private. The person who wrote the tweet you want to keep won’t even know that you have bookmarked it.
8. Don’t Overuse Hashtags
Hashtags came to prominence as a way to find content on related topics. They still work, but in many ways, they are no longer fit for purpose. Twitter does a much better job of organizing content than it used to, while the most popular hashtags see thousands of new tweets per minute. People can’t possibly hope to scroll through them all to find your post.
At most, use one, highly specific hashtag. Your tweets will look neater and you’ll have much more success in reaching your target audience.
9. Use Advanced Notification Filters
When you create your Twitter account for the first time, every notification setting is enabled. You’ll get a stream of random alerts because someone you follow has posted a video or published a new tweet. It’s impossible to discern the useful stuff from the trash.
Instead, we recommend turning on the Quality Filter setting (to remove low-quality content from your notifications) and tweaking the Advanced Settings until you have a system that you’re happy with.
10. Turn Off Data Sync on Mobile
If you use the Twitter app on Android or iOS, it will automatically keep your Twitter timeline synced and up to date, even if the app is not open.
This is entirely unnecessary; it serves little purpose other than to eat through your data allowance. With the setting turned off, you’ll just need to swipe down to refresh your feed when you first open the app.
To change the setting, go to Settings and Privacy > Data Usage > Data Sync and unmark the checkbox.
Share Your Best Twitter Tips for Beginners
These are the essential Twitter tips for beginners. However, there are a lot of nuggets of information that new users will find useful. So, if you’re an experienced Twitter user, we’d love you to share your own Twitter tips in the comments below.
And if you’d like to learn more about using Twitter, here are the unwritten Twitter rules you’re probably breaking.