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Day 1 of #YSJ10DoT: Creating and Personalising your Twitter Account


 Blog: 10 mins  Videos: 6 mins (total)  Task: 15 mins

Welcome to the York St John TEL team’s 2019 10 Days of Twitter!

To start off with, you’ll need to sign up to Twitter.

You can see people’s tweets without an account, by viewing their profile or by searching for a keyword, as it’s a very public social media channel. Without an account, though, you won’t be able to join in the conversation, and that’s the first and main thing to learn about Twitter:

Twitter is a conversation.

There are a few things to think about in terms of creating an engaging and effective profile:

  • your identifying information, such as your location and personal website, LinkedIn profile, or Academic Profile page
  • your avatar or profile picture, which is how people will pick your tweets out of their Twitter feed at a glance
  • your ‘bio’ or strapline, which will sum up who you are and why people might want to follow you
  • your handle (@name e.g. @PhilVincent, @JoannaKDelgado, @SuzyYSJ, @YSJTEL), which people will use to identify and direct messages to you
  • the overall look of your twitter profile, which makes it distinct and memorable when people view it
  • additional accounts, which you might want to set up to appeal to different audiences

If you already have a Twitter account, then you could use this post to refine your profile and your overall aims and audience. You might also think about creating more Twitter accounts associated with different email accounts, if you wish. These might be for other facets of your online life, such as personal contacts, or to represent your learning development service or enterprise rather than you as an individual. It’s best not to mix audiences too much – for example, if you use Twitter for a hobby, then a separate account for professional purposes means that you aren’t filling people’s Twitter feeds with things that don’t interest them or confuse them.

If you don’t yet use Twitter, visit the site to set up an account – it’s probably best and easier to do this on your desktop computer rather than your mobile device.

Steps for creating an account

  1. Go to https://twitter.com/signup.
  2. Enter your full name and phone number, or select to use email instead of phone number.
  3. Select your privacy settings.
  4. If you choose to sign up with an email address, Twitter will require you to verify your email address by sending you an email with instructions. If you choose to sign up with a phone number, Twitter will require you to verify by sending you an SMS text message with a code. You may also request a voice call to verify your phone number.
  5. Choose a password.
  6. You can now pick a profile picture, add a bio and upload contacts.
  7. You also have the option to select interests, respond to suggestions for who to follow and choose to allow notifications or not.

Tip! If you are setting up an account for a service then the service logo is an obvious choice, but do check the policy on the use of logos with the Communications and Marketing teams. Recommended dimensions for your profile picture are 400×400 pixels.

Personalising your profile

The next thing you should do is start to fill out your profile, so that when people look at it, they will feel more encouraged to follow you.

On the profile page, you should be able to see an ‘Edit Profile’ button. Click it to update your profile.


If you use Twitter to represent a service or group, then the ‘full’ version of its title would be something to add here.


Add a ‘bio’. You have 160 characters to sum up who you are and what you might be tweeting about, to encourage people and give them a reason to follow you. A well-thought-out bio is an important part of gaining new followers. Have a look at the bios on other tweeters’ profiles, and see what you find inviting or off-putting. If you intend to tweet in a professional capacity, then avoid too much about your hobbies or quirky, cryptic statements about yourself. It tells potential contacts nothing about why they might want to follow you and what kinds of information you are likely to be passing on to them, and therefore why they would want to network with you professionally. Some people like to add that they are “tweeting in a personal capacity” or that the “views are my own” to clarify that their tweets do not reflect the views of their employer, although you may feel that this is clear enough anyway.


Add a location (this could also be an institution). Your followers might be from anywhere in the country or the world, so this gives people a bit more context about which university you are affiliated with.


Add a URL to a personal website or webpage. You can have only one, so perhaps your university webpage, if you have one, would be most appropriate here. People can then find out more about you than is possible in your Twitter profile.

Header photo

Add a header photo. This will appear at the top of your profile page and acts as a cover photo for you Twitter account. The recommended dimensions for Twitter header picture are 1500×500 pixels. However, there are a number of online services such as TwitrCovers and Fotor that can provide you with a Twitter header or assist you with creating one.

Changing your Username
  • Your username is the name your followers use when sending @replies, mentions, and direct messages. Twitter will automatically generate a username for you but you may want to change this.
  • Your username might be a version of your real name or, if your name is common and most variations of it have already been taken, you might think of a professional and memorable pseudonym.
  • It will also form the URL of your Twitter profile page.
  • Usernames must be fewer than 15 characters in length and cannot contain “admin” or “Twitter”, in order to avoid brand confusion.
  • Avoid using numbers, hyphens and underscores as this will make it harder for people to be able to find you online.
  • Please note: You can change your username in your account settings at any time, as long as the new username is not already in use.
  • Once you have created your account, click on your profile picture, select Settings and Privacy, type in your new username.
  • Twitter will tell you if the username you want is available.

Tip! If you want to set up an account which is not for yourself but for your faculty, programme, department, or other institutional group such as a conference, then something which will be memorable, clearly reflect your service, and work well on publicity will be essential.

Complete an Activity!

To let us know how you’re getting on, leave a comment on this blog post with your Twitter handle and a link to the URL of your profile.

If you have any questions, let us know by leaving a comment.

Don’t forget to join in with all of the activities to earn your #YSJ10DoT open badges. See the #YSJ10DoT home page for more details on how to earn the course badge.

You now have an account on Twitter now, with an engaging profile which invites others to follow your tweets. Well done!

Further reading:

<<< 10 Days of Twitter Introduction Day 2: Sending Tweets  >>>

Creative Commons License

Ten Days of Twitter for Learning Developers was originally adapted from a similar programme for STEM researchers, also created by Helen Webster. The materials are available under a Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA.
Creative Commons License

Ten Days of Twitter has been adapted by Technology Enhanced Learning for use at YSJ, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License.

7 responses on "Day 1 of #YSJ10DoT: Creating and Personalising your Twitter Account"

  1. https://twitter.com/SuzyYSJ Here is my profile. Look forward to tweeting with you all. I also tweet from https://twitter.com/ysjtel

  2. Agnieszka Jackowska-Moore26/03/2019 at 6:15 PM

    Here’s my twitter profile: twitter.com/janieszka

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