How to find people on Twitter

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A challenge faced by many new Twitter users is how to find people on Twitter. As I mentioned in my book, Twitter In 30 Minutes, while it’s possible to find people you know by syncing an address book to Twitter (and indeed, Twitter encourages users to do so) there are significant drawbacks, including the fact that you’re giving important personal information to a for-profit corporation. And even if you do upload your address book, people who are not on it may be hard to find on Twitter. And what about people you don’t know?

The video below explains how to locate specific personal, business, and speciality accounts on Twitter. It’s not foolproof, but it can help you use Twitter search more effectively, particularly when it comes to people with common names. I also use an example of a specialty account — Grumpy Cat’s twitter feed — which has many imitators. How do you determine which account is the real Grumpy Cat?

No one reads my tweets. Why?

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I received a question last week from a reader of Twitter In 30 Minutes. The reader was puzzled why no one was reading his tweets, or responding:

“No one reads my tweets. I send tweets to Fox News and other places and have never had anyone read or respond to my tweets or follow me. Any suggestions?”

From his email, it was apparent that there were actually several problems:

  1. No one is following him on Twitter
  2. No one is reading his tweets
  3. When he @mentions another account, no one responds

It is very frustrating when you start a Twitter account and begin tweeting, but don’t have interactions — not even other people following your account!

Fortunately, this reader had a partial fix to the “no one is following me” problem. I took a quick look at his profile, and determined that his account was protected. This means the only people who could read his tweets are those who he had approved. I emailed back and explained why that was causing an issue, and recommended that he remove the protection:

“People you don’t know are less likely to follow protected accounts (mainly because they can’t see what you are tweeting about!) so my first recommendation is to open your account so anyone can follow you and see what you are tweeting about. You can do this by clicking on the gear icon on and then selecting “Security and Privacy” and then uncheck the box that says ‘Protect my tweets’”

You can see the “Protect my tweets” box in the screenshot below:

No one is reading my tweets!

I also suggested that he start following more people and responding to them from time to time. In Chapter 3 of Twitter In 30 Minutes, I actually recommend several tactics for following interesting accounts and friends.

In addition, there was his specific question around @FoxNews (4+ million followers), which also applies to other popular accounts, from Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk, 14+ million followers) to @Oprah (25 million followers and climbing!):

“Once you have started following accounts and responding to them, don’t be surprised if some people respond to you while others don’t. This is particularly true of famous people or accounts with millions of followers, like Fox News — it would take too much time for them to respond to everyone who mentions them in a Tweet, so they almost never respond to anyone.”

Lastly, I let the reader know that I would follow him — you can, too, by clicking on @ilamont and pressing the follow button.

How to add a Twitter header photo

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In 2014, Twitter changed its user interface, and added a few new visual elements, including a header photo. This post will explain how to add a header photo, using examples and a video.

The header photo is different from the small profile photo, which is usually a headshot or icon. When you are looking at the profile of a Twitter account, the header photo appears as a banner situated behind your profile photo. Here’s an example:
How to add a Twitter header photo
The header image is the picture of the Boston skyline. Before 2014, Twitter did not use header photos, so if you have an older account you may need to add one. If you have a new account, you will be asked to add one as well. Here’s a video that explains how to do it:

Note that you only should use photos that you own or have purchased the license for.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to customize your Twitter profile, I have several sections that explain how to do it in Twitter In 30 Minutes. Download or purchase your copy today in ebook or paperback formats.

How to disable Twitter SMS notifications

By Blog, Video

If you’ve set up your Twitter account to send you Twitter SMS notifications, you may wonder how you can stop the flow of notifications … or only get the Twitter texts that matter to you.

In this 3 minute video, you’ll learn how to dig into the Twitter settings to adjust Twitter’s mobile notifications. It’s relatively easy to set up Twitter so you just receive important notifications — for instance, when you’ve been mentioned on Twitter by people you know, or when you’ve been retweeted. You can disable other notifications, or disable all of the SMS messages you receive via Twitter.

