I realize I'm a little out of order this week in my month-long mission to introduce you to Twitter, but in thinking about steps to getting started, I realized that I totally left out how to create your profile. And since who you say you are says a lot about you, that's sort of important. So here are some tips for optimizing your Twitter persona.
One of the first prompts you encounter when setting up a profile is to decide on a Twitter handle. People often become known by their user names, so it's important to put some thought into what you choose.
Are you going to be posting things you wouldn't really want associated with your name? For example, "breaking in my new five foot bong! #420!!!" is not really something you should want people (ahem, future employers) to find when searching your name. If you're fond of showing off your glassware, a more anonymous username might be better suited for you.
If your posts are going to be relatively tame (or you just don't care), going with your name is a pretty safe bet. It points out exactly who you are, and people will know you as, well, you, so there won't be any confusion if you ever meet IRL.
But honestly -- and this is coming from someone whose handle is her name -- that's a little boring. I always get a big kick out of people whose handles are plays on words or even fun variations of their names (@theglamourai and our own @fantzypants both come to mind). Having a fun Twitter handle shows your personality right off the bat and makes you memorable.
Next you'll need to choose an avatar -- Twitter's default egg avatar screams "scammer" and looks totally sketch. The best avatars are pictures that contain your face -- they're pretty small, after all -- or fun cartoons that represent you. One of my favorite Tweeps, @tcabeen redesigns his avatar (a cartoon version of himself) to match different occasions -- including the addition of Yoda ears on May 4th ( "may the fourth be with you," get it?).
Your bio should be short and sweet -- Twitter only gives you 160 characters. I like ones that show who you are and what you're about, but there are also some great ambiguous bios as well. Darren Criss (swoon) has a bio reading "I was born a while ago... Now I'm here. Pretty cool."
Finally, it's time to personalize your profile design. The fine folks at Twitter make it really easy to customize your design. But if you don't feel creative enough to make your own design, there are plenty of sites with pre-made themes to choose from. My favorite is the Boulder-based Tweety Got Back (@tweetygotback), which has themes for everything, from photography by Boulder's Kendall Ruth (@iamkendal) to a Justin Bieber theme (no, really). They've also partnered with Threadless to turn some of their most popular shirt designs into Twitter profiles.
Setting up your profile is an important step to getting started on Twitter, but don't worry. Your choices aren't set in stone, and you can edit everything -- even your Twitter handle -- whenever you want.
Jessica Ryan is a senior media studies major at CU. She writes about nerdy things once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan