Setting Up a Twitter Account – AACR Annual Meeting 2013

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Setting Up a Twitter Account

Twitter at the Annual Meeting

During the AACR Annual Meeting 2012, more than 5,200 messages with AACR in the keyword were tracked on Twitter. Many of these came from attendees who used the social network to share ideas, discuss research news or plan meetings to catch up face-to-face. Your tweets at this year’s meeting will provide scientists and non-scientists alike with valuable perspectives on the science and activities around the Annual Meeting.

Before you sign up

  • Twitter handle – Choose a Twitter “handle,” or user name, which will be associated with your account. You may also want to prepare a few backup ideas, in case the handle you want is already chosen. Some guidelines to keep in mind:
  • Handles should be no more than 15 characters in length.
  • Your handle can be composed of letters, numerals and underscores.
  • A handle doesn’t necessarily have to be your name, but it should be representative of you and your interests so people can easily identify you on Twitter.
  • Profile photo – Have a digital photo ready to upload to your account. Some guidelines to keep in mind:
  • Because the photo will be displayed on a small scale in many situations, head shots work best.
  • If possible, use a high-resolution photo.
  • .jpg, .gif and .png are all acceptable file formats.
  • Although your profile photo will be square-shaped, you can start with any photo shape; Twitter will allow you to crop or zoom in on your photo once it’s uploaded.
  • Using a photo of you is best. Stock profile photos provided by Twitter (for example, a bird or an egg) are not recommended because these are generally associated with spammers and lend less credibility to your account.
  • Header photo – Although it’s not necessary, a header photo can add visual interest to your profile page and provides an additional opportunity to show your followers a bit about who you are or what you’ll tweet about. Some guidelines to keep in mind:
  • Your personal information and bio will be displayed over your header photo, so the photo should not be visually “busy” or text-heavy.
  • Like your profile photo, Twitter will allow you to crop or zoom in on your header photo once it’s uploaded.

Twitter handleprofile photoheader photo

Signing up for Twitter

Even if you plan to tweet primarily from a mobile device, we recommend setting up your account from a desktop or laptop computer, if possible. This may help your setup process move more quickly. All of the screen shots included throughout this tutorial were taken using a computer, and Twitter’s mobile interface will look different from the shots used here.

  1. Navigate to and enter your name, email address and a password in the fields under the header, “New to Twitter? Sign up.”

  1. You will see a confirmation screen with prompts to change your information, if necessary, and a suggested Twitter handle.

Security check-boxes:

  • “Keep me signed in on this computer” – you will remain logged into your Twitter account on the computer you’re using to set up your account
  • “Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits” – Twitter will track your web-browsing activities

Once you have confirmed that your sign-up information is correct, click “Create my account.”

  1. Next, you’ll be led through a brief Twitter tutorial.

In the tutorial, you’ll be asked to:

  • Begin following at least five Twitter accounts. You can search for them by name, email address or Twitter handle. Tweets from the accounts you follow will appear in your timeline, the stream of tweets you’ll see on the homepage. (To more easily participate in Annual Meeting conversations, we recommend following @AACR.)

  • Browse a list of Twitter users, categorized by interest, to select five additional accounts to follow. Alternately, you can continue using the search tool to find more accounts you’d like to follow.

  • Optional: Connect to your email address book in order to find other people you know on Twitter. When you reach this screen, you may want to read the disclaimer before allowing Twitter to connect with your address book. If you wish to skip this step, click the “skip” link.

  1. Upload your profile photo and draft a short “bio” about yourself. (If your upload seems to freeze or reverts back to the original screen without adding your photo, your photo’s file size is probably too large. Contact Stefanie Greene, internet content coordinator, at if you are unsure how to resize your photo.) Click “Done” when you are finished.
  1. Once you have finished uploading your photo and adding your bio, you will be led to your home screen. By now, you should have received an email asking you to confirm your Twitter account. If you didn’t receive an email, you will see instructions for having the email resent at the top of your home screen.
  1. Once your email address has been confirmed, you can take a few moments to personalize your profile even further with a link to your organization’s website, your location, a header photo or a background design (continue to step 7.) If you do not want to make any more changes now, you can send your first tweet (skip to “Composing and Sending Tweets,” page 9).

  1. To make additional changes to your account, click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Select the “Settings” option.
  1. Select the “Profile” option from the menu on the left side of the screen to edit/add your profile photo, name, location, website or bio.

Although here you can also connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts to allow your tweets to appear as posts on your Facebook page, this is not recommended. In general, Twitter is used differently than Facebook, and the users of each social medium have different expectations of what you will share and how you will share it. (See “Best Practices for Tweeting at a Meeting” for more information.)

  1. To change your profile’s background, select the “Design” option from the menu on the left side of the screen. You can choose a premade background design, or upload one of your own. It is not recommended to choose a small background image and display it as multiple “tiles” because this can be hard on the viewer’s eyes.

Composing and Sending Tweets

There are a two primary ways you can compose a tweet:

  1. From your home screen (click the house icon in the black bar along the top of your page to return to the home screen), you can click in the box near the upper left side of the page and begin to type.
  1. From any page, you can click on the blue quill icon at the upper right corner of the screen and begin to type in the box that appears.

In either scenario, you will notice numbers that start at 140 and begin to decrease as you type. This is your character counter, and the numbers will turn to red as you near Twitter’s 140-character limit. Click “Tweet” when you are ready to send your message.

Including Photos in Messages

If you’d like to add a photo to your tweet, click on the camera icon in the lower left corner of your text entry area. Photos in .gif, .jpeg and .png formats are all acceptable. A pop-up box will appear (from a computer) or an image gallery will appear (from a mobile device) from which you can select your photo. Once it is selected, your photo will appear below your tweet draft. Keep in mind that your photo will appear as a short link in your tweet. This link will take up some of your 140 characters. Click “Tweet” when you are ready to send your message. Your tweet will appear in your timeline and on your profile page.