Another useful feature is to disable Twitter texts during certain times of the day. Obviously, shutting off the notifications when you are sleeping makes sense. Other people may want to control the flow of notifications during working hours, or set up a schedule that conserves your phone’s battery.

The video can be watched below. Also, I’ve prepared a separate how-to guide and video that shows how to disable Twitter email notifications.

How to stop Twitter email notifications

By Blog

Email notifications from Twitter can be overwhelming. At first it feels good to know that people find you interesting enough to follow or retweet, but after a while the notifications become irritating. Here’s how to stop Twitter email notifications, or simply reduce the number you receive:

  1. Go to
  2. Log onto your account
  3. Click the settings icon in the upper right corner, and select “Settings”
  4. Click on “Email Notifications”
  5. Uncheck those types of notifications that you no longer want to receive.

For instance, if you are tired of being notified every time someone retweets a tweet you were mentioned in, you would uncheck “Tweets I’m mentioned in are retweeted”:

How to stop Twitter email notifications

I’ve also embedded a video below which shows how to disable Twitter email notifications:

To learn more about how to manage your Twitter experience, check out Twitter In 30 Minutes, available in paperback, PDF, and ebook editions for the Kindle, iPad, Nook, and Android tablets.



What should I tweet?

By Blog

What should I tweet? One way of answering this question is to look at what kinds of things other people tweet about in their 140-character messages. And that really depends on who they follow. In Chapter 1 of my Twitter guide, I showed some individual examples of tweets by a famous person (@Oprah), a small business (@Momogoose) and several ordinary users. But if you follow hundreds of people, chances are you will see some patterns emerge, based on their interests.

For instance, if I were to use a phrase to describe the tweets from the 400-odd people I follow (a mix of journalists, tech/Web people, people from the Boston area and random friends), it would be “observations and questions about life and careers, with some overlap, especially when major events take place.”
Here’s another way to break it down:

Observations and questions: People have interests, activities, and professional backgrounds, which will be reflected in their tweets. Someone has just finished a book, cooked a meal, taken a jog or commented on the weather. Occasionally, people will ask questions.

Overlap: At any given time, a few accounts out of the 400 appear to be watching the same TV show or sporting event. On Friday night, some of the younger people will tweet from a club or bar. Because I follow so many technology people, I see a lot of references to companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

Major events: When there’s a major event, such as a natural disaster, political scandal or a major gadget release, there is a surge of topical tweets as the people I follow react to or “retweet” the news (more about retweeting later in this chapter). For instance, the night Steve Jobs died, about half of the people I followed had something to say about it. National elections also bring out a lot of Twitter commentary.

But here’s the thing: What I see is not representative of what other people see. A fashionista in Manhattan will have a far different experience with Twitter, based on her interests and the people she follows. She will see more tweets and photos involving clothing, shoes, accessories, and sales, as well as more information specific to New York City.

The football fan in Florida is more likely to follow other football fans, and their tweets are more likely to include football references. A programmer who lives in Paris is more likely to see tweets about programming and his or her neighborhood in the 19th arrondissement. What about a housewife in Hollywood? Or a scientist in Singapore? They will follow different types of people, and will see and send different types of tweets.

Of course, you can follow the cue of the people you follow and start tweeting about similar things. But it’s also possible to develop your own voice.

To learn more about how to develop your Twitter presence, check out Twitter In 30 Minutes, available in paperback, or as an ebook that can be read on a Kindle, iPad, or as a PDF.

How to delete tweets

By Blog, Video

It will happen to you at least once in the first few months that you use Twitter: You’ll need to know how to delete tweets. Maybe the tweet contains a typo, or information that you later discovered was wrong. Or, it could be something embarrassing that you don’t want your friends, colleagues, or followers to see. This short video shows the steps required to delete a tweet:

The video is based on the material from Chapter 5 of Twitter In 30 Minutes. You can see the rest of the contents of the guide, or you can buy the Twitter guide in ebook, paperback, or PDF formats.

What are Twitter hashtags?

By Blog, Video

You’ve seen them in advertisements and on television screens, and if you’re a newcomer to Twitter, you’ve noticed many of the people you follow use them in their tweets. What are Twitter hashtags? Basically, it’s a word that has the hashtag or pound symbol appended to the front. But when you type a hashtagged word into a tweet, it links information and events in special ways, as the video below shows:

The video is based on the material from Chapter 3 and 4 of Twitter In 30 Minutes. You can see the rest of the contents of the guide, or you can buy the Twitter guide in ebook, paperback, or PDF formats.

Hootsuite review for new Twitter users

By Blog

So you have a Twitter account, you’ve read my guide to Twitter, and now you are looking for a tool that will help you get the most out of the medium. Sure, you can send and receive tweets through or the basic Twitter apps for Android and the iPhone. However, once you start to use Twitter a lot, the generic Twitter interfaces start to become a drag on sending, receiving and reading messages. The review below explains Hootsuite, an online and mobile application that lets you use your existing Twitter account in new and exciting ways.

Hootsuite is a tool that greatly expands the functionality of Twitter by letting you do the following:

  • Monitor multiple lists and streams on the same screen
  • Easily operate multiple twitter accounts
  • Post simultaneously on Twitter and Facebook
  • Share accounts with other users
  • Schedule tweets in advance.

Hootsuite review for new Twitter usersFor desktop and laptop computers, Hootsuite uses a Web browser, which means no additional software needs to be installed. There is also an app that works on various mobile devices, including iPhones, iPads, Android phones, and Android tablets. I use Hootsuite to post to my individual Twitter accounts (@ilamont, @in30minutes) and use Hootsuite to monitor what the people I follow are saying. The mobile app is particularly useful, as it makes it easy to send out tweets on the fly, as well as post photos taken from your phone. The app is free to download via Google Play or the Apple App Store.

If you are using the basic Hootsuite account, you can connect up to five services (for instance, two Twitter accounts, a Facebook account, a LinkedIn account, and a Facebook page). If you want to add more accounts or advanced features, you have to pay a monthly fee.

It’s easy to get started with Hootsuite (I’ve embedded a video below which shows how to do it). I recommend doing this on the Web, as it’s easier to type. Go to and register. Once you’re in, you can authenticate your Twitter accounts and Facebook. This means you’ll be able to see and post items on Twitter or Facebook without visiting or — including posting simultaneously to both (useful if your friends are on Facebook, and other people monitor your tweets, and you want to send something to both audiences at the same time).

In addition, you will be able to create multiple views of Twitter lists, direct messages and search terms. These accounts and views will be preserved even as you change browsers and computers, which is useful if you like to tweet from both your home computer and the laptop you use for school.

The area where most of the action takes place is tabs. A tab in Hootsuite is a stream of data relating to an account (such as all of the tweets from a single person) or a search term, hashtag, or some other regularly updated piece of data. You can have a tab associated with one of your Twitter accounts, or search terms that you choose. For each tab, Hootsuite has preset streams, such as:

  • Home feed
  • Mentions
  • Sent tweets
  • Direct Messages
  • Favorites
  • Pending
  • Retweets
  • Lists

It’s easy to go crazy, creating new tabs and filling up each one with various streams and lists. My recommendation is to start out with just the most important accounts and streams, such as your home feed and sent tweets. Add more if you feel that you can stand the information overload!

The video below by Jackie Johnstone explains how to get started with Hootsuite on the Web:

Unfollow a Twitter account: Two easy methods

By Blog, Video

Perhaps you want to clean out your “Following” list on Twitter. Or, you’ve discovered someone in your timeline who is a bit too self-promotional or irritating … and it’s time for them to go! This two-minute video shows two methods for unfollowing people on Twitter. It’s a basic Twitter lesson, but one’s that important if you want to improve the quality of your timeline.

The video is based on the material from Chapter 3 of Twitter In 30 Minutes. You can see the rest of the contents of the guide, or you can buy the Twitter guide in ebook, paperback, or PDF formats.