Twitter 101: Clarifying The Rules For Newbies

There are a ton of Twitter guides around the web that tell you what you should do on Twitter, but rarely explain how you should do it. When joining Twitter, it make take a while for you to understand what it means and how you can use it. Don’t worry, that’s expected and we’ve all been through it. Here are a few rules to keep in mind on your journey to understanding Twitter. Good luck.

The rules for getting started on Twitter need to be clarified. Twitter tips floating around the web hold tons of suggestions, but they only scratch the surface.  Three common Twitter tips that fall under this category are:

  • Tweet a lot
  • Follow people
  • Reply to people

How To Tweet

As a new Twitter user, you’re probably wondering what you should tweet about. Some people start out by going on a tweeting spree and sending updates about everything that comes to mind. Unless you have a reason to tweet a lot, don’t!

If you feel the urge to share a ton of information, mix up your tweets with replies, new information and links to articles that made you think, laugh or inspired you. Share information on a topic that you know someone has been looking for information on. Share your own expertise where you can. Just don’t do it all at the same time.

There’s no magic number that you should or shouldn’t hit, but if you’re sending more tweets a day then you have followers, you might want to rethink your tweeting strategy.

How to Follow Others on Twitter

Following people on Twitter is important to do because it gets you involved and makes Twitter more useful and fun. However, this is the worst advice to give anyone that’s new Twitter without any type of clarification on how to do this.

Clarifcation: It’s important that you don’t follow a ton of people at once. When you first start using Twitter, you should be selective about who you’re following. Find people that are tweeting interesting things that you would love to talk about as well. Have a question? Use Twitter search for find people who are discussing the answers. Curious about a new topic? Find five folks on Twitter to follow and learn more about that topic.

The point is to not just follow anyone, but people that can you can create meaningful engagements with. Talk about your interest or something new that you discovered today. Give others time to get to know you through your questions and replies. This way, people can get a better feel for how beneficial it would be for them to follow you.

Ease your way into following a lot of people. You have plenty of time to do it.

How to Reply to Others on Twitter

Please don’t reply to everything and everyone when you first join Twitter. Trust me, it’s not a good look. This isn’t instant messaging, though it feels a lot like it. Your replies should be spaced out unless you’re participating in a discussion. Take a break. Go outside and enjoy people in real life, then come back to Twitter and engage some more.

Tweets do not require an immediate response.

Finding Your Balance

Just remember to relax, take your time, be yourself and have fun. When you’re being you on Twitter, you’re contributing to what’s so makes it so special. Twitter might feel random at first, but if you keep using it you’ll discover a beautiful thread of serendipity that runs through Twitter. You find yourself talking about interesting topics and connecting with even more interesting people in just 140 characters.

So, remember that you become apart of Twitter by simply joining the conversations that matter to you.

Recommended Twitter Reads:

Corvida Raven

A natural pioneer at grasping the rapidly changing landscape of technology, Corvida Raven talks tech in plain English on

137 thoughts on “Twitter 101: Clarifying The Rules For Newbies”

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  21. good tips and comments here. personally I started in twitter a few months ago and in the beginning was a bit confused with the hole thing. specially all those # and @ tags and how to really start a conversation.

    After a while I kind of got a hang of it and manged to get my first 100 followers. I also blogged about my experience here.

  22. I think it is very nice that you have somebody to clear your thoughts regarding the rules of twiter.I guess there are many rules to follow.
    Motion for Leave to File Cross-Complaint

  23. I think it is very nice that you have somebody to clear your thoughts regarding the rules of twiter.I guess there are many rules to follow.
    Motion for Leave to File Cross-Complaint

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  25. its good to get some solid twitter advice instead of all the usual cut and paste nonesense. I was thinking of starting twitter site for angular cheilitis treatment but im not sure if it would work well or not. Angular cheilitis is not very popular lol,

  26. I am one new person on twitter. SO I want to gain so much knowledge on twitter. I am collecting lots of article on twitter to read. Thank you for your great post.

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  33. Twitter is now one of the most effective social media network, no wonder why many people is using it for online marketing,

  34. Well, i for one didnt know there are such rules…. Good ones…. But my best suggestion is still, just try and practice will make it perfect

  35. Well, i for one didnt know there are such rules…. Good ones…. But my best suggestion is still, just try and practice will make it perfect

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  39. I love when this story appeared live on CNN this morning Josh is scrolling through twitter updates and stops on one that says “I'm the biggest lameshit…” My wife and I were watching and died laughing. We rewound the DVR a ton just to make sure we both saw it. Ahh the irony of running a story telling us how to use new technology and getting owned by it yourself. All about the CNN failboat.

  40. This is a great post. I just passed it on to a friend who's trying to figure all this Twitter stuff out. Very great points, especially about following everyone. If I see someone following 10,000 people I know they are just trying to follow others in order to boost their own following. I also unfollow people who do nothing but promote their stuff. I'm up to 1300 follows now and I feel I'm getting the hang of it. I love it!

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  47. Thanks for this. I never understood twitter and therefore kept away from it but you have cleared up a few points for me and I think I am going to give it a go!

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  50. Be sure to use the Favorites feature of Twitter. Saving tweets as Favorites is a great way to highlight your interests to your Followers and visitors to your Twitter profile. And you can also provide a link to your Twitter Favorites on your Website or blog. More information on using Favorites can be found here:



    Salvatore Saieva

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  52. I am new to Twitter, and with small group of follower, but I am already having hard time in keeping up replies.

  53. Great article! Truly a great way for beginning to get a grasp on Twitter and all if its uses. Definitely hardest part– finding a balance. it can definately become an addiction if you are not careful!

  54. It's not easy replying everybody if there's a large following like this.

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  56. Good tips. I think having lots of followers really helps. Ultimately it's the followers who are usually the first to see the new blog posts.

  57. I noticed that for every tweet that i performed, i will get around 1 -2 followers. It really depends on what interests you are tweeting on.

  58. I must admit that replying everybody made me really exhausted at first. Nowadays I do selective replying depending on my mood for the day.

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  62. Ha! Too funny. I thought this was 101 Twitter tips, but it is Twitter 101. None-the-less, good stuff for beginners no doubt. I've created a list of 100 (well maybe 101) solid Twitter Tips and strategies for more advanced users. I think you'll enjoy (ALL FREE):


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  69. Oops. Thanks for the information. Seriously. Do I get points for breaking all of the rules?

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  73. Ah! If only I had this when I first started! Great guidelines and I'll pass them on to anyone I introduce to Twitter. They'll be saved the headaches and initial disappointment I was.

  74. Corvida,

    Thank you for that article. I am new to twitter (well kinda anyways) and started off using it as an IM. Though I have learned better, this article helps. I was hoping I could find a way to add new and interesting people.

  75. It's rather amusing we are at a point we have to tell people how to use a service that lets you communicate with other people.

    Twitter's my favorite IM client.


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  78. YES! That's precisely part of the brilliance of Twitter.. If only this same concept were applied more elsewhere!? Be it our blogs or “real life” (ha), we should by all means follow (God forbid) tried & true 'rules' til we hit our stride THEN go for broke! Break the mold & discover your own voice. ^_^

    “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E. E. Cummings

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  80. Corvida,

    That's an interesting point, suggesting there is a standard set of rules that governor behavior until the user hits an inflection point and freedom to behave under their own set of rules, separate from the standards becomes more beneficial.

  81. I think that all of these rules change once you find your Twitter groove,
    which gives us more room to actually break these rules. It's a bit weird.

  82. Good point :) isn't that typical though, the more we know about any given thing, the more we can break rules or hack it to suit ourselves.
    Internet..or say, driving ;)

  83. nice, this should be a pre-requisite class, even before picking a username! :) @urbannerd

  84. Very practical advice! This is very similar to how I've grown (and am still growing) my network, a few here and there, with judicious reviewing of twitter user pages before adding.

    I will admit to following some big names because they were big names. Hey, I'm not the only fanboy out there.

  85. Tools like TweetScan can also be a helpful way for new twitter users to dive into the conversations that will be of interest.

  86. Izzy,

    I had been thinking about this a little bit recently. The conclusion I've come to is this: the majority of people having a following: follower ration of 500:1 or anything outrageous are not actually following anyone specifically. At first I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt that maybe they had a reason for their madness, but no it's spam.

    I think those people would be better off following the public timeline instead of putting in the manual labor of following so many people. It would be a cleaner community if there were governing ratio rules, but that would collude the freedom of Twitter.

    What I find most useful is having a top 40 list and be willing to expand to a top 50 and so on as you meet more valuable people on the network.

  87. Nicely done. I particularly like the tweet-to-following ratio. Someone following me with an extremely unbalanced follower/following does give me pause. Some people may tweet alot also…but if it is too much, and not interesting, I will unfollow just to clear up my stream. I *do* like reading a lot of the minor daily happenings of people, as long as it is balanced with interest or humour. (or I wouldn't be on Twitter, obviously) -Quality and value must be interspersed or it is just more noise.
    @replies are important also, to see who they tweet, and what they have to say.
    I'll be bookmarking this for newb friends.

  88. Thanks for the post. Gentle introductions like this can help expand the community into places it might not otherwise go – IMO.

  89. There is a ratio that you want to try to meet of people you are following and people who follow you so that you don't end up being called a spammer. Check out to see the list of people doing it wrong.

  90. I did this. Unintentionally! And, I can say it works. Works very well ;)

    Although, I do admit that I wrote a script to follow people, but I was selective: I followed people whom other quality folks followed. Gave me good quality folks ;)

  91. @corvida, you did it again! I was giving some advice to someone about joining Twitter and had some of the same rules, e.g. tweet a bit before you start trying to Follow a lot of people. When I decide whether or not to Follow someone back, here's what I look for in order of priority:
    1. Followers/Followed – is this person a data scraper or spammer?
    2. URL – I like people with URLs filled in. Preferably a blog.
    3. Tweets – is there a mix of broadcast tweets and @ tweets? Do they look like they are engaging with other people on twitter? I also stay away from people who use Twitterfeed to spam me with all their posts without any commentary.

    OK, ttyl corvida,

  92. Just as long as you didn't mean me. On a bad day, I have 10-20 before BREAKFAST!

  93. I tweet way more than 10-20 times any given day lol. Louis bares through it
    all. I'm sure he finds SOMETHING of value in there. This guide is strictly
    for newbies though :-P

  94. I almost judged a book by it's cover here. Saw twitter “rules” in the title and was ready to rail against them (because most twitter rules posts on the web are BS) but these make sense,… good post

  95. Bahahaha. 10-20 a day. I saw you there listed OVER me as a megaphone on Louis' post. ;)

